Plan Your Visit
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has many ways visitors may experience the monument: from hiking, scenic driving, picnicking and more! What you enjoy, the time you have, and your abilities will determine how you experience this lush, lively desert! Many people base the time of their visit on the season, the temperature, and blooming wildflowers or cacti. Organ Pipe Cactus has suggestions on how best to explore the monument based on personal interests and the amount of time visitors have available.
- Visit the Kris Eggle Visitor Center and enjoy the 15 minute movie about the monument, browse the bookstore, and explore the exhibit room to learn why this area is so special.
- Take a leisurely walk on the 1/10-mile accessible nature trail that starts at the visitor center and enjoy seeing rare Quitobaquito pupfish, an abundance of cacti and desert plants, and learn all about them.
- Drive the 10 mile roundtrip section of North Puerto Blanco Drive to Pinkley Peak Picnic Area to witness the vastness of the Sonoran Desert and eat while basking in the view of Mount Pinkley.
This portion of North Puerto Blanco Drive is drivable by all vehicles under 25' in length and under.
Two to Three Hours
- Do some of the above, then:
- Hike the easy-rated, 1.2-mile-long Desert View trail to enjoy spectacular views and learn about desert plants and the people who lived in this area by reading the interpretive panels along the trail. This trail begins at the Twin Peaks Campground group sites area, 5 minutes from the visitor center.
- Tour the 21-mile Ajo Mountain Drive Scenic Loop to see stunning vews and stands of cacti of the surrounding desert landscape while journeying into the Ajo Mountain Range. Download the Ajo Mountain Drive brochure to learn more about the life found here while enjoying the scenic drive.
This drive takes approximately 1 hour without any stops. The graded dirt road is appropriate for all vehicles 25' in length and under. Trailers may be left at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center parking area while on the drive.
Half a Day
Any of the above, and:
- Enjoy the easy-rated, 1.2-mile roundtrip Arch Canyon trail, found along the Ajo Mountain Drive Scenic Loop. An unmaintained trail begins at the turnaround point 0.6 miles in. Follow a series of cairns ~500' in elevation to the top of the canyon, where visitors can enjoy fantastic views of the area. This steep unmantained trail is rated difficult and may require wayfinding.
- Discover historic mining structures along the Victoria Mine trail or the Alamo Canyon trail. The Victoria Mine trail is 4.2 miles roundtrip and begins at Twin Peaks Campground. The Alamo Canyon trail is 1.8 miles roundtrip and begins and Alamo Canyon Campground.
- Hike the 2.6-mile Estes Canyon-Bull Pasture loop trail to discover the unique mountain ecosystem and enjoy scenic views of the surrouding wilderness. This trail is rated strenuous as it gains 500' in elevation. There is a 1-mile roundtrip spur into Bull Pasture that gains another 200' in elevation.
Combine any of the above, and:
- Hike the Senita Basin area. This loop features several historic mining areas, quiet trails to experience solitude, and is where visitors may spot the elusive Senita cactus! Birders also tend to have luck spoting birds along the Senita Basin Triangle trail.
The Milton Mine trail to Senita Basin loop is 8.6 miles roundtrip; 10.4 miles rountrip if entering and returning from the Red Tanks Tinaja trailhead.
- Tour the 41-mile Puerto Blancos loop drive. Travel through scenic vistas and cacti forests to discover historic mining and ranching structures along the journey. Picnic areas vault toilets are found at Pinkley Peak Picnic Area and Bonita Well Picnic Area along the drive.
This rugged route is recommmended for high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles only. The road changes shape with wind and rain which may expose large rocks. One stretch of the road drives though a wash that may damage the bottom of low clearance vehicles.
Ask the visitor center staff for further suggestions and about backcountry road traveling.