Scenic USA - Arizona

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument - Pima County, Arizona

Photos by Rob Jones
Rob's Trip Report

     Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a remote desert wilderness, is at least an hour's drive from I-8 and the suburbs of Phoenix. The park skirts along the Mexico border, with Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge to Ajo Mountain Archthe west and the Tohono O'odham Nation eastward. This wild and desolate land showcases its namesake, the organ pipe cactus. An additional 25 other cactus species thrive in this seemingly inhospitable land. A collection of natural arches in the park are sure to draw interest from the avid arch hunters.
     Recognized as one of America's last unspoiled ecosystems, the park earned a designation as an International Biosphere Reserve in 1976. This section of the Sonoran Desert, unfortunately, sees little tourist activity. State Route 85 bisects the park, with two scenic loops offering an unhurried look at the park's magnificent scenery. A graded road in the northeast corner of the park leads to Alamo Canyon and a wonderful hiking trail. Although most backcountry areas are open for day use only, the Alamo Canyon offers primitive camping. With road closures and nefarious border activities, it's best to check in at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center for the latest information and area news.

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