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Ajo Mountain Loop

Easy
 4.5 (4) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A solitary dirt road loop takes you to the foot of the Ajo Range through remote Sonoran desert.


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Map Key

21.1

Miles

33.9

KM

0%

Singletrack

2,623' 799 m

High

1,667' 508 m

Low

1,143' 348 m

Up

1,143' 348 m

Down

2%

Avg Grade (1°)

10%

Max Grade (6°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Unknown

Overview

This is the main driving loop through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, but chances are you won't see many other people. You'll see plenty of cacti, including saguaros, organ pipe, ocotillo, cholla, and prickly pear.

Most of the loop is gravel with the exception of a few especially steep sections along the climb which have been asphalted.

Need to Know

There are covered verandas at stops at roughly 6 and 11 miles into the loop—this is the only shade to speak of on the loop. Bring plenty of water and wear sunscreen.

Description

The route makes a lollipop loop from the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. There are 18 numbered stops that explain various floura and fauna of the desert, history, geology, etc if you get the accompanying brochure from the visitor center.

Cross the busy highway AZ85 to the dirt road opposite the visitor center. After 2.5 miles, you'll come to an intersection. Cars must do the route clockwise, bikes might get away being rebellious and going counterclockwise. After the intersection, you begin an increasingly steep 1000 ft climb over about 7 miles to the high point.

Stop 5 (about halfway up, but right before the big climb) is nice because it overlooks a wash and because it has a covered veranda. Stop 6 is also nice because it offers a nice view back across the lowlands. After that, the steepest climb begins, but when you crest the hill, the Ajo Range in all its majesty opens in front of you.

As you near the top of the climb around mile 10, a natural arch is visible off in the distance. The Arch Trail (hiking only) runs up the valley and then climbs steeply up to the arch.

The Arch trailhead is also the signal that the climbing is done. The next big milestone is the veranda at around mile 11. This is also the trailhead for the Estes Canyon and Bull Pasture hiking trails.

After that, it's a gentle, quiet spin downhill back to the visitor center.

Contacts

Shared By:

Lost Justpastnowhere

Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 4 votes

#1805

Overall
  4.5 from 4 votes
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Recommended Route Rankings

#31

in Arizona

#1,805

Overall
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424 Since May 19, 2019
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Photos

A few short asphalted sections make the climbs easier
Jun 2, 2019 near Ajo, AZ
A thunderstorm rumbles across the desert
Jun 2, 2019 near Sonoyta, MX
Organ Pipe Cacti and the Ajo Mountain Range
Jun 2, 2019 near Ajo, AZ
An easy gravel road leads up into the Ajo Mountain Range
Jun 2, 2019 near Sonoyta, MX

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Check-Ins

Feb 18, 2021
Ken Steele
Dec 27, 2020
h reeves
May 12, 2019
Lost Justpastnowhere