Thursday, March 4, 2010

Organ Pipe National Monument, Ajo, Arizona

We have left rain and emerging wildflowers of coastal California for the Sonoran Desert of Arizona and Mexico.

Organ Pipe National Monument was one of the most dangerous places in America just a few short years ago.  A National Park Service Ranger was killed by illegals using this as a route into the United States.

Now you will encounter Border Patrol checkpoints a 50 miles north of the Mexican border.  Every fourth vehicle is a Border Patrol rig.  The hillsides have towers and vehicles draped in camo to "maintain the scenic quality" of National Park Service Managed land.

We are not sure how dangerous this stretch of country is these days.  Probably a call to the Border Patrol or the National Park Service can give you a better idea.

It is however, a very special part of this country.  There are lots of reasons to visit this corner of America.

Organ Pipe National Monument is your typical National Park Service operation.  But what first caught our eye was a free boondocking spot just south of Why, Arizona on BLM land.

The site has plenty of room for large rigs and was complete with a campground host!!  Google Earth the following coordinates:  32 degrees 14 minutes 55.38 seconds NORTH and 112 degrees 44 minutes 47.36 seconds WEST.  The site is on the west side of the highway just south of Why, Arizona.  The following sign:

The sign gives you a graphic understanding about the difference in funding by the Federal Government for the Park Service versus the BLM.  The good news is the BLM site is free and your dog can go off-leash!!  Freedom might not be free, except maybe on BLM lands.  The BLM 14 day stay limit applies.  There were plenty of folks camping in the area when we visited.

The campground at Organ Pipes National Monument also has a 14 day stay limit.  It is, however, 12 dollars a night.  Half-price with the age or disability discount passes.  All camping spot had the concrete spurs.   Pull throughs could accomodate large rigs.  It is one of the best designs I have seen that incorporate RV vehicles.  Though I did wonder about making the turn from the spur on to the access road!  Maximum trailer size is 40 feet for both fifth wheels and motorhomes without the tow vehicle.

So in this part of the country you have a choice between free camping on BLM or those fancy spots provided by the National Park Service. 

Lots of country to explore in this neck of the woods.  See the National Park Service site for additional information:

This area is also on a direct route in Mexico.  More on this in our next posting!  Ah, Mexico sun, sand, beach, beer and shrimp.

1 comment:

Loree said...

There are also a lot of very nice sites off Darby Wells Road just south of Ajo, AZ for boondocking.