Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Part 2: Alamo Canyon Trail, Desert View Trail, Victoria Mine Trail, and Palo Verde Trail
I hiked quite a few trails while at Organ Pipe but although they were for the most part spectacular, many of the landscapes appeared similar. So in the interests of not showing you a hundred pictures of desert that would probably look the same, I combined four other hikes into one post and attempted to limit the pictures to unique features or landscapes. One trail, the Red Tanks Tinaja Trail, was fairly disappointing and did not merit any pictures at all.
Alamo Canyon Trail is 2+ mile hike into the canyon, terminating at an old ranch house and corral which was active until the 1960s. The ranch itself wasn’t really noteworthy but the surrounding Puerto Blanco mountain range was beautiful. This trail also features many Organ Pipe Cactus, one of which was the biggest one I saw while at the park.
A short 1.2 mile loop up a hill, the Desert View Trail was a favorite for it’s views of the sun setting behind the mountains. The trail offers fantastic views from the ridgeline of much of the surrounding alluvial basin as well as the Ajo Mountains to the east.
Both the Victoria Mine Trail and the Palo Verde Trail leave from the campground and cross the lowland basin. The former is a 5+ mile walk towards the Puerto Blanco Range and terminates at the old gold and silver mine; it is a largely an uneventful – though not unpleasant – walk previous to that. The Palo Verde Trail is a 2.6 mile walk in the direction of the visitor center and provides a (scenic) opportunity to stretch your legs in the morning or late evening. The trail offers an excellent sampling of the fauna that inhabit the national monument though I later discovered that more beautiful and/or unique examples of many of the same species could be seen on other trails. Still, I walked it twice.