If you haven’t checked out the spring wildflowers that are sprinkled all over our local landscapes yet this year, now is the time. Close to town, and characterized by being an upland desert, I can’t think of a better hike than the Geoffrey Platts Trail to introduce you to the all the flare and color of this year’s wildflowers.
This 3.8-mile loop trail takes its users through open grasslands with a plethora of native forbes, grasses and cacti, weaves around mesquite trees and ocotillo (which are blooming right now!), and offers great views of Sonoita Creek, and the Santa Rita and Patagonia Mountains. At the trailhead you will walk through a mesquite bosque until the trail veers right and starts to incline gently- entering open hillsides with views of the large cottonwoods of Sonoita Creek. Continue along this trail and follow the well-marked trail signs that say “G. Platts”.
At a certain point you will come to a T in the trail with two signs pointing down and up that say “Trail”, take either as this is the beginning of the loop.
From here, I can only suggest to “get lost”, while still following the trail. Observe the landscape, get up close and personal with the flowers (but remember to leave them where they are), listen to the quietude, and enjoy the flow of this remarkable trail that is so close to town, yet feels miles away. This trail is rated as moderate due to some hilly inclines and declines. No pets or horses allowed on this trail. No fee required.
Directions: From the Visitor’s Center on the corner of 3rd Avenue and McKeown, head northwest on 3rd Avenue. Turn left onto Pennsylvania Avenue, and continue onto Blue Heaven Road for about 0.7 miles. There is a small parking area on the right hand side. (Trailhead is about 0.5 miles before TNC’s Visitor Center.)
One hiking trail per month is highlighted in Take A Hike!. Each description will include
access point/s and directions, length, terrain, interesting features, and whether open to dogs or horses.
Our goal is to eventually combine the individual descriptions into a loose-leaf book of local trails. Borderlands is partnering with the PRT to make an accompanying GIS generated map to show the relative locations of the trails. In addition to several hard copies, the trail book will be available on both the PRT and BRN websites. The key, of course, is recruiting volunteers to write the trail descriptions. If you have a trail in mind, email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.