Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Things to Do

Overview | Climate/Map | Description | Things to Do | Camping/Lodging | Nearby

Ajo Mountain Drive

Auto Tours

Ajo Mountain Drive (21 miles): Winds along the foothills of the Ajo Mountains, the highest range in the area. Outstanding desert landscapes and impressive stands of Organ Pipe Cactus are among the highlights of this tour. It also includes a spectacular view of a natural stone arch in Arch Canyon. The drive takes about two hours; the road, which twists and dips, is mostly gravel and is passable by normal passenger cars. RVs over 24 feet are not advised to travel this route.

Puerto Blanco Drive (5 miles): The first five miles allow 2-way traffic on the north end of the loop, providing access to the Pinkley Peak Picnic Area. Several stops along the way provide wonderful views and information on the ecology and culture of the Sonoran Desert. Be advised that the remainder of the road, including the South Puerto Blanco road in its entirety and Pozo Nuevo roads remain closed.

Besides these two roads, there are a few unimproved dirt roads that go further into the backcountry. Some lead to historic sites with windmills, ranch houses, abandoned gold and silver mines, and other remnants of the past. Sometimes these roads are passable only by 4-wheel drive vehicles. Check on road conditions at the visitor center.

Guidebooks are available at the Visitor Center and at the start of both drives. When auto touring, carry emergency tools; take drinking water and extra water for your vehicle; stay away from flooded areas; and never drive off the road. Ramadas and picnic areas are located in scenic spots on both drives.

Trails and Hiking

Along the Visitor Center Nature TrailVisitor Center Nature Trail (0.1-mile round trip) Easy. Visitor Center Nature Trail Easy - A trail guide is available for this ADA Accesible stroll through the Sonoran Desert as it loops around the Visitor Center.

Campground Perimeter Trail (1-mile round trip) Easy - Loops around the Twin Peaks Campground. Allows pets, if leashed.

Desert View Nature Trail (1.2 miles round trip) Easy - A circular route leading to vistas of Sonoyta Valley and the pink granite of the Cubabi Mountains in Mexico. Trail side signs describe features along the way and tell how people used the desert to live.

Palo Verde Trail (2.6 miles round trip) Easy. Goes between Visitor Center with Twin Peaks Campground.

Estes Canyon-Bull Pasture Trail (4.0 miles round trip) Strenuous. A favorite among hikers here. This combination of two trails leads you up to an amazing vista, jumbled geology and wonderful flowers. The pasture was used by supporters of Pancho Villa as a hide-out!

Victoria Mine Trail (4.5 miles round-trip) Moderate. On south side of Twin Peaks Campground. Goes over rolling terrain to the site of the oldest mine in the area.

Lost Cabin Mine Trail (4.4 miles) Along an old, primitive mining road.

Martinez Mine Trail (3.2 miles) to an abandoned mine over an old mining road.

Senita Basin Loop (2.25 miles) through the oldest granite hills in the Monument.

Milton Mine Trail (2.5 miles) through hills of Chrysocolla (false turquoise).

Red Tanks Tinaja Trail (1.2 miles) Moderate. Trailhead is located along the North Puerto Blanco Drive. Follows the route of ancient Hohokam following tinaja springs.

Mountain arch seen from Ajo Mountain Drive.Dripping Springs Mine Trail (2.0 miles) travels through one of the moistest area of the Monument.

Arch Canyon Trail (1.5 miles) Moderate. The trail leads up the canyon towards a pair of natural arches in the volcanic rock. At the end of the maintained trail, a strenuous , non-maintained route leads up to the arches and beyond. Be cautious of loose rock if you choose to follow this route.

Bull Pasture Trail (1.75 miles) through the historical focal point of all three cultures who have occupied the Monument.

Bull Pasture Trailhead on Ajo Mountain Drive.Organ Pipe Cactus NM Package - Book and Map to help explore the park.

Estes Canyon Trail (2.25 miles) is a more gradual route to Bull Pasture.

Old Ajo/Sonoyta Hwy. 85 Trail (7.5 miles) a 50-year-old remnant spur along old Hwy. 85.

William Springs Trail (2.2 miles) from the Quitbaquito parking lot along the international border.

GUIDED HIKES
When: Daily January - March, and occasionally in December and April.
Go bird watching, walk to an abandoned copper mine, search for wildlife along a dry river bed, or learn the stories in the stones. All hikes take place in the morning, and are finished no later than 12 noon.

PATIO TALKS
When: Daily
11am, 1pm, and 3pm December-March
11am and 1pm November, April, and May
These 20-30 minute presentations take place on the back patio of the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. Subjects and presenters vary.

AJO MOUNTAIN VAN TOURS
When: 1pm daily January - March and occasionally in December and April.
Take the opportunity to spend 3 hours with a ranger on a drive through one of the monument's most beautiful areas. Space is limited to 10 people per day, so be sure to call or visit the Kris Eggle Visitor Center early in your visit to reserve your space.

EVENING PROGRAMS
When: Nightly January - March, and occasionally in December and April.
End the day with a 45-60 minute slide show at the Twin Peaks Campground amphitheater. From cactus and hummingbirds, to cowboy music and cartoon characters, these programs are opportunities for our staff's personalities to really shine through.

SPECIAL LECTURES AND VAN TOURS
When: Occasionally January - March
These include guest speakers, trips to the best flower patches when they bloom, and out to the Quitobaquito oasis. Ask at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center if any are scheduled while you are in the park.

FREE PARK SLIDE SHOW
When: Daily 8am-4:45pm year-round
Can't make a Ranger Program, or just want to know more? Watch our 15 minute slide show, "Where Edges Meet: A Sonoran Sanctuary," which shows in the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. Get park newspaper PDF

Backcountry - Check with the Visitors Center.Due to an increase in illegal border activity, all backcountry areas are closed indefinitely to both hiking and overnight camping. Though this is anticipated to be a temporary closure, the park is not certain when we can expect areas to reopen.

  • Alamo Canyon (1.5 miles)
  • Grass Canyon (2.4 miles)
  • Twin Peaks (1.5 miles)
  • Pinkley Peak (1.0 miles)
  • Mount Ajo (4.0 miles)


Nearby

El Camino Del Diablo - The Devil's Highway

 

 


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