Arizona's Unprecedented Beauty

Find the hidden gems in our wonderful state
Posted on 11/24/2020
A desert wildflower in Arizona





By Mia Ross

When someone comes to Arizona as a tourist, they come to see the Grand Canyon, Four Corners, or maybe Hoover Dam.  Mainly, it’s the well-known areas that tourists typically flock to.  There is nothing wrong with these attractions and they are symbols of Arizona.  What about the other parts of Arizona, though?  Does anyone bother with these places?  Do they even know of the existence?  Here a few lesser known examples of this underappreciated beauty.

The Great Basin Grassland is a good start.  The rock formations that occurred millions of years ago give us spectacular views today.  Reddish rock is eroded into shapes that wouldn’t seem physically possible, and stem in different directions.  Ancient civilizations carved this rock into homes and even small villages for their people.  Also, just because it’s a more desert-like habitat doesn’t mean there’s no wildlife.  Ground squirrels and the rare Pronghorn are a sight to behold.

Another admirable example is the Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands.  Often near the Colorado Plateau, these smaller forests obviously consist of Junipers and Pinyons scattering the ground.  These trees are commonly confused with shrubs or bushes.  The ground below them is a place filled with wonder.  Pinyon Jays, a songbird, and Coyotes have much more cover and heavily rely on these trees. 

Finally, the wildflowers in Arizona probably aren’t high on that list to check for some.  Yet, to this day there is actually an abundance of these pretties.  One just needs to know where to find them.  The white Cereus only bloom at night in the rocky hillsides and plains.  Or perhaps you prefer the wooly or non-wooly marigolds in the washes and open lands.  A Dune Primrose is self-explanatory on where to find its pink to white flowers.  Places, animals, and flowers like these tend not to get enough credit, or acknowledgement.