Scenic USA - Arizona

Ajo Mountain Loop

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Ajo Mountain Loop - Ajo Plaza, Arizona

Photos by Erik Slotboom
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   Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona's largest national monument, Organ Pipe Cactus spreads over 330,000 acres. Almost 95 percent of this remote park acreage is designated as wilderness land. Holding the majority of America's natural organ pipe cactus plants, the land also protects a rare elephant tree and senita cactus. Two graded loop roads provide scenic highlights throughout this Sonoran Desert setting. This view along the Ajo Mountain Scenic Loop gives a good idea of the terrain as it winds through the southern reaches of the park. The western section, deep into the park, features the Quitobaquito Springs site which attracts over 250 species of birds, and desert mammals.
   The monument's Daylight View - Mount Ajo Loop, Arizona namesake, the organ pipe cactus, is found on southern slopes where they soak up the sunshine, one of its key survival techniques during the winter months. The park borders on the Mexican state of Sonora, and its latitude is similar to that of Tucson. The park area, lying in the shadows of Mount Ajo, still experiences occasional, and damaging freezes. While everyone may not enjoy a desert setting as this, one must marvel at the tenacity of these Sonoran Desert plants and animals.

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