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Organ Pipe Cactus

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Rochester, MN
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Organ Pipe Cactus

I have heard that Organ Pipe Cactus monument is fascinating to see, but rather out of the way to get to it (from Tucson as a base). Is it safe to visit, given its proximity to the border and "activities" that may occur there? Out of the way is not an issue for us, but safety is utmost, and I wont take the family on a day trip if there is an issue in that area.

What would be the safest route to access the park?

Uden, The...
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1. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

Hi

We had no issues visiting Organ Pipe Cactus NM. Just take 86 to Why and 85 to the park. There's a borderpatrol check point but you'll only be stopped on the way back on 85.

It still will be close to a 3 hours drive to the park and 3 hours back so this will make a long daytrip. The loops in the park are gravel roads. Shortest loop app 20 + miles.

Tet

Moab, Utah
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2. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

We were there last month. CBP vehicles outnumbered regular cars about 3 to 1 (off season) so it was hard to feel unsafe. We did see CBP in action pulling someone from the scrub, handcuffing them and loading them into the truck, just like in the movies, but still did not feel unsafe.

We stayed overnight at Ajo, after arriving via Gila Bend, visited the park for the afternoon and traveled to Tucson on 86 the next day. A 3 hour visit was enough to drive the 21 mile loop of the Ajo Mountain Drive but not hike at all and then North Puerto Blanco Drive (out and back ~10 miles). Puerto Blanco was disappointing and he time would have been better spent hiking at least Arch Canyon. Some of the best cacti we saw were actually on route 85 through the park.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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3. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

You have to remember that for every border agent vehicle you see, there are two or three that are "spotting" the area and in constant contact with the ones you will see. They will know where you are and who you are at all times. It doesn't get much more safe on the desert. Even if your car broke down, they would be there in minutes to help you.

NoelO, where did you stay in Ajo and did you find it acceptable? Also, did you eat there? Where and how was it?

Marina, California
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4. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

I don't know that I'd call Organ Pipe NM "fascinating." It's the only place in the country where you'll see those cacti naturally growing, and it has some great open desert landscape but, if you're coming from Tucson or Phoenix, I've never thought that it, alone, was worth the trip. It's just a very long drive. When I've been, I've done it as either a day trip to see the wildflowers, or as part of a larger trip driving west. If you just want to see the cactus though, they have them at the Desert Museum in Tucson and at the Botanical Gardens in Phoenix.

Moab, Utah
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5. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

In Ajo we stayed at the Guest House Inn. Nice enough. An old house built in the 1920's to house mining company officials it is still in good condition. Friendly owner and cheap, $80 for 3 people with a cooked breakfast.

Eating was not so good. We ate at 100 Estrella and we could have chosen better. Our expectations weren't high but the food was still disappointing, kind of just cafeteria style. Service was friendly and prompt.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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6. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

Next time try the Mexican food at the hole in the wall at the north end of town. Excellent stuff for really cheap.

Rochester, MN
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7. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

I guess our main reasoning for visiting would be the uniqueness of the monument. If you feel we could see the same types of things at other places then we would consider bypassing.

Uden, The...
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8. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

It's the best place for seeing Saguaros and Organ Pipes in one place imo.

tucson az
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9. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

I would have to agree with Colin. Considering the driving time involved, the remoteness, I can't see a day trip to Organ Pipe as a worthwhile venture.

USA
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10. Re: Organ Pipe Cactus

We visited Organ Pipe a few years ago and really enjoyed it. We stay in Tucson and each year and try to pick a different National Park or such that is out of the way for one good day trip. Coming from the East Coast, we enjoy the driving out west and didn't mind the drive there or back. While in the park we did the loop and few small hikes. It's really good to get out to remote areas and explore. We left Tucson around 5:00 am and that gave us a good jump on the day, had a cooler packed with water, food, etc. If you have enough time in Tucson to see what you'd like, then go ahead and explore a bit.