Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Travel Guide

  • Things to Do
    by Emile72
  • Things to Do
    by Emile72
  • Things to Do
    by Emile72

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Things to Do

  • Tillotson Peak Wayside

    These mountains began forming some 36 million years ago when thick, dark lava ozzed to the surface. You can see bands of dark lava mixed with lighter bands showing a chaotic geological history. The gological history, and the view, at this stop is interesting.

    more
  • Ajo Mountains Wayside

    After you enter the park, one of the first turnouts is the Ajo Mountains Wayside. This is a pretty nice view, but there is nothing to do here except look, and I wonder why Ajo Peak is on the other side of the road?

    more
  • Teddy Bear anyone?

    Though the Saguaro is perhaps most impressive and the Organ Pipe Cactus a formidable sight, we thought the Chain Fruit or Jumping Cholla (though our favorite name was Teddy Bear Cholla!) was the most beautiful. Though it almost looks cuddly like a teddy bear, those spines are amongst the most painful in the cactus world. These serve the cactus well...

    more
  • Organ Pipe Cactus

    The namesake Organ Pipe Cactus is found in the United States primarily within the Monument's boundaries or very nearby. Common south of the border in Mexico, the cactus is different from the Saguaro in that its many branches rise from the base rather than from higher up on the trunk. As with the Saguaro, the cacti live to around 105 years old and...

    more
  • Ocotillo

    Though armed with spines, the Ocotillo is not a cactus and the ones you see while common here are the only ones found in the United States. Since they cannot store water like a cactus their fruits swell up with liquid during wet times and the planet drops them to the ground to provide moisture to its base. We were lucky as it was in full bloom when...

    more
  • The mighty Saguaro

    Saguaros are not only huge cacti but they live a very impressive long time, some more than 150 years. They are slow growing but still have reached heights of 45 feet and ten feet around at their thickest part. The trademark “arms” of the Saguaro do not generally sprout until after 75 years and are important to the reproductive aspect of the cacti...

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Restaurants

  • Mexican Restaurant in Sonoyta, Mexico

    For you Spanish speaking people the business card for this restaurant states: Especialidad en Tortas y Tacos de Carne Asada, Ricos Desayunos y a la Carta lo que Gusten.The menus in the restaurant are all in Spanish, but our waitress spoke English. We enjoyed the food, and the experience of eating in an authentic Mexican restaurant. We ate...

    more
  • The Only Restaurant in Lukeville,...

    In Lukeville right next to the border crossing you will find a few business establishments. In this group you will find one restaurant with wonderful, traditional Mexican food at very inexpensive prices. Not only is this establishment a favorite with the folks from the campground across the street, but also of the local Mexicans. The tamales are...

    more
  • that's pretty funny

    There is no place to eat if you're camping in the park. Stop at a grocery store if you have to, go down to Lukeville at Gringos Pass...eat at that diner and watch the border patrol, go up to Ajo and eat there if you must. Easier to bring your own food.

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Nightlife

  • PA2AKgirl's Profile Photo

    by PA2AKgirl Written Oct 9, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you're planning on staying overnight here, you'll find a whole different place. During the day you have to strain to hear any noises at all. When the sun goes down, you hear noises all over the place. Coyotes in the distance (or maybe close to you), birds in the evening and early morning before sunrise, little animals running by your tent. The night at Organ Pipe is filled with the sound of activity from nocturnal animals. When the sun comes up, it's gone and once again, silent. I love the desert for this reason:)

    Dress Code: If you're going out wandering at night, bring appropriate gear

    last of the the light...
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Transportation

  • not exactly the Outback but out there

    Driving around the western US has to be one of the great road trips anywhere on this planet. The roads are generally in good shape, they are fairly empty, and amenities though not obtrusive are never too far away. You feel remote but it's not like you're days from the next gas station as say in the Australian Outback. Obviously, it pays to be...

