Florida (pronounced using the Spanishdict Phonetic Alphabet (SPA), floh - ree- dah) is in this case the Spanish word for flowered. A hike or horse ride in this canyon in any season, except late fall and winter, will give it an opportunity to live up to its name. Riparian areas, seeps and springs, even the desert hillsides that make up a good portion of the habitat here can be positively blanketed with wildflowers during a year of good rainfall. Higher up in the canyon, other notable vegetation includes some large, gnarly Arizona sycamores that serve as natural arbors for high climbing wild grape vines. These prolific food producers provide favorite foraging areas for raccoons, an animal one usually doesn’t think of as a desert dweller. Numerous other critters use them as well, including coatimundis, a southwestern cousin of the raccoon. At the head of the canyon, near Florida Saddle, there are a number of stands of large Douglas-firs that provide a cool canopy to shade you along your way. Views along the trail, especially along its higher stretches, are big and broad. Looking back toward the trailhead, the Santa Cruz Valley, the community of Green Valley and a couple of large copper mines stand out. Up-canyon, the Santa Rita Crest and the summit of Mt. Wrightson beckon users headed beyond Florida Saddle. In addition to those features already listed, the Florida Canyon Trail provides the most uncrowded access to the upper reaches of the Santa Rita Range of any trail with an easily accessible trailhead. Usually trails that are this lightly used require bouncing over bone-jarring 4-wheel drive roads to the trailhead. Not so with this one. It’s just a short 3.6 mile drive on an all-weather gravel road from the paved Madera Canyon road. With that in mind you may choose this trail as your access route to the Crest #144, Cave Canyon #149, Old Baldy #372 or Super #134 Trails. All of them either branch out from Florida Saddle or are just one junction removed from it.