If I were asked to pinpoint a half-dozen places on the southern Arizona map that embody the quintessence of the Sonoran Desert, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, set aside as wilderness in 1978, would be at the top of the list. The columnar organ pipe cactus reaches its northernmost limit on the south-facing slopes of its namesake wilderness, but it is only one of many flowering cacti, which include the saguaro, senita, cholla, barrel, prickly pear, hedgehog, and pincushion. Mesquite, jojoba, ironwood, foothills and blue palo verde, desert hackberry, brittlebush, century plant, Mexican jumping bean, and creosote bush are the dominant shrubs.
Spring bloom attracts many visitors to the Organ Pipe Wilderness, and in years of abundant fall and winter rain that promote seed germination, flowering plants in the wilderness burst into bloom.Organ Pipe is one of the few places in the United States where you will find elephant tree, a native of the central Gulf of California region. This trail guide covers an area with 10 miles of trails.
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