    more
  • Ajo Mountain Drive

    Take two or three hours to enjoy the 21 mile Ajo Mountain Drive. It is a one way loop road that passes through saguaro forests and winds its way to the foothills of the Ajo Mountains and through lovely passes. There are many pullouts along the way and several opportunities for hiking. The road is not paved, so the ride will be a little bumpy.

    more
  • Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hotels

    0 Hotels in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Shopping

  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo

    by KimberlyAnn Updated May 4, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    You will not find shopping for such things as groceries inside the monument. These must be purchased in near-by towns such as Ajo or Lukeville. The closest of these is Lukeville, which sits on the boarder of Mexico. Simply follow the main park road (highway 85) south until you hit the US/Mexico border. You will find a small string of businesses here including a laundry matt, a small grocery store, a restaurant, U.S. Customs, the post office, and a duty free store. We purchased alcohol and perfume in the duty free store. The prices are substantially cheaper than in the U.S. It is funny though, because this is a Mexican export shop. You buy your items then you must walk out the door and around some palm trees that puts you in Mexico, then you must re-enter the U.S. at the boarder checkpoint and declare what you bought.

    Lukville, AZ
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Budget Travel

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Local Customs

  • What are those water bottles for?

    As you walk the desert of Organ Pipe you may occasionally see gallon jugs of plastic water bottles spaced here and there under trees or bushes. We asked about this at the visitor center and learned that these are a water supply for Mexicans coming across the border illegally. Although you will see many border patrol cars and patrolmen in this area...

    more
  • Refried Beans (Frijoles Refritos)

    In the Organ Pipe area of Arizona you will see Mexican influences, which is not surprising as this National Monument is only a short distance from the boarder. Be sure to try some Mexican food while you are in the area. Here is a simple recipe for Frijoles Refritos, or Refried Beans as we English speaking people call them. You will find these with...

    more
  • The Saguaro Apartments

    Many saguaros are pock-marked with holes. Several animals find it convenient to nest inside a saguaro. The screech owl and the gila woodpecker are two that particularly favor saguaro nests.

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Warnings and Dangers

  • the border problem

    The typical dangers of the desert-heat, lack of water, depletion of bodily minerals, and intense sun, are augmented here by the proximity to the Mexican border. Illegal border crossings are common and in addition to park rangers, there are border patrol driving up and down the park's main road which doubles as the thoroughfare to Mexico. For this...

    more
  • Ouch! What was that?

    When hiking be careful not to brush up against the cactus. Most of these are very thorny, and the chain fruit chollas are often called “jumping cactus.” Not that they actually jump, but a light brush and one will break off and attach itself to your clothing or skin. Do not try to remove it with your fingers. Use two rocks, pliers, tweezers, or a...

    more
  • Warnings for Organ Pipe Cactus National...

    This will be in three parts.1) Be aware of your surroundings. This park is right on the border with Mexico and there is a lot of smuggling (both people and drugs) in the area. This is especially true of the South Puerto Blanco Road area. You also have to keep your eye open for rattlesnakes, scorpions, mountain lions, etc. Usually they will not...

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument What to Pack

  • gubbi1's Profile Photo

    by gubbi1 Written May 10, 2008

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Miscellaneous: Don't forget to have your Passport (NOT ID-CARD) at hand when driving here. You will quite certain get into a control and you will need to show your passport. An ID-card, normally used inside Europe, does not help!

    VC, Organ Pipe NM, AZ, US
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Off The Beaten Path

  • Puerto Penasco, Mexico

    Puerto Penasco, which is along the Sea of Cortez, is 62 miles south Lukeville, AZ. This town has an area devoted to selling goods to Americans and other tourists. This area has a lot of low quality trinkets, as well as Mexican silver of varying qualities, and quality items such as some of the carved ironwood, which can be very nice. The rule is to...

    more
  • Hiking Trails

    There are normally 2 main drives you can do in the park (other than the road through the park) and spurring off of these are numerous hikes. They range from well marked to backcountry. Certain hikes require you to have a very good map of the region and a compass because there isn't a marked trail here. If you're planning on exploring the area in...

