Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Visit the only place in the U.S. where organ pipe cactus grows in the wild.
Arizona is known for its wide-open spaces, and visitors get plenty of that on the remote drive to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Surrounded by the Sonoran Desert — one of the greenest deserts in the world — this pristine natural area boasts more than 2,000 species of plants, 300 species of birds and 100 different reptiles and amphibians. The area’s surprising biodiversity led to its status as a UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves site.
On April 13, 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an area spanning more than 330,000 acres of the Sonoran Desert in southwestern Arizona. Home to over 2,000 different species of plants, 300 species of birds, and 100 species of reptiles and amphibians, it is the only place in the United States where you can see the organ pipe cactus in abundance.
Hike Rugged Trails
Backcountry trails lead to the amazing biodiversity of this region. Visitors can stretch their legs on a short loop trail near the parking lot of Kris Eggle Visitor Center before driving 1 mile to the Twin Peaks Campground to access more strenuous hiking trails. The Desert View Trail is just over a 1-mile loop that reaches a ridgeline overlooking the Ajo Mountains. The Victoria Mine Trail rambles through the desert for more than 4 miles and leads to one of the oldest prospecting sites in the Southwest. The toughest hike in the park, Estes Canyon/Bull Pasture, loops more than 3 miles into the wilderness area and features steep switchbacks that climb to spectacular viewpoints.
Take a Scenic Drive
Visitors who prefer the comfort and safety of their vehicles can experience the wonders of Organ Pipe on remote gravel roads. Ajo Mountain Drive reaches 21 miles into the park and presents the staggering range of plants that thrive in the Sonoran Desert. Kris Eggle Visitor Center provides a guidebook of this route, and the National Park Service app provides an audio guide. Visitors can go all in on the Puerto Blanco Drive, which climbs 41 miles into the Puerto Blanco Mountains where organ pipe and saguaro cactus thrive. Visit in March to see the annual wildflower display or in May and June to see many of the cactus in bloom.
Stay the Night
Experiencing the desert at night reveals the other half of the story. When the sun sets on the monument, many native critters emerge. Hear coyotes yipping in the distance and look for many species of cactus that bloom only during summer nights. Check with the visitor center to plan a visit when night-sky hikes and stargazing events are planned. Twin Peaks Campground features more than 200 campsites for tents and RVs. For primitive tent camping, Alamo Canyon Campground offers four additional sites. Visitors can make reservations at the monument’s website.
- The lobby, auditorium, exhibits and bookstore at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center are accessible.
- For the visually impaired, there is a relief map of the monument and a touch table with a variety of items, as well as large print brochures, Braille exhibit descriptions, and audio-recorded information.
- Behind the visitor center is a 100-yard paved nature trail, suitable for scooters and wheelchairs. The trail gives you an up-close view of the plants native to the Sonoran Desert.
- The Twin Peaks Campground has accessible restrooms and drinking water, as well as four sites that have picnic tables designated for wheelchairs and scooters.
For more information
For the most current information on operating days, hours and pricing, please visit the destination website.
"What brought me out to this monument was the sheer biodiversity of this landscape. If you look all around us, you will see tons of different plants all over the place. It is one of the greenest deserts in the world. When I come out here and explore the area, I get to discover new things every day."
– Eric Kim, Park Ranger