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East Cactus Plain Wilderness

East Cactus Plain Wilderness offers a truly exceptional desert experience. Much of the area is a wonderland of sand dunes with surprisingly lush vegetation, including many cactus species, desert trees and shrubs, and plenty of seasonal wild flowers. Access is via the town of Bouse, in western Arizona. From Bouse at SR-72, Swansea Rd. runs northeast to the ghost town of Swansea. A warning sign just after leaving Bouse reads "Primitive Road" but I had no trouble with my 2-wheel drive pick-up. About 12 miles after leaving Bouse, the road crosses the CAP (Central Arizona Project) canal. Sand Verbena and Dunes Evening Primrose are the most conspicuous spring wildflowers. There are no established trails into the wilderness so that an extended hike would require a good topo map and a compass.

East Cactus Plain Wilderness parking and information kiosk

The East Cactus Plain Wilderness parking and information kiosk lies immediately north of the CAP Canal and the Swansea Rd. crossing.

View East Cactus Plain in a larger map. East Cactus Plain is indicated by the green pushpin.
Services including food and fuel can be found in the town of Bouse or Quartzite.
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February - March Wildflowers (obs. 4 March 1998)

Yellow Flowers

  1. Bladderpod -- Lesquerella sp.
  2. Sahara Mustard -- Brassica tournefortii - (harmful invasive weed)

Orange Flowers

  1. Orange Fiddleneck -- Amsinckia intermedia

White Flowers

  1. Dunes Evening Primrose -- Oenothera deltoidae
  2. Esteve's Pincushion -- Chaenactis stevioides
  3. Desert Lily -- Hesperocallis undulata
  4. Guadalupe Cryptantha -- Cryptantha maritima
  5. Peppergrass -- Lepidium lasiocarpum
  6. Arch-nutted Comb Bur -- Pectocarya recurvata

Purple/Blue Flowers

  1. Locoweed -- Astragalus
  2. Wolfberry -- Lycium spp.

Pink/Lavender Flowers

  1. Red-stemmed Fillaree -- Erodium cicutarium
  2. Desert Wishbone Bush -- Mirabilis laevis
  3. Sand Verbena -- Abronia villosa

Greenish Flowers

  1. White Bursage -- Ambrosia dumosa
  2. Indianwheat; Woolly Plantain -- Plantago ovata

Spring Butterflies

Lots of Painted Ladies and a few Checkered Whites.


Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010