• Sonoran Desert at Organ Pipe NM

    Organ Pipe Cactus

    National Monument Arizona

The GREEN Desert

The green desert is surprising to most visitors who expect sand and gravel in the Sonoran Desert

The Sonoran Desert is a surprising place to most visitors who expect the desert to be all sand and gravel. 

NPS Photo

If you close your eyes and think of a desert, what colors come to mind? Brown? Tan? Sand and rock?

Many first-time visitors to the Sonoran Desert are very surprised to find this place is green.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument preserves over 330,000 acres of green, living desert that is yours to explore and get to know. Because of its amazing biodiversity, this place is considered a mecca for Sonoran Desert Research and is honored with a designation by UNESCO as an International Biosphere Reserve.

Each of the plants have learned tricks and techniques to survive heat and drought, as well as freezing temperatures and floods. This is a land of extremes when it comes to plant life. This section can introduce you to some of our more common as well as some unique species of the Sonoran Desert.

Did You Know?

Javelinas are not pigs

Javelina look like pigs and act like pigs, but they are not pigs. Pigs evolved over thousands of years on the Eurasian continent. Javelina evolved over thousands of years on the North American continent. So, they may look like each other, but they are not even remotely related. More...