Arizona Adventures – The Arboretum at Flagstaff

by Jeff Colburn | September 1, 2016

Copyright Jeff ColburnThe country is having a heat wave; it’s 103 degrees F (39 C) at my home, and I have out of state visitors arriving who don’t do well with heat. We had some outdoor activities planned when we first heard they were coming out, and it was cooler, but those all evaporated. Sorry, bad pun.

But wait, we could go to Flagstaff. It’s only an hour away, a few thousand feet higher in elevation, and just 85 degrees F (29 C). So off we went with our guests.

There’s a lot to see and do in Flagstaff, but we decided to go to the Arboretum ( Part of the fun of getting to the Arboretum is the dirt road. It’s well maintained, and a couple miles long. Look in your rearview mirror as you drive down the road, and you will see a huge dust cloud behind you. I felt like I was driving a super hero’s car, and had hit the smoke-screen button. It was great fun for me, not so much for the car behind me.

Monarch butterfly

Monarch butterfly

The Arboretum is a 200 acre site with plenty of shade, usually a nice breeze, and is very quiet and peaceful. Between the grounds and greenhouse, you can see over 2,500 species of mostly drought-tolerant plants found on the Colorado Plateau. There’s wildlife in the area too. We saw a mommy and baby bunny, squirrels, birds, fish, dragonflies, and lizards. Sometimes you will see elk too.

Beautiful flower

Beautiful flower

We spent time in the museum and gift shop when we first arrived, and I managed to get a few birthday and Christmas gifts. I like to shop all year long for gifts, so I don’t go broke when birthdays and Christmas arrive. Especially since I have four friends whose birthdays are the week before Christmas.

Zebra Longwing

Zebra Longwing

A big draw for us on this visit to the Arboretum was the new Butterfly House ( It’s in a tent-like structure, and there were about a dozen butterflies inside. More butterflies will be added soon. It’s a small structure, but it easily holds 10 people, and they let me use my tripod when taking photographs. I created some really nice pictures of the butterflies and flowers, and even had a monarch land on my arm.

Queen Butterfly on Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)

Queen Butterfly on Echinacea (Purple Coneflower)

If you’re looking for a place to get out of the heat, enjoy some peace, quiet and butterflies or commune with nature, then the Arboretum at Flagstaff is the place for you.

Have Fun,

About the Author

Jeff Colburn is a freelance photographer and writer, whose photographs and articles have been used by publications and businesses for over 35 years. Jeff specializes in Fine Art and stock photography of Arizona, and has his Fine Art photographs in the New State Motor Building Gallery in Jerome, Arizona.

2 thoughts on “Arizona Adventures – The Arboretum at Flagstaff

  1. Jeff:

    Thanks for the article. If I’m ever in the Flagstaff area I will be sure and visit. One small correction. The butterfly on the Coneflower is not aMonarch. It is a Queen (Danaus gilippus).


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