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12 Free Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Boondocking Locations

Last updated on May 10th, 2022 at 01:52 am

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a monument based in southern Arizona along the border of Mexico. This area spans at 330,688 acres and was founded in 1937. Just the cacti alone are a reason to visit this national monument! There is a wide variety of cacti species to discover within the reserve, not just Organ Pipe Cacti, with the untouched plants being able to grow as tall as 23 feet! There are plenty of safe campgrounds to visit with plentiful resources, and beautiful night skies in the desert for viewing. From mountains, to valleys, to deserts, there’s so many sights to see if you’re looking for something great in Arizona!

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The History of the Organ Pipe Cactus Monument

Every small place and detail of the Organ Pipe Cactus Monument has a very special meaning and history to it. There have been people making their marks amongst this National Monument for over a thousand years. They’ve left behind their pieces of art in the forms of pottery, rocks, and many other forms. The National Monument itself remains so untouched that even the trails carved into the dirt many years ago can still be seen. Archeologists have recovered many different important pieces left behind from as far as 1,600 years ago.

The National Monument got its name from the large stands of Organ Pipe Cacti that can be found within the deserts. The species of cacti has also gotten its name from its resemblance to the pipe organ instrument. It wasn’t until 1977 that the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was declared a Monument. A year prior, it had been designated an International Biosphere Reserve.

As beautiful as the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is, there’s no lying about its somewhat dark history. For the longest time, the National Monument unfortunately faced a lot of dangerous activities and was considered one of the most dangerous National Parks. This was extremely unfortunate considering that the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument was located in one of the most thriving ecosystems in the United States. Illegal activity was often encountered in these areas. Visitors were advised to be extremely cautious when traveling through hiking trails and scenic drives. Armed park rangers also had to escort any travelers who were brave enough to go down the hiking trails.

However, since these occurrences have occurred, there have been actions taken to help prevent any possible unwanted encounters. Nowadays, the National Park is safe to travel through as long as you’re in groups, staying close to park rangers, listening to safety protocol, and listening to safety tips that are enforced. Now more than ever is a great time to visit the National Monument, as its safer than its ever been.

12 Free Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Boondocking Locations

1. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Boondocking – Cabeza Prieta NWR – Tule Well

Address
El Camino Del Diablo
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.226391, -113.749748
Elevation: 1178′

Management Public – Fish and Wildlife

This is a free dispersed campsite. This campsite does not use a reservation system. First come, first served.

2. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Boondocking Locations – Cabeza Prieta NWR – Christmas Pass

Address
Unnamed Road
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.277221, -113.694111
Elevation: 994′

Management Public – Fish and Wildlife

This is a free dispersed campsite. First come -> first camped. No reservations are accepted. Very nice site, but note this site is for off road vehicles not rv’s. From the north it was 33 miles of 4×4 use and lots if scratches on the truck and camper. I was not able to continue south so without a jeep or the likes it is only accessible from the north (Tacna).

3. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Camping Spots – Cabeza Prieta NWR – Papago Well

Address
El Camino Del Diablo
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.099108, -113.286984
Elevation: 912′

Management Public – Fish and Wildlife

This is a free dispersed campsite. First come -> first served. No reservations accepted.

4. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument RV Parking – Darby Wells Road – BLM

Address
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.350246, -112.829964
Elevation: 1738′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Managment (Official)

Darby Wells Road – BLM is open Year Round. There are 30 or more campsites at this location. You may stay 14 Days at Darby Wells Road – BLM.

5. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking – New Cornelia Mine Campsite

Address
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.340847, -112.843688
Elevation: 1781′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

Fantastic camping location next to the abandoned New Cornelia Mine in Ajo, Arizona. This location has a ton of existing fire pits, tons of available firewood, mind-blowing views of the stars at night, and incredible daytime and nighttime military jet viewing from the Barry Goldwater Air Force Base.

There are dozens of available sites here but this specific one is where I camp as it’s the furthest from the road and other sites. This location has an existing concrete pad large enough to park 2 cars, plus a fire pit, and plenty of trees to hide your tent in.

6. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Boondocking – Wild Woman

Address
Unnamed Road
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.241257, -112.765267
Elevation: 1762′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management

Free Dispersed camping in the Bureau of Land Management Lower Sonoran District. First come -> first camped. No reservations are accepted. Free dry camping. Fairly level campsites. Large area for dispersed camping. Well used. RV services nearby in the town of Why.

7. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Boondocking Locations – Gunsite Wash – BLM

Address
Why, Arizona
GPS: 32.238056, -112.751396
Elevation: 1798′

Management Public – Bureau of Land Management (Official)

Gunsite Wash – BLM is open Year Round. You may stay 14 Days at Gunsite Wash – BLM. Just wanted to post an updated this place to confirm that it is good for large rigs. It’s easy to find, and other than navigating around the “paths” throughout the area to find a spot, the access is easy as well. While it is an area near the Mexico border we experienced no issues and felt completely safe.

There were a lot of other camper scattered about, but due to the large amount of space, we did not feel crowded and you could hardly tell when someone did run a generator. It is quite close to the main highway unless you choose to drive way far back in; however there was no road noise at all. Great Verizon cell service too. Dark sky’s and a hassle-free stay

8. Paid Site – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Camping Spots – Ajo Community Golf Course – Price $5 Night

Address
77 W. Mead Rd, Ajo, AZ 85321
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.452019, -112.847656
Elevation: 1437′

Management Public – County Park (Official)

The road in is Paved. Ajo Community Golf Course is open Year around but Resturant open Oct thru Mid April. There are 6-15 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is none. You may stay 3 days (if full) at Ajo Community Golf Course. $5/night. Camp sites have no facilities but restrooms, resturant/bar and golf course available. A real gem in the desert. Current golf rates 9 holes $9, 18 holes $18. Rental Carts availble. No dump or potable water available but is available in near by Ajo, AZ.

9. Paid Site – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument RV Parking – Ajo Regional Park (Ajo Arena) Price $3 Night

Address
North Ajo Well Road #1
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.437594, -112.839641
Elevation: 1480′

Management Public – County Park (Official)

We stayed one night briefly while passing through. There are designated campsites past the arena but no fees. Meet a couple who said they had a permit to camp there long term but there was no fee. It was very primitive but felt safe. About 6 other campers there, most were there long term. Everyone gave each other plenty of elbow room. Wild burros in the area. We heard them in the distance but never saw them except for tracks and droppings.

10. Paid Site – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking – Coyote Howls East Campground – Price $9 Night

Address
255 AZ Highway 86
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.264095, -112.736844
Elevation: 1799′

Management -Private – Privately Owned Campground (Official)

The road in is Gravel. Coyote Howls East Campground is open year-rounnd. There are 30 or more campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is unlimited. You may stay forever at Coyote Howls East Campground. Coyote Howls East Campground consists of nearly 208 acres with 600 campsites. The sites are large, random in shape and placement.

These are our “primitive camps”. There are no hookups, so your trailer or RV needs to be self-contained. There are, however, restrooms, showers, dump stations, and water faucets scattered throughout the park. Propane is sold across the highway. All you need are solar panels or a generator to enjoy the beauty of the desert.

11. Paid Site – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Boondocking – Alamo Canyon Campground – Price $8 Night

Address
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.071765, -112.728105
Elevation: 2295′

Management Public – National Park Service (Official)

The road in is Gravel and 3 miles from a paved road. Alamo Canyon Campground is open all year. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 7 at Alamo Canyon Campground. This is a beautiful place to camp, and I don’t know how it isn’t full all the time. I’m not sure why there isn’t more camp spots here. Stayed here with a passenger vehicle and a tent.

12. Paid Site – Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Camping Spots Alamo Canyon Campground – Price $10 Night

Address
Ajo, Arizona
GPS: 32.071765, -112.728105
Elevation: 2295′

Management Public – National Park Service (Official)

The road in is Gravel and 3 miles from a paved road. Alamo Canyon Campground is open all year. There are 1-5 campsites at this location and the maximum RV length is 25 feet. You may stay 7 at Alamo Canyon Campground. The listing for this campsite is out of date as it is $10 per day (50% off with Senior or Access passes) and limited to TENTS ONLY. From the NPS website, “Alamo Canyon Campground is established for primitive tent camping only. Motorhomes and trailers are not permitted.”

Top 10 Hiking Trails of the Organ Pipe Cactus Monument

The hiking trails are definitely a must see for people looking for something to do at this National Monument. There are a total of 12 hiking trails that are open throughout the entirety of the week. Whether you’re a pro hiker looking for more challenges, or a new hiker looking for an easy and scenic route, there’s plenty of trails that cater to everyone!

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #1. Bull Pasture Trail

1. Bull Pasture Trail Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail

The Bull Pasture trail is one of the best trails, especially if you’re looking to see some beautiful plants! There are many wildflowers to see and lots of gorgeous cacti. This trail spans at 3.9 miles long and is a fairly average hiking trail to complete. There’s plenty of vistas and vegetation for viewing, and you can count on the weather being just the perfect amount of warmth. At the higher elevations, you can expect it to be much cooler.

