Sonoran Desert National Monument
Bureau of Land Management, Arizona.
The Sonoran Desert National Monument contains magnificent examples of untrammeled Sonoran Desert landscape. The national monument is the most biologically diverse of the North American deserts, and the monument captures a significant portion of that diversity. The most striking aspect of the plant community within the monument is the extensive saguaro cactus forest. The monument contains three distinct mountain ranges, the Maricopa, Sand Tank and Table Top
Mountains, as well as the Booth and White Hills, all separated by wide valleys. The monument also contains three Congressionally designated wilderness areas and many significant archaeological and historic sites, and remnants of several important historic trails.
Visits to the Sand Tank Mountains, located south of Interstate 8, require a Barry M Goldwater Range permit. The permit is free, but you must register online and watch a safety video. Permits are valid for one year, from July 1 through June 30 of the following year. Learn more about Barry M Goldwater Range permits.
Know Before You Go
- Motorized and mechanized vehicles, including bicycles must remain on existing routes.
- Drinking water is not available, so you should bring plenty of your own water. Vehicles should be in good working order, have a full tank of gas and full-size spare tires. The main access routes and washes are prone to heavy seasonal rains and flash floods.
- Cellular phones do not work in many areas of the national monument.
- Historic & Cultural Site
- Horseback Riding
- Off Highway Vehicle
- Wildlife Viewing
The Sonoran Desert National Monument is in south central Arizona, 60 miles from Phoenix.
Interstate 8 provides some access at the Vekol interchange (Exit 144) and the Freeman Interchange (Exit 140). Arizona Route 238 and the Maricopa Road afford access to the North Maricopa Mountains and the Butterfield Overland Stage Route.