Organ Pipe Cactus NM

Located in the Sonoran Desert of the Arizona Southwest, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument brings together mountains (Bates Mountains, Cipriano Hills, Puerto Blanco Mountains, Sonoyta Mountains) and plains (La Abra Plain, Valley of the Aho, and Sonoyta Valley) at the Mexican Border. In 1976, the United Nations designated the park an International Biosphere Reserve.

We visited the Kris Eagle Visitor Center and drove through the Ajo Mountain Drive and the North Puerto Blanco Drive.

The park is most known for its organ pipe and saguaro cacti, but there are many other plants and trees, like senita cactus, elephant tree, limberbush, and ironwood trees. Life has adapted to one of the very hottest and driest climates in North America, where temperatures are extreme, the sun is intense, and rains are infrequent.

Organ pipes grow on warm slopes where they can absorb the most light and avoid frost in the winters. Lavender white flowers bloom in May, June and July.

While we didn’t see wildlife, the park has plenty. At night, active animals include elf owls, kangaroo rats, snakes and jackrabbits. During the day are bighorn sheep, birds, and lizards. And coyotes and javelinas are out any time of day.

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