In summer, the temperature averages more than 100 degrees. The dry earth cracks under the sun’s brutal rays.
What could possibly live in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument?
Well, there’s the towering succulent that gives the park its name. The organ pipe is just one of 26 different kinds of cacti that thrive in this arid environment. You’ll also find saguaro, pincushion, and barrel cactus.
Then there are the trees with their evocative names—mesquite, ironwood, creosote. And the wildflowers, blue, orange, and yellow, that carpet the desert after the spring rains. And the birds—more than 270 species.
It may look forbidding, but Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is very much alive with plants and animals that have adapted over millennia to the harsh climate and terrain of the Sonoran Desert.
You can explore this rare wilderness on a scenic drive, a day hike, or a backcountry camping trip. Take plenty of water and sunscreen, and leave your assumptions behind.
You may be surprised by the colors, sounds, and movement that surround you in this isolated and ancient place.
If You Go:
At Arch Canyon stop off the Aio Mountain Drive, and you can see one of several natural rock arches in the park.