Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel

Why, AZ

Location / Description
Why is a small rural community on the Western border of the Tohono O'Odham Indian Reservation. It is north of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Southern Arizona, 30 miles north of the Mexican Border and 10 miles south of Ajo. Most people know of it because of its interesting name and as a place they drive through on their way to Rocky Point, Mexico.

Population / Elevation

Population: Unlisted in US Census Bureau
Elevation: 1791 feet above sea level


Click for Why, Arizona Forecast


The unusual name comes from the fact that at one time, two major highways (Highway 85 and Highway 86) intersected in a Y. The spot became known as "The Y," and the spelling was changed when residents petitioned for a post office. At the time of the town's naming, Arizona law required town and city names to have at least three letters, so the town founders decided to name it Why because they could not just call it Y. Eventually, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) changed the intersection to more of a T-shape because of safety concerns, thus the name is part of the town's history more than its current state of affairs.

Things To Do

  • Picnicking
  • Hiking
  • Water recreation
  • Exploration
  • Golf
  • Tennis
  • Offroad activities
  • Bowling
  • Swimming
  • Casino
  • Organized community events


  • (see the nearby community of AJO)


There are many camping and RV accommodations in and around Ajo which is just 10 miles from Why.

For more information, contact:
Chamber of Commerce Ajo
601 W Indian Village Rd
Ajo, AZ 85321
(520) 387-4501

Resources & Nearby Attractions


Nearby Attractions

  • Sonoran Desert National Monument  - see also
  • Crater Range 
  • Sonayta, Mexico - bustling south-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

Cities & Towns

Parks & Monuments

Recreation & Wilderness Areas

  • Puerto Penasco (Rocky Point) Mexico

Historic & Points of Interest

  • The intersection of of Highways 85 and 86 from which Why, Arizona got its name. 
  • Ajo Plaza, a Spanish Colonial Revival town square in nearby AJO was built in 1917. The picturesque 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 and his wife Isabella, who later became the first woman elected to Congress by Arizona
  • Ajo Historical Society Museum - mementos from Ajo's past 
  • Ajo Train Depot - 1915 - aka Ajo Depot - served the Tucson, Cornelia, Gila Bend railway.
  • Golden Ha:san Casino (1.5 miles east of Why)



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