Length: 3.9 mi
Elevation gain: 1,076 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Walking, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Fee, No dogs

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #2. Arch Canyon Trail

2. Arch Canyon Trail Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail

The Arch Canyon Trail is another gorgeous trail which is perfect for sightseeing. This trail is 2.4 miles long however, is considered pretty difficult. You can expect when hiking through the canyon that there will be lots of climbing and steep steps to be taken! The travel to the arch however is very much worth it. For people who love to see nature and love birdwatching, this trail is a must!

Length: 2.4 mi
Elevation gain: 1,128 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Fee, No dogs

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #3. Victoria Mine Trail

3. Victoria Mine TrailOrgan Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail

The Victoria Mine trail is a primarily flat, but at some points rocky, hiking trail with lots of rocky terrain and cacti. Although the trail is 5.2 miles long, it’s considered easy for the fact that it’s easy to travel through! If the beautiful views aren’t enough to convince you, this trail has a neat destination! Here you can find what remains of the Victoria Mine, and teach yourself a bit about the history amongst this trail!

Length: 5.2 mi
Elevation gain: 311 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Walking, Fee, No dogs

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #4. Mount Ajo via Bull Pasture to Estes Canyon Loop

4. Mount Ajo via Bull Pasture to Estes Canyon Loop

This trail has mainly remained untouched for the time its existed. It’s also one of the longer and harder ones, spanning at 8.9 miles. So if you’re serious about hiking, its definitely a great try for you! The challenge itself is what makes the trail so entertaining, and the high elevations provide promising views. The plant life is very healthy and one of the most notable details of the trail. Just make sure you’re taking it slow!

Length: 8.9 mi
Elevation gain: 2,667 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Views, Fee

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #5. Desert View Trail

5. Desert View Trail Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Free RV Parking

This trail is especially immersive for its plentiful forestation. This walk through the desert is very peaceful and easy going if you’re looking for a simple but insightful walk. It’s considered to be a very easy trail with very little uphill walking and is only 1.1 miles. From the distant mountain landscapes, to the up close exotic wildflowers and cacti, it definitely won’t be a boring walk, no matter how easy it may be!

Length: 1.1 mi
Elevation gain: 190 ft
Route type: Loop

Kid friendly, Hiking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Rocky, No shade, Fee, No dogs

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #6. Ajo Mountain Drive

6. Ajo Mountain Drive Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Free RV Parking

The Ajo Mountain Drive is a perfect trail for mountain biking. This trail can also be used for scenic driving! Some of the most notable parts of this hiking trail are the cactus fields and the Arch Canyon that you’ll see halfway through your drive. This trail is fairly moderate, spanning about 20 miles, but luckily, its fairly easy to drive your car through! There’s also plenty of resting stops along the way!

Length: 20.4 mi
Elevation gain: 1,312 ft
Route type: Loop

Mountain biking, Scenic driving, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Fee

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #7. Alamo Canyon Trail

7. Alamo Canyon Trail Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Free RV Parking

The Alamo Canyon Trail is another easy trail which spans to be about 2.2 miles long. If you’re into bird watching, or looking to see wildlife and animals, this is a great trail! Different animals have been spotted along the paths, such as jackrabbits, eagles, and wrens! There’s also some abandoned landmarks such as the farmhouse which can be viewed near the end of the trail.

Length: 2.2 mi
Elevation gain: 127 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Camping, Hiking, Fee, No dogs

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #8. Arch Canyon- Boulder Overlook

8. Arch Canyon- Boulder Overlook_files Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Free Camping Spots

 

The Arch Canyon Boulder Overlook is a trail which features many beautiful wildflowers which you might find yourself lucky to catch blooming! This is also another trail which you may find yourself lucky to see wild animals. Such animals can be found like rabbits, eagles, and even snakes. This trail is also another fairly easy travel, spanning at 1.1 miles, with a little bit of elevation as you travel.

Length: 1.1 mi
Elevation gain: 85 ft
Route type: Out & back

Kid friendly, Hiking, Bird watching, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife, Fee, No dogs

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #9. Baker Milton Trail Loop

9. Baker Milton Trail Loop Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Free Camping Spots

The Baker Milton Trail Loop is a hiking trail which is available from October through April. The Sonoran desert And Organ Pipe Cacti are also visible on this trail! While this trail seems quite lengthy at 12.4 miles, its still a fairly easy trail to complete.

