No need to venture into distant deserts or high mountains to find vibrant wild blooms in this rain-washed summer.
Merely visit an urban riverside path, a public park, a dry wash or a foothills neighborhood and you’re likely to see wildflowers flashing brilliant colors as though it were spring rather than mid-August.
With more than 6 inches of rain drenching Tucson in July alone, followed by more storms this month, the urban area is showing an abundance of wild blooms in addition to garden flowers.
A walk, run or bike ride on some sections of the Rillito River Park Trail will lead to an assortment of yellow, purple and red wildflowers. Barrel cacti add their bright red blooms, which show up at this time of year even without the benefit of exceptionally heavy rains.
Some dry washes in the city and foothills, which are drab ribbons of sand in years without abundant monsoon moisture, are also good places to find wild color this month. But it’s critical to stay out of watercourses after periods of rain in the city or the surrounding mountains because of a danger of flash flooding.
Parks on the edges of the metro area — including Agua Caliente Park on the northeast side and Catalina State Park north of town — are also likely to have some summer wildflowers.