Saguaro Lake State Park is a 20 minute scenic drive north of Fountain Hills on the Beeline Highway. While this oasis in the desert offers boating, cruising, picnicking and lake-front dining at the Marina, in March is all about the wildflowers.
This year’s winter rains guarantee a carpet of California poppies, Indian paintbrush, and in many places, lush stands of desert lupine, (Bluebonnets to ya’ll from Texas!). Depending on the weather, you may see the beginning of a wide array of fragile cactus blooms, known to many as “Nature’s Fireworks.” Tiny purple Hedgehog Cactus, Prickly pear and Ocotillo start to show their stuff as the days warm up toward the end of the month of March.
Catching a bite at the Marina is a pleasant respite, with both indoor and outdoor dining and a Friday Fish Fry that is a local favorite. A cruise on the Desert Belle is a perfect way to introduce visitors to the history of the area, see some primitive wild lands without hiking, and if you are really lucky, some of the mountain sheep that watch from the cliffs above.
A true “Arizona Experience” awaits at the Park’s Butcher Jones Beach area: An un-fenced herd of wild horses. The area has top kotch picnic area with tables, barbeques, toilet facilities, and easy parking with handicapped access. But for most visitors, it’s all about the Wild Horses. This beautiful herd of numbers 75+ and they frequent the beach area for easy access to water. It is important to note that these are wild creatures, however, and in the spring are somewhat elusive and protective of their foals. But it’s a thrill of a lifetime if you are lucky enough to capture a glance of the heard, and really something if you catch a picture or two.
So toast the sunset from the veranda of the Marina, take a cruise, or just pack a PB and J, and catch the “March Magnificence” of the Sonoran Desert highlands. Just another Fountain Hills Experience that is truly “one of a kind.”
Saguaro Lake Marina
14011 N Bush Hwy, Mesa, AZ 85215, 480-986-5546
8 a.m. – 10p.m. (call to confirm hours and weather conditions at the lake).
Desert Belle Cruises
14011 N Bush Hwy, Mesa, AZ 85215; 480-984-2425
(Reservations are necessary, especially on weekends).