    more
  • Sonoyta, Mexico

    This is the first Mexican Town after you cross over the border from Lukeville, Arizona. This is a "real" Mexican town that is not based on tourism at all and is only two miles across the border. Be aware that many people here do not speak English. We looked in some of the shops, and were amazed at the beautiful furniture and large pottery that we...

    more

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Sports & Outdoors

  • Estes Canyon Trail

    The hiking trail leading through Estes Canyon is fairly difficult. It is a 4.1 mile loop and very steep in places. The view is worth it though. Good walking shoes, a hat, sunscreen, weather appropriate clothing, plenty of water.

    more
  • Ajo Arch Canyon Trail

    I am not sure how long the hike up to view the arch is; but the view is nice. You can get pretty close to the arch while following the trail. As you approach the back of the arch the trail ends. You can continue past this point but the way up gets very steep and can be very slippery. It is not a sanctioned trail and is at your own risk. Good...

    more
  • Ask a Question

    Got a question about Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument? Get an answer from our Location locals and frequent travelers

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Favorites

  • it sure looked like Mexico

    Some places you've really explored and others, you nearly wince when you say you have been there. Deep down you know you were so barely there it was just another check off the list. I was in Mexico twice in 1994 but very briefly on both occasions. The first was the archetypal jaunt over the border from San Diego to Tijuana, a trip that anyone...

    more
  • no bullet holes

    We were right back on that scenic drive first thing in the morning as the Bull's Pasture hike's start was just about halfway around. Doing the drive again was not a problem as it was beautiful in the early morning light as well but we made our way directly to the trail head, full knowing the hike would be more pleasurable the earlier we started....

    more
  • which side of the border are we on?

    We arrived at the park in late afternoon but early enough to stop by the Visitor Center. The rangers were an odd bunch after a few days with their counterparts in great parks like White Sands, Chiricahua and even Saguaro just four hours northeast. They were friendly enough but it seemed they'd rather be stationed some place else in the National...

    more

Instant Answers: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

82 travelers online now

Comments

 
Explore Deeper into Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Hike to Bull's Pasture
Things to Do
Ajo Mountain Drive
Things to Do
Ajo Mountain Drive
Things to Do
For Information
Favorites
AMD: Estes Canyon
Things to Do
Visitor's Center Museum
Things to Do
AMD: Diablo Canyon
Things to Do
AMD: Arch Canyon
Things to Do
AMD: Ajo Mountains
Things to Do
Ajo Mountain Drive
Things to Do
Visitor's Center
Things to Do
See Other Cacti
Things to Do
See the Organ Pipe Cactus
Things to Do
Enjoy the scenery
Things to Do
Arch Canyon
Things to Do
Don't be too afraid
Warnings and Dangers
Ajo Mountain Drive
Things to Do
Victoria Mine
Things to Do
Visitor's Center
Things to Do
Winter in the desert
Favorites
With the border comes border patrol...
Warnings and Dangers
It IS on the border...
Warnings and Dangers
See the park's namesake
Things to Do
The Ajo Mountain Road
Things to Do
Why
Things to Do
Sites Along the Puerto Blanco Drive
Things to Do
The Puerto Blanco Drive Through the Sonoran Desert
Things to Do
A Mountain Drive with Hiking Opportunities
Things to Do
Milton Mine Trail
Things to Do
Border patrol
Warnings and Dangers
Desert View Trail
Things to Do
dead organ
Things to Do
Ouch!!
Warnings and Dangers
desert blossom
Things to Do
Multi-purpose cactus
Things to Do
Agua, por favor
Warnings and Dangers
JAVELINAS
Things to Do
OCOTILLO
Things to Do
CHAINFRUIT CHOLLA
Things to Do
RETURN FROM BULL PASTURE
Things to Do
Map of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

View all Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument hotels