Organ Pipe Wilderness Trails

Ajo, Arizona

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1 Review
4 out of 5
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.

Organ Pipe Wilderness Trails Professional Review and Guide

"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."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ajo
Distance: 10
Trail Type: Several options
Skill Level: Easy
Trailhead Elevation: 500 feet
Top Elevation: 4,808 feet
Local Contacts: National Park Service
Local Maps: USGS Mount Ajo, Blankenship Well, Menagers Lake, Sentinel NE, Lukeville, West of Lukeville, Pozo Nuevo Well, Palo Verde Camp
Driving Directions: Directions to Organ Pipe Wilderness Trails

Recent Trail Reviews

12/3/2007
0

This park is beautiful, remote and majestic. Hot and dry in the daytime even in winter, and apparently not too heavily visited. We camped at the stunning Alamo Canyon site (the more "primitive" of the park's two campgrounds, although it has an outhouse, information kiosks, trash cans, and grills and tables at each of the four sites) and got to experience the treat of being completely alone under the magnificent desert stars. The Alamo Canyon trail that starts at the campsite is a wonderful 2-mile hike along the canyon's dry streambed to the ruins of an old ranch. Mostly an easy, level hike, with a bit of scrambling over rocks and prickly undergrowth. We started about 90 minutes before sunset and were treated to the drama of the high red canyon walls bathed in late-afternoon sunlight, and on our return, a brilliant rainbow sunset over the mountains on the other side of the valley. The only detractor is that the park is both surrounded by an Air Force base, and right on the Mexican border, hence subject to heavy Border Patrol monitoring. About 3/4 of the park is CLOSED indefinitely while they hunt for border-crossers. Your otherwise near-pristine wilderness experience WILL thus be periodically marred by noisy, low flyovers of both planes and helicopters (though it was perversely fascinating to watch the planes dropping flares over the desert at night - you can really see where all the UFO stories come from). Other than that, this stunning park seems to be a largely undiscovered gem.



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May 2018