Wheelchair Access On
Arboretum Trails

        Boyce Thompson Arboretum has two loaner wheelchairs which our visitors may reserve for use -- or which can be used without prior arrangements if you visit on a day that our wheelchair has not already been reserved. Ask in the Visitor Center, or call our staff at (602) 827-3000 if you'd like to reserve wheelchair use for a specific date and time. Call (602) 827-3000

        About half of our trail network is suitable for wheelchairs; most of the trails are packed earth, and a chair with wider and softer tires is typically better than narrow and skinny tires. Stop by our Visiter Center when you arrive and ask staff or volunteers for an orientation to the trail map, and for their suggestions for the best places to explore by chair.

         One of the most pleasant and accessible collections is our Demonstration Garden, located directly below the visitor center -- and visitors may park extra close to this garden if you request to park at the picnic area when you arrive here for your visit. We have two main parking lots - the large one at our main entrance out front of the visitor center, and the picnic area lot which is below that. Picnic area parking is gated and restricted, ask for a token that allows you to drive through the gate to that parking lot. Just request one when you pay your admission at the visitor center. The demonstration garden is a beautiful collection, with many species in bloom, colorful songbirds to see and listen to, peaceful bubbling water fountains, and shady arbors that are a great place to sit and read or just enjoy the day. Benches and seating areas are throughout this garden.

         Arboretum annual member Alan has explored most gardens here via wheelchair wrote the letter below describing his perspective on the arboretum's accessibility. Visit us soon; bring binoculars if you have a set, the demonstration garden is a great place to watch birds. We have loaner binoculars in the visitor center gift shop, too.

         Hello: My name is Alan Hart and I live in Queen Valley with my wife, Debbie. We are located close to Superior, AZ, a few miles from the Boyce Thompson Arboretum. This information is for some of you who are required to use a wheelchair for mobility, as I am, and are considering a trip to the arboretum. I have been to the arboretum many times with Debbie. She is my helper and pushes me along the trails in the garden.
         I enjoy spending part of each trip to the arboretum in the Gift Shop looking at their great selection of books. Some of my most treasured book finds have come from there.
         Much of the state park is very accessible to wheelchairs users but part of the trails are more enoyable with a helper to push. The trails are good but are gravelly and the small stones provide a rough ride and difficulties with a regular wheelchair. One with inflatable tires would be an advantage.
Of particular interest to me is the Demonstration Garden. It is located directly below the Visitor Center next to the picnic area. When you enter the arboretum, or at the Gift Shop, you may obtain a token for the automatic gate which allows you to drive down to a parking site by the picnic area. There are then trails to the Demonstration Garden or connecting trails to the main trail. Restrooms are located close by in the Smith Building. Part of the upper main trail is not recommended for wheelchairs.
         The Demonstration Garden contains a fascinating selection of low-water use plants. There are chairs or benches under the several shade ramadas for reading, relaxing and reflecting. It includes a wonderful Mini-Oasis with bubbling running water containing water plants and several fish. The sound of the water in such a setting is absolutely serene. The Demonstration Garden trails are easily navigated without the assistance of a helper.
A day-trip to the Boyce Thompson Arboretum is one of my most anticipated excursions. It is a trip that I would highly recommend to all wheelchair users, and also to those less fortunate who have to walk!!


Alan M. Hart
Queen Valley, AZ