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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is in the heart of the Sonoran Desert. Beautiful, yes, but there are many elements in this desert environment that could create an unsafe experience for you. While planning your visit, read the information below to become familiar with the possible hazards and safety issues that exist. When you arrive, enjoy yourself but always be aware of your surroundings, observe posted regulations, and know your limitations.
The number one danger: Driving
What most people want to know: Is the monument a safe place to visit?
A daily threat: the sun and the heat
Apply sunscreen even to areas that are not exposed. The sun's damaging rays can penetrate clothing. In addition to sunscreen, wear a hat, long pants, and a light-colored long-sleeved shirt. Reduce your activity during the hottest part of the day. Sit and cool off in the shade whenever it is available.
Other Safety Considerations
Ouch!: Desert Flora
Sharing the land: Give wildlife their space.
Javelinas, skunks, coyotes, squirrels, ravens, and other mammals and birds are all residents of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Even though an animal may appear tame, it is still wild and could pose a threat to your health and safety. Do not approach wildlife. Observe and photograph from a safe distance. Harassing or feeding any wildlife is prohibited. To prevent any animal from becoming habituated to people, all food, coolers, cooking utensils, and toiletries should be stored in the trunk of your car.
A few mountain lions range throughout the monument. Sometimes tracks are found but sightings are extremely rare. Nevertheless, should you come too close to a mountain lion, do not run. Make yourself as large as possible and keep children by your side. Do not stoop down.Throw anything that is within reach, even personal items, and shout.
Did You Know?
It's not easy, practical, or legal to get "water" from a barrel cactus within the Monument. Even if you tried to get past the spines, it would be like sucking on a bad-tasting dish sponge. The best thing to do is fill a canteen with good drinking water before leaving home.