The best show of color bursts forth from March to May–especially after a wet November and December.
The blooms of claret cup cactus and Indian paintbrush often appear first, followed by prickly pear, beavertail, and strawberry hedgehog cactus. On sunny inclines you will find Mexican poppies, black-footed daisies, fleabane, verbena, globemallow, penstemon, larkspur, evening primrose, and owl’s clover. Golden columbine and lupine, along with yellow and red monkey flower, show up in moist places such as West Fork and Oak Creek.
Boynton Pass, near Doe Mesa, and areas around Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock become carpeted with purple owl’s clover on good years. You may find Brins Mesa covered in petite yellow flowers. Tiny cream cups sometimes bloom in abundance, but their miniature size makes them difficult to capture in landscape photos. Close-ups capture the most dramatic results. Compose your photo low to the ground, about the same height as the flowers, for an intimate viewpoint.