Tuesday, March 28, 2023

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

It is a 20-mile drive from the Why-BLM south on Hwy85 to one of the most beautiful desert parks in the U.S. - the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.

And even though I have been there twice before, I needed to see it again.

Driving down Hwy85 was an attraction in itself. Both ditches were glowing of carpets of blue wild lupines interspersed with the bright yellow flowers of Brittle Bush. A feast for our eyes. Naturally, most other people didn't seem to notice or simply didn't care. Right away we noticed the wild car chase which was going on along the highway. Everybody seemed to be in a heck of a hurry. Well, we were not.

The Ajo Mt. circle drive starts on the east side of the highway right opposite the visitor center. It's a gravel road of 21 miles leading through the Diablo Mountains in the most spectacular way. It's a one-way road. Some steep passages are paved, the rest is pretty rough, though 2x4 vehicles have no problems. Take your time if you want to see it. Go slow and stop often! At this time of the year and with previous rainfalls the flowers were an attraction in itself. We had made a conscious choice to do the tour on Monday, rather than during a busy weekend. Phoenix is not too far off and city dwellers can ruin your experience of the park when they storm up the dirt roads.

The park also offers another round drive, but it is 41 miles. It's to the other (western) side of the highway. We didn't do that today and last time I was there the trail was closed, due to a lot of border activity. For miles the trail goes right along the border.

Btw. there is also a $25entry fee which entitles you to revisit the park for 7 days.

I understand that the border is now secured by the hotly discussed border fence, and we didn't see so much border patrol any more.

You can read more about our previous visit here.

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