THING TO DO

Hike the Estes Canyon/Bull Pasture Loop

Female visitor hikes on desert trail, surrounded by
The 800 feet climb to Bull Pasture rewards visitors with some of the best views in the monument.

NPS Photo/K Ceballos

The Estes Canyon trail provides ample opportunities to hear and view the birds, wildlife and wildflowers of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Then climb up into the Ajo Mountains on the Bull Pasture trail and be rewarded with spectacular views of the Sonoran Desert.

This moderate loop trail leads clockwise into Estes Canyon and then climbs onto a ridge. It returns down through the foothills back to the parking area. Halfway around the loop a short, strenuous spur trail climbs to Bull Pasture, which early ranchers used for their cattle. From the Bull Pasture Viewpoint, hikers have a stunning view of Mount Ajo, the highest peak in the monument at 4,808 feet (1466 meters). The trail, including the spur, is a rugged 4.1 miles (6.6 km) round trip, with a total elevation gain of 865 feet (224 meters). View a map of the trail here. 

This trailhead is located on Mile 11 along the Ajo Mountain Drive. The Ajo Mountain Drive is a 21 mile, one-way dirt driving loop, and it will take about 50 minutes to drive from the visitor center to the trailhead.
 

Difficulty:


The Estes Canyon loop trail is a moderate trail. This trail crosses several washes but is relatively flat.

The Bull Pasture trail is strenuous and has steep switchbacks. The trail is often exposed to drop-offs on one side.
 

Distances:


Estes Canyon to Bull Pasture Junction and back: 3.2 mi (5.1 km)

Estes Canyon to junction, returning on Bull Pasture trail: 2.6 mi (4.2 km)

Estes Canyon to Bull Pasture summit, returning on Bull Pasture trail: 3.6 mi (5.8 km)
Details
All ages, though please keep in mind this is a strenuous hike on steep, uneven terrain. 

Fee included in general park entry fee.

Trailhead is located at Mile 11 along the Ajo Mountain Drive. The Ajo Mountain Drive is a 21 mile, one-way dirt driving loop, and it will take about 50 minutes to drive from the visitor center to the trailhead.

Across from the trailhead/parking lot you will find a ramada with picnic tables and restrooms
While the Estes Canyon/Bull Pasture can be experienced all year round, please be aware that summer and fall temperatures can reach upwards of 110 degrees Fahrenheit. Please plan your activities accordingly and practice desert safety.  
Accessibility Information
Trail terrain is uneven, rocky and steep in some sections. Hikers of many different abilities have hiked this route in the past. If you are curious about accessibility for your needs please contact the park.

While pets are not allowed on this trail, service animals are allowed. 

Last updated: April 25, 2021