Length: 12.4 mi
Elevation gain: 748 ft
Route type: Loop

Hiking, Bird watching, Views, Wildlife, No shade, Fee, No dogs

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Hiking Trail #10. Kino Pass to Kino Peak and Base Mountains

10. Kino Pass to Kino Peak and Base Mountains Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Free Camping Spots

The last trail on this list for the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is perfect if you want a trail that’s great for nature trips. This trail is another fairly easy one, despite its length of 10.6 miles! The trail can be a bit tricky to follow at first, but once you know where you’re going, you can enjoy the beautiful views of the trail at ease. There are plenty of cacti and hills to see, and it is very peaceful, quiet, and solitary.

Length: 10.6 mi
Elevation gain: 813 ft
Route type: Out & back

Hiking, Views, Wildflowers, Wildlife

The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is no doubt a must see if you’re visiting Arizona and are looking for things to do! A history rich National Monument that’s been completely formed by nature and has gone many years without being touched by humans is a sight worth seeing! It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, what you love to do on your travels, or what you’re hoping to be able to do at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument! There will always be something for everyone, and you’re bound to enjoy your stay.

Things to Do and Places to See at the Organ Pipe Cactus Monument

For those that have a great interest in the beauty of nature, there are plenty of activities at this National monument to your disposal! From hiking trails, to scenic driving, camping, and its even great for equestrians to visit! There are also ranger programs if there are any kids you plan on visiting the monument with!

You can trust that Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is camp friendly, as it has a huge variety of campgrounds and campsites with all of the resources you’ll need. Each campground provides you with a unique experience that suits you. There are campsites for those who want to enjoy their stay with the modern world comforts, and those who give you the experience of the wilderness firsthand.

The Twin Peaks campground has both tent and RV sites, and is located to the west side of the Twin Peaks lake. This fairly popular camping site gives you the sense of the wilderness as you camp, surrounded by aspen and lodgepole pine trees within the forest. Drinking water, picnic tables, and restrooms are available to patrons. They also have firewood and you can have your own campfire by your tent! The Continental Divide and Mount Elbert located in the campground is a gorgeous sight. Grilling and alcohol is also permitted at the site for plenty of more fun.

The Alamo campground is a much more reserved campground with only a few tent spaces and a beautiful desert landscape. Unlike the Twins Peak campground, this camping site prohibits campfires and requires campers to bring their own water. The beautiful scenery is what makes it all worth it! This place is one of the easier campgrounds for those who are getting used to camping at campsites, and is very peaceful and quite due to there not being too many tent sites around.

For equestrians, the National Monument provides equestrian trails and resources for horse riders! Horseback is one of the great ways to experience desert trails, and the Organ Pipe National Monument provides plenty of opportunities for that!

Such trails that horses can be brought down are the Campground Perimeter trail, the Victoria Mine trail, the Old County Road trail, the Lost Cabin Mine trail, the Senita Basin Loop, the Milton Mine trail, and the Red Tanks Tinaja trail. Currently, these are all the trails which are available to equestrians, but they’re hoping to open up even more trails in the future!

Along with there being trails to travel through by horse, there are trails that allow you to travel by car! Scenic drives allow travels that are comfortable and easy to move through, all while still immersing you through the wonders of nature and wildlife. It provides a chance to take it easy and drink in all of the scenery, letting the environment all around you take over.

Although not all trails are supportive of mountain biking, there are plenty of chances around the roads to take your bike out for a ride! You still have just as great of a chance of immersing yourself in the nature and wildlife of this monument!

If you’re interested in wildlife, there’s also a good chance that you’ll see many different animals on your travels through the monument as well! When traveling through the hiking trails and the roads, be sure to be on the look out. You can find a range of animals such as snakes, rabbits, tortoises and lizards! For bird watchers, the opportunities to seek out birds to see is just as rich. You have a chance to see birds like eagles or wrens on your travels!

With the little pollution of the sky, the night sky is also something worth seeing when you’re at this Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument! During your camping stays, it’s important to get a good view of the sky at night. Being able to see much more with just the naked eye than you may be able to see in other places, and you can even sleep underneath the stars if you’d like!

If you check with park rangers or any bulletins around the park, you also may find more opportunities to explore the night sky! Rangers give presentations on the constellations, and the park provides chances for telescope viewings, solar viewing programs, and many other opportunities to learn more about the stars and the universe.

If you plan on bringing kids to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, then there’s activities for them too! Give them a chance to both have fun and have education opportunities with the Junior Park Ranger program! In this program, kids are given a hands-on learning course taught by a park ranger for them to complete. Upon completing this course, they’ll earn their Junior Park Ranger badge! This educational experience teaches kids about the responsibilities and importance of maintaining wildlife reservations.


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