DesertUSA

Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel


Ajo, Arizona

Gateway to Mexico and the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.


Camping & RV Parks

There are many camping and RV accommodations in and around Ajo. For more information, contact:


Chamber of Commerce Ajo
601 W Indian Village Rd
Ajo, AZ 85321
(520) 387-4501


Location /Description / History

Ajo – pronounced Ah-ho – is located in western Pima County in the western part of Arizona. It is south of Interstate 8 and just off State Highway 85. It is approximately 110 miles from Phoenix and 131 miles from Tucson. It is a gateway into Mexico and to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It is famous for its Spanish colonial architecture, historic railway station, relaxed charm, breathtaking vistas, and vibrant sunsets.

Ajo is an ethnically diverse community and the birthplace of copper mining in Arizona. The principal source of the town’s economy is tourism, though Phelps Dodge hopes to re-establish the copper mining industry which ceased operation in 1986. It is a popular tourist destination and retirement community offering a somewhat inexpensive lifestyle. It has also become the home of border patrollers of late. Ajo is a gateway for visitors traveling to Mexico, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, and the Tohono O’odham Indian Reservation (and its casino.)


In Spanish, ajo means “garlic.”  Wild garlic plants (the Ajo lily or desert lily – an onion-like plant) that grew in the surrounding hills were responsible for the naming of the community.  Some also suspect the name comes from Papago Indian word for “paint.” The Papago Indians obtained red paint pigments from this area.

Population / Elevation

Population: About 4000 (2007)
Elevation: 1798 feet above sea level
Size: 28.1 square miles

Historic & Points of Interest

  • The heart of Ajo is The Ajo Plaza, a Spanish Colonial Revival town square built in 1917. The lovely plaza is lined by tall palms and flanked by mission churches and Spanish-style buildings. Festivals are held in the plaza. It was built at the direction of mining pioneer John Greenway. His wife Isabella later became the first woman elected to Congress by Arizona. The Catholic church was designed by George Washington Smith, a Santa Barbara, California architect whom Isabella had met. The church was built in 1924-25. The Protestant church was built in 1927 and influenced by the same architect. He died however before it was built and does not get full credit for it. Mrs. Isabella Greenway donated some funds in her deceased husband's honor (John Greenway died Jan. 1926) towards its completion and her name is on the plaque in front of the church.
  • Curley School – 1919 – beautiful Spanish architecture
  • Ajo Historical Society Museum – mementos from Ajo’s past
  • The Train Depot – 1915 – aka Ajo Depot – served the Tucson, Cornelia, Gila Bend railway.

 

Weather / Climate

Click for Ajo, Arizona Forecast



View Larger Map

Things To Do

Golf -Tennis -Bowling -Swimming -Organized community events.

Events

January - Annual Piñata Contest       
February - Sonoran Shindig
February - Annual Fiddler’s Contest
March - Annual O’odham Day Celebration
November - Copper Days and Great Western Street Fair
November - Desert Dust and Classic Rust Car Show
November - Paws, Claws, and Snakes Pet Parade
December - La Posada - Piñata, candle light procession

Resources & Nearby Attractions

Resources

Related Books & Gifts - Trading Post

Nearby Attractions

  • Sonoran Desert National Monument
  • Crater Range
  • Sonayta, Mexico – bustling sout-of-the-border town famous for crafts and shopping
  • Puerto Penasco, aka Rocky Point – a resort town located two hours south on the Sea of Cortez in Sonora, Mexico. Puerto Penasco was at one time a fishing village and has shops for tourists and delicious fresh shrimp that tourists bring back across the border.
  • Goldwater Gunnery Range

Cites and Towns

Parks & Monuments

Recreation & Wilderness Areas


Share this page on Facebook:


DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)


The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms

SEARCH THIS SITE









 



Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park
The movie Stagecoach, in 1939 introduced two stars to the American public, John Wayne, and Monument Valley. Visiting Monument Valley gives you a spiritual and uplifting experience that few places on earth can duplicate. Take a look at this spectacular scenery in this DesertUSA video.

Glen Canyon Dam - Lake Powell Held behind the Bureau of Reclamation's Glen Canyon Dam, waters of the Colorado River and tributaries are backed up almost 186 miles, forming Lake Powell. The dam was completed in 1963. Take a look at this tremendous feat of engineering - the Glen Canyon Dam.

Canyon de Chelly National Monument
Canyon de Chelly NM offers the opportunity to learn about Southwestern Indian history from the earliest Anasazi to the Navajo Indians who live and farm here today. Its primary attractions are ruins of Indian villages built between 350 and 1300 AD at the base of sheer red cliffs and in canyon wall caves.

Laughlin - Lake Mohave - Colorado River
In the summer, Katherine's Landing at the southern end of Lake Mohave is a hub of activity. It has fuel, a general store, a restaurant and a snack bar. The Colorado River south of the dam offers many recreational opportunities. Take a look at this river destination!

___________________________________

Take a look at our Animals index page to find information about all kinds of birds, snakes, mammals, spiders and more!



Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.



 
   
 
   
Copyright © 1996-2014 DesertUSA.com and Digital West Media, Inc.