Sunday, March 19, 2023

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (Ajo Mountain Drive) 1 of 3

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Today was strictly another do nothing type of day. Tom did go and get us some ice that we needed and I went through a 166 pictures I took yesterday on our ride and that was our day. No, they are not all below. I narrowed them down to 68 and I will spread them over three posts. Only 29

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Today we decided it was about time to get out and do something so we took a ride south to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. We have been there several times, yet, it is always on our list of things to do when we are in this area. 

The Namesake Cactus, Organ Pipe

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a U.S. national monument and UNESCO biosphere reserve located in extreme southern Arizona that shares a border with the Mexican state of Sonora. The park is the only place in the United States where the senita and organ pipe cactus grow wild. Along with this species, many other types of cacti and other desert flora native to the Yuma Desert section of the Sonoran Desert region grow in the park. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is 517 square miles in size. In 1976 the monument was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO, and in 1977 95% of Organ Pipe Cactus was declared a wilderness area.

(I thought this was an interesting bit of information about the monument.) Land for the Monument was donated by the Arizona state legislature to the federal government during Prohibition knowing that the north–south road would be improved and make contraband alcohol easier to import from Mexico

In 1937 the 330,000 acres of land was officially established as a national monument by Franklin D. Roosevelt. It was established to preserve a pristine example of Sonoran Desert. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument preserves the northern-most natural habitat of the Organ Pipe Cactus, as well as amazing examples of desert plants, animals, geology, and human history.

At the north entrance of the park is the unincorporated community of Why, Arizona; the town of Lukeville, Arizona at the park's southern border is a border crossing point to Sonoyta, Sonora, Mexico. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is bordered to the northwest by Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and to the east by the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation. (from the internet)

When ever we visit a National Monument or Park our first stop is always the visit center to find out about the park and to pick up a map. We are, also, looking for information as what there is to see, if there are any interesting programs taking place, and if there are any closures in the park. At the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument it is the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. 

Kris Eggle was shot and killed at the age of 28 in the line of duty at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on August 9, 2002. He was pursuing members of a drug cartel who fled into the United States after committing a string of murders in Mexico. 

On July 29, 2003, the United Sates Congress passed Public Law 108-64, officially designating the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument's visitor center as the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. A public dedication ceremony was held on November 2, 2003. (from the internet)

This is the memorial in front of the Kris Eggle Visitor Center.

Across AZ-85 from the visitor center is the entrance
to the Ajo Mountain Scenic Drive.

These are some of the first views you encounter.

The drive starts as a two way road then after a short distance you are on a one way loop. In the past we have stopped at the numbered stations along the way. For this ride we have decided to just enjoy the ride. Though we did make stops along the way for pictures. I will be adding very few words to the pictures as I feel they really speak for themselves.

Beautiful green Ocotillo

Looking towards Mexico

Yellow Brittlebush and Chainfruit Cholla

It was so beautiful to see how the green is
crawling up the mountain sides.

This ride was a feast for the eyes. Between the mountains, the different browns, all the greens, and the yellow with some purple and orange mixed in everywhere we turned there was nature's beauty to look at in front of us. Like every other time we have been here we enjoyed the time we spent driving through this monument.

We are glad you stopped by!
If you have time to leave a comment we would love to hear from you.


  1. Fantastic photos. It was a lovely ride and I’m glad you made it. There is so much beauty if we merely open our eyes and our minds.


    1. Thank you, Deb. I have to agree about all the beauty.

  2. It's amazing that no two pieces of cactus are alike, even though they are the same. Very pretty country the desert.

    1. I/we would agree the desert is very pretty and so alive.