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Arch Canyon - Organ Pipe NM, AZ

Guide 29 Triplogs  2 Topics
  3.9 of 5 
292 29 2
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,675 feet
Elevation Gain 941 feet
Accumulated Gain 1,210 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 8.65
Backpack TBD
Dogs not allowed
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24  2019-12-04
Pinkley Peak and Arch Canyon
12  2018-12-02 Yoder
8  2017-12-23 Nightstalker
22  2017-02-11 Steph_and_Blake
4  2016-11-26 JuanJaimeiii
5  2016-11-26 Tortoise_Hiker
14  2016-04-02 trekkin_gecko
18  2016-04-02 rwstorm
Page 1,  2,  3
Author landsinaz
author avatar Guides 4
Routes 0
Photos 0
Trips 31 map ( 194 miles )
Age 52 Female Gender
Location Apache Junction, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Mar, Apr, Dec → 10 AM
Seasons   Spring to Autumn
Sun  5:42am - 7:32pm
Official Route
2 Alternative

Siphon Draw with an arch
by landsinaz

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This hike starts at the Arch Canyon pull out on the 27-mile driving loop of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. A sign at the trailhead says the trail is 0.75 miles and leads to a view of the arch. It also says that you cannot get to the arch from this trail. Wrong! We followed this trail, and where it looks like it dead ends, it wraps around a rock. From there, the trail is narrow but easy to follow as it is very well marked with rock cairns.

Approximately 1.25 miles in, there is a sign warning of steep inclines and loose footing. This is true, but it is no worse than Siphon Draw in the Superstitions. There are fantastic views of volcanic rock formations all along this trail, as well as lots of Organ Pipe Catus and agaves. We startled a Western Screech Owl out of a small pinon as we neared the top... but back to the trail.

This trail has lots of small switchbacks and shade as you reach the top. You come out up above the arch, and as you look back into the wash you've come up, you'll see it down to your right. This is an enormous arch, 700 something feet long and 36 feet high. It's the perfect place to have lunch and look out at some gorgeous desert vistas. The trail is rarely used, so it is an excellent way to avoid crowds.

Besides offering truly breathtaking views from the top, this hike shows you the variety of vegetation to be found in the desert. Starting at the lower elevations with creosote and bursage and ending up in the higher ones with agave, rosewood, and small junipers. The vegetation throughout this valley is very lush.

I am guessing at the actual mileage on this trail. Some of the ascents were so vertical that the GPS didn't track very well.

There is another trail on this loop, the Estes Canyon-Bull Pasture loop. This is another strenuous climb to a high plateau where ranchers used to keep cattle in winter. This one is 4.1 miles and looks like it has excellent views, but it also had all the people.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2002-01-17 landsinaz
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
    $8 fee per car for a 7 day pass. Backpacking and backcountry camping is not allowed at this time due to an increase in illegal border activity.. Camping is available in the two designated campgrounds only.

    Map Drive
    FR / Dirt Road / Gravel - Car Okay

    To hike
    Organ Pipe Catus National Monument is on Highway 85, south of Ajo. This trail is off the shorter of two driving loops in the Monument, Ajo Mountain Drive. Maps and information are available at the Visitor Center, open 8 AM to 5 PM.
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
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