Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: Last Part: About the Place!

I stayed 3 nights at the Twin Peaks Campground to discover how organized I was within my new van set-up and to visit this, new to me, national monument. The campground is within a small area of the national monument land and nicely organized with trees and cacti between every camping site. There are RV sites for generator use within specific hours and others for non-generator use along with tent camping sites. My site was inexpensive, thanks to my National Senior Pass. Restrooms were unbelievably clean. Water spigots and trash containers were easy to find and solar showers were available. Everyone was quiet by 8pm!

Ajo Mountain Drive is a must do. The visitor guide recommends needing 50 minutes, but that must be if you never stop to sightsee or hike a trail. You’ll see plenty of organ pipe cacti. Definitely pick up the guide so you can read the information at the posts as it is one of the best informative guides I have ever read. There are a couple of places to hike. I hiked the maintained section of the Arch Canyon Trail; beyond it are numerous cairns and an area not maintained by park service, so hiking there is truly at your own risk. The best view of the 2 arches was actually from the parking lot! I did meet a person who came here to hike this trail and visit the park as a day trip from Green Valley, AZ (2.25 hours away)! Everyone else seems to be here camping for a couple of nights so they can see most of the national monument’s land and many are also snowbirds hanging out in the sunshine at an inexpensive campground.

Throughout the national monument you’ll see signs reminding you illegal activity may happen being so close to the border. I also saw some blue flags indicating where water barrels are located. 

I attended a ranger talk at the visitor center which has an exhibit and 15 minute video loop to view. The ranger talk was about the night sky. The stars are amazing here and can be enjoyed if you are warmly bundled up for late night or early morning viewing of the stars and planets. He mentioned when the International Space Station would be passing over us at the campground for 5 minutes… 5:21AM…hmmm…..

People with high-clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicles have another option in driving a 41 mile loop in the national monument. Unfortunately I could only drive part of the Puerto Blanco Drive more appropriate for medium-clearance vehicles. The rangers always remind people if you get stuck no one comes to get you!

The national monument is on the road to Mexico, since Rocky Point is a popular spot. So unless you make a plan to visit this national monument you are flying by and it is easy to miss. On a Friday afternoon, 2pm, the international border is a mile away and traffic was backed up to this point! As I was returning to the campground there were 50 more cars on their way to the border. 

Like plants? You’ll see jojoba, creosote, brittle bush, and many more when the July/August rains or winter/spring rains come. Birds at Quitobaquito Springs, an oasis in the desert, was the best place for birding. (As I write this info, I have the screen door on the van open since I have no insects to worry about and in hopped a cactus wren! Took a look around and hopped right out!)

Finally, since this was a multiple night stay in my “GT” (glorified tent) van … maybe I should call it something else instead of “GT”. Anyway …  overall, the van worked out fine. I could use a comfortable chair in the van to work at my computer there when it is cold. My mattress was comfortable. Nights were cold, but this thin-blooded Arizonian had flannel sheets, fleece blanket, fiberfill blanket and winter sleeping bag if needed, then “snug as a bug in a rug”! Clouds were moving in during the night so more dampness than I am used to, but all was well. No sliding drawers dropped off. Yeti coolers held up in the 75-80 degree heat. I have been drinking water so as not to be dehydrated, but that brings the challenges at night… thank goodness for a pee bottle!

If you are following me on Facebook through my other website, thank you. But please know I would suggest you subscribe and follow me from my blog: It is there I will keep my travel blog, not through my website onto Facebook these upcoming months, especially as I travel to the east coast to bird-watch, bicycle ride, and visit with friends and family. 

Till another time … I hope you connect with me at

Leave a Reply