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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Scenic Drives: Puerto Blanco and Ajo Mountain Drives Professional Review and Guide
"The 21-mile Ajo Mountain Drive and the 53-mile Puerto Blanco Drive, both gravel roads, make scenic loops through the remote and beautiful backcountry of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Sprawling across 516 square miles of southern Arizona along the Mexican border, the monumentpreserves one of the last great expanses of pristine Sonoran Desert in the United States.The monument belies the image of deserts as being dead and inhospitable environments. The monument its every definition of a desert with its hot climate and scant 9 inches of annual precipitation, yet this dry land supports an amazingly rich flora and fauna, including more than five hundred plant species, from delicate flowers to giant saguaros. Organ Pipe supports this diversity of life and a unique blend of five different plant communities because two subdivisions of the Sonoran Desert—the Lower Colorado Subdivision and the Arizona Upland Subdivision—merge here."
--Stewart M. Green, Scenic Driving Arizona (Falcon Guides).
This park is very beautiful, but bear in mind that most of it, including all but the first five miles of the Puerto Blanco drive, is CLOSED indefinitely due to the U.S. government's anti-immigration activities. For this reason, and because the park is surrounded by an Air Force base, there will be periodic flyovers interrupting your wilderness experience. That said, the sections of the park that do remain open, mostly around the western slopes of the Ajo Mountains, are stunning and well worth a visit.
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