Organ Pipe Cactus NM--Puerto Blanco Drive

About this Location

Undoubtedly one of the most scenic roads in Arizona, the 37-mile Puerto Blanco Drive travels deep into the unspoiled backcountry of the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, across cactus plains, and through mountain foothills. Besides the varied plants of the Sonoran Desert, the drive passes close to old mines, springs, historic sites, and a tree-lined oasis, and gives access to several hiking paths ranging from short nature trails to lengthy unmaintained routes.

Originally, half the drive was one-way, from the main visitor center on AZ-85 through the Puerto Blanco Mountains to Growler Junction, where it meets a 4WD track that gives crosses the northwest section of the national monument. From here, the road became two-way, south to the Mexican border then right alongside the international boundary fence for 13 miles back to AZ-85 and the village of Lukeville. There is plenty to see in this section but the full journey is even better, and takes around 4 hours, depending on the number of stops.

Since 2006, the accessible section of the road (the first 5 miles) has been improved and widened and is now a two-way route.

About Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

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President Franklin D. Roosevelt created Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on April 13, 1937.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was created as a way to preserve a representative area of the Sonoran Desert. The new monument was part of a movement in the National Parks to protect not just scenic wonders but also the ecological wonders of the country.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is the site of cultural resources that reflect long, widespread and diverse occupations by American Indian, Mexican, and European groups. The intersection of these three cultures is significant archaeologically, geographically, and internationally. Evidence of these cultures still remains today, and as you explore the monument, one cannot help but imagine what life was like living in the Sonoran Desert.

Content from Official Website and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument website