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Named for the predominant cactus in the monument, this surprisingly verdant stretch of Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border is home to organ pipe cacti that are 150 years old - some of which have grown nearly one arm for every year of their age. These iconic, octopus-like desert plants are just one of 28 different species of cactus found in Organ Pipe, not to mention the creosote, jojoba, and elephant trees and the vibrant wildflowers that bloom from winter to late spring if the rains come in force. Not to be outdone, the diversity of animal life in Organ Pipe is also impressive, including javelina, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, ...

Named for the predominant cactus in the monument, this surprisingly verdant stretch of Sonoran Desert on the U.S.-Mexico border is home to organ pipe cacti that are 150 years old - some of which have grown nearly one arm for every year of their age. These iconic, octopus-like desert plants are just one of 28 different species of cactus found in Organ Pipe, not to mention the creosote, jojoba, and elephant trees and the vibrant wildflowers that bloom from winter to late spring if the rains come in force. Not to be outdone, the diversity of animal life in Organ Pipe is also impressive, including javelina, mountain lions, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and plenty of birds, bats, and reptiles. This is a hiker's park in the cooler months and more of a scenic-drive-oriented park in summer because of temperatures that soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. The monument allows biking on its roadways, and the area is also a popular stopover for Arizonans driving to and from Rocky Point, a.k.a. Puerto Penasco, the beach resort city on the northernmost tip of the Sea of Cortez. But because of drug smugglers crossing from Mexico, authorities have had to close certain roads and areas in recent years.

Eric Peterson
About the Expert

Eric Peterson has written and contributed to numerous Frommer’s guidebooks covering the American West, including Montana & Wyoming, Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks, and Texas.

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Eric Peterson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: A U.S. National Monument and UNESCO biosphere reserve located in southern Arizona, sharing a border with Sonora, Mexico.
  • Research: Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    January to March; the summer is quite hot.