Desert Botanical Garden, Pheonix

landscape desert botanical garden in phoenix arizona

What to do at the Weekend: Take a trip to the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix

During our recent trip to Arizona, we spent a wonderful couple of hours at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix.

We love all things outdoors, and we’ve visited our fair share of beautiful English gardens in our time at home. 

So, when we saw this particular spot we thought it would be worth exploring.

We wanted to see a botanical garden…desert style!

What we did at the weekend:

Visited the Desert Botanical Garden

Location: Phoenix, Arizona

Our rating: 7/10

Cacti Paradise

peaceful seating area Desert Botanical Garden Phoenix

It was the perfect place for a wander in the sunshine, with a variety of different plants on display and plenty of wildlife to see. 

Tanith is a little bit obsessed with cacti (you should see how many we have around our house), and so a garden that’s 90%* cacti was right up her alley!

*Don’t hold us to this figure – we’re using it for dramatic effect! There are a LOT of cacti though.

What is there to see at the Desert Botantical Garden?

The Desert Botanical Garden is separated into five main sections, which you can easily meander through on dedicated pathways.

As you walk the trails there’s plenty of information to read to help you learn how each plant has uniquely adapted to survive in an environment as harsh as the desert.

The trails are as follows:

Sonoran Desert Nature Loop Trail

This gives you an amazing view over the surrounding mountains and provides you with a stunning backdrop for all those photos!

This loop is where you’ll find a forest of organ pipe cacti and learn how the nature of the Sonoran Desert survives.

This trail is 1/4 mile in length.


Center for Desert Living Trail

A smaller segment within the garden, here you’ll see how even herbs and vegetables can survive in desert climates.

Changing throughout the year, this area contains seasonal plants which are regularly updated.

This trail is 1/10 mile in length.

Desert Loop Discovery Trail

Spanning 1/3 of a mile in length, this is the main trail the garden has to offer.

With a vast range of different cacti and succulents, alongside other collections of plants, as you walk this loop you’ll get to see just how stunning the desert can be.

Desert Wildflower Loop Trail

It’s not just about cacti and succulents…even pretty flowers have found a way to make desert living work.

This loop provides a welcoming hub for wildlife too, with brightly coloured flowers attracting the likes of butterflies, bees and incredible hummingbirds.

Keep your eyes peeled or you could miss them!

This trail is ⅓ mile in length.

Plants and People of the Sonoran Desert Loop Trail

Also giving a nod to the Sonoran Desert, this trail presents five unique desert habitats used by indigenous people to live, work and survive.

This trail is ⅓ mile in length.

Events and Activities

While you can just walk around the garden at your own leisure, they also host a number of events and experiences throughout the year.

These may be worth exploring if you want to make your visit that little bit more special.

For instance, upcoming events throughout 2023 include:

  • Wine tasting
  • Dog days on selected Saturdays 
  • Yoga
  • Cooking demos
  • Educational talks
  • World music
  • Loreria nights

What Amenities are there at the Desert Botantical Garden?

The gardens themselves only take a couple of hours to wander around, however there is ample opportunity to make your visit as long or as short as you want. 

One of the great things about the Desert Botanical Garden is the number of shaded seating areas available. 

They provide the perfect opportunity to take some time to sit, enjoy your surroundings and watch the world go by.

If you want to make more of your day, there are a couple of places to grab a bite to eat and something refreshing to drink.

Gertrude’s Restaurant

Gertrude’s Restaurant is situated right by the garden’s entrance. 

Winner of a Diners’ Choice Award, this spot offer seasonally inspired fresh food, with inspiration from across the world. 

With both inside and patio seating available, it’s a great place to enjoy your meal.

The Patio Cafe 

If you don’t want a sit-down meal, the garden also has a Patio Cafe which serves up light bites alongside hot and cold drinks.

The cafe offers a selection of salads and sandwiches, as well as some sweet treats for when you want a bit of indulgence!

Hydration Stations

Doing their bit to protect the environment, the Desert Botanical Garden have an abundance of hydration stations around each trail.

This is brilliant if, like us, you always carry a reusable water bottle.

There’s nothing better than a lovely cold drink of water on a hot day – plus, it saves spending money on numerous drinks!

Where is the Desert Botanical Garden located?

The Desert Botanical Garden is located on North Galvin Parkway in Phoenix.

It’s only a short distance from Phoenix Zoo and is clearly signposted from the road – so it’s not difficult to find.

If you’re driving, there is ample parking available on site which is free of charge.

What should I bring?

Since it is in the middle of a desert, it’s best to be prepared for warm weather!


Definitely come equipped with a hat and sunglasses – you don’t want to be squinting the whole day and miss all the beautiful plants.


Apply plenty of sunscreen and bring the bottle with you to top-up throughout your visit.

Even if it isn’t exceptionally hot, it is still so easy to get burned in the consistent Arizona sun.

We visited the garden in December, and still found ourselves getting hot as we walked around the trails (although we are English so aren’t used to so much sunshine)!

Plenty of Water

A reusable water bottle is a great idea to have on hand.

As we mentioned above, there are ample spots to refill, so it’s easy to make sure you stay hydrated.

Comfortable Shoes

All the trails have pretty even walkways, but comfortable shoes are still a must! 

A visit to the garden involves a fair amount of walking, so you don’t want to end up with any pesky blisters. 

How much does the Desert Botanical Garden cost?

As it currently stands, advanced ticket reservations are required for entry to the garden.

This can easily be booked via the Desert Botanical Garden website, where you can select your desired date and timeslot (in half an hour increments).

When making your booking, you can pick between General Admission, or any of the current events the garden has available.

Admission Prices

In terms of cost, adult admission is $29.95 and youth admission is $16.95.

We’d say this is a little on the pricey side, particularly for adults as the garden doesn’t really warrant an all-day visit (unless you segment the day with various food/drink stops or events).

That being said, we both really enjoyed our time exploring the beautiful landscapes.

The whole garden has such a tranquil vibe to it, and it really was a great place to spend a couple of hours.

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