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A hike along the hills that provides information regarding the plants and animals found in the monument.

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1,860' 567 m


1,698' 518 m


194' 59 m


188' 57 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (11°)

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Features Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Sometimes the roads are closed due to flooding or for other reasons. Check the park website or the visitor center for the latest road updates.


The Desert View Trail is a 1.2 mile round-trip nature hike that provides sweeping views of the Ajo Range in the distance and information on the Sonoran Desert that surrounds you. To get to the trailhead, drive down Twin Peaks Road and pass the campground entrance. Stay to the right as you make your way toward the group campground area, where there should be ample parking. The trail departs from the information sign near the restrooms. The trail drops briefly as it crosses a wash, and then begins climbing up the adjoining hills. As you make your way uphill, pay attention to the information placards that sit on either side of the trail. They provide information on the plants and animals that you'll encounter as you spend time in the monument and the Sonoran Desert in general.

While the placards allow you to identify the plants, they also provide historical context for the plants. For instance, the needles of the saguaro cactus were used as sewing needles while the pads of the prickly pear cactus were used for heating pads to help joints afflicted with arthritis and rheumatism by the Indians who lived in the area.

The trail is singletrack and rocky at this point as it climbs up the hillside. At points, logs form steps to help with erosion and easier ascent of the hills. At roughly 0.3 miles, the trail levels off and you can enjoy the views of the surrounding mountains. You can see the Ajo Mountains off to the east, Twin Peaks to the north, the Puerto Blanco and Sonoyta Mountains to the west, and the Cubabi Mountains in Mexico to the south. There is a bench up here, where you can take a break and get some water. The trail winds along to the top of the hill for a short distance, and then at 0.5 miles, the trail really begins to descend as it approaches the wash that you crossed earlier.

After crossing the wash, the trail climbs slightly up another hill as it parallels the wash as you head south toward your car. Just after a mile, the trail cuts to the right and makes its way downhill toward the parking lot where you began. By the end of the hike, you should know a little bit more about the plants that make up the Sonoran Desert. From here, you can drive or hike to other trails in the area to continue exploring the desert landscape and the hidden treasures found in it.

Flora & Fauna

This trail highlights the vegetation that can be found in the Sonoran Desert. Organ pipe, prickly pear, compass barrel, and saguaro cacti can be seen, as well as chain fruit and teddy bear cholla. You can see ocotillo, ironwood trees, brittlebush, white ratany, and other plants along the trail. Coyotes, snakes, and red tail hawks might be seen as you meander through their habitat.


Shared By:

David Hitchcock

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  3.5 from 2 votes
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in Arizona


6 Views Last Month
438 Since Dec 26, 2017



You can get up and close with Organ pipe cacti along the trail.
Jan 7, 2018 near Sonoyta, MX
As you reach the top of the hill, views of the surrounding mountains spread out before you.   Here you can see the Cubabi Mountains in Mexico to the South.
Jan 7, 2018 near Sonoyta, MX
The hills are covered in cacti and other plants commonly found in the desert.  All have attributes that allow them to survive in these harsh conditions.
Jan 7, 2018 near Sonoyta, MX
Saguaro cacti grow along the trail, towering above you.
Jan 7, 2018 near Sonoyta, MX
The trail lets you see what a cactus looks like at the end of its life.  Here, you can see what a cactus looks like on the inside as this one has died.  The wood was used for shelter or tools by Indians.
Jan 7, 2018 near Sonoyta, MX
The Twin Peaks can be seen as you look to the North.
Jan 7, 2018 near Sonoyta, MX



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Nov 13, 2020
Andrii Khmelkov
Dec 14, 2019
David Fulmer
Nov 30, 2019
Bear Rinehart
Aug 18, 2018
Brenda and I first trail