Sweetwater Pass

Ajo, Arizona

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A wilderness route to a low pass through the Ajo Mountains. This route crosses the broad basin that separates Diaz Spire from the northern marches of the Ajo Mountains. Sweetwater Pass was once an important route for Tohono O’odham Indians, who used it to travel west into the Valley of the Ajo to gather the fruits of the organ pipe cactus. Long before their time, bands of Archaic people hunted and gathered in the basin to the west of the pass. Keep an eye out for signs of ancient Indian culture. Round mortar holes in the bedrock aided the grinding of seeds, and circular arrangements of boulders indicate sleeping areas. The route to Sweetwater Pass is strictly map-and-compass; there are no established paths.

Sweetwater Pass Professional Review and Guide

"A wilderness route to a low pass through the Ajo Mountains. This route crosses the broad basin that separates Diaz Spire from the northern marches of the Ajo Mountains. Sweetwater Pass was once an important route for Tohono O’odham Indians, who used it to travel west into the Valley of the Ajo to gather the fruits of the organ pipe cactus.

Long before their time, bands of Archaic people hunted and gathered in the basin to the west of the pass. Keep an eye out for signs of ancient Indian culture. Round mortar holes in the bedrock aided the grinding of seeds, and circular arrangements of boulders indicate sleeping areas. The route to Sweetwater Pass is strictly map-and-compass; there are no established paths."

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Ajo
Distance: 7
Elevation Gain: 500 feet
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: Day hike
Season: Best October to April
Trailhead Elevation: 2,050 feet
Top Elevation: 2,550 feet
Local Contacts: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Local Maps: USGS Diaz Peak; Trails Illustrated Organ Pipe Cactus
Driving Directions: Directions to Sweetwater Pass

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May 2018