Backcountry Adventures: Arizona
by Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson (Adler Publishing )
© 2006 Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson/Adler Publishing . All Rights Reserved.
A fun, quick, and highly scenically rewarding drive that allows you to get up close to the dramatic red Ajo Mountains that define central/eastern part of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (the only part of the park currently open, due to U.S. Border Patrol activities). The road is twisty-turny in places as it climbs into the mountains, making for a fun and sometimes high-adrenaline drive. It is mostly unpaved, but well-graded. Several stunning overlooks and park-and-hike opportunities. Marker #13, about 9.5 miles into the drive, is the trailhead for the hike into Arches Canyon, but note that the fascinating geological feature of the spot's name - a 90-foot rock arch with a smaller arch atop it - can be seen from the road, and you can also get a closer look by hiking a short distance across the desert floor before the trail actually enters the canyon. The drive takes about an hour if you don't stop to hike or look around, but what fun is that? You could just as easily spend a whole day.
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