South to the Border: A Buckeye Road Trip
Less than 100 miles south of Phoenix’s Buckeye lies Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, featuring the uniquely shaped cacti for which the park is named. Along the way, discover delicious foods and small-town wonders.

Buckeye to Gila Bend: 

Head south for about 35 miles on Arizona Route 85 into Gila Bend. Stay on W Pima Street and, at Dodson Street, make a right into the parking lot of Sofia’s Mexican Food for breakfast burritos done right. (928)-683-6382

Gila Bend to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument:

Continue west on W Pima Street, then make a right to continue traveling south on AZ-85 for 76 miles until you reach the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. Here, find a ranger to discuss trails you want to hike or ride, if you’ve decided to trailer your horses. Options range between easy and hard and one mile to many, so there’s likely to be something for everyone involved. Of course, just partaking in the scenic drives through the park can provide a beautiful view of the desert, too. Also, between January and March, check the schedule of ranger programs to learn about the history of the ancient people who used to occupy the land here or to hear a special presentation from the modern-day border patrol officers in the area.

OPC National Monument to Ajo:

Point yourselves northward out of the park for a quick 30-mile return up AZ-85 to Ajo—a once-booming, nearly-gone-bust, recovered-by-its-bootstraps town. Though considered the birthplace of Arizona’s copper mining industry, the mine shut down in 1986, which nearly shuttered the town, as well. In the wake of the change, Ajo residents decided to diversify the town’s offerings and have revitalized its 1917 Spanish Colonial town square, where festivals are held throughout the year. Since you’ll probably be needing to refill the tank by this point, consider the Agave Grill on the corner of West Solano and North Second avenues for a hardy refill like the Power Outage burger with habanero relish, bacon, cheese and jalapenos.

Ajo to Buckeye:

Turn the car north for an easy hour-and-15-minute ride back to Buckeye. 

Riding In 

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

(520) 387-6849,

• Ride on designated equestrian trails

• Horses must have been fed weed-free hay for one week prior to and during visit

• Do not tie horses to trees, cacti, vegetation or historic structures

• Five-horse limit per group

• 48-hour riding ban following soaking rains

Ajo Events

(520) 387-7742

­—2nd Saturdays (Monthly)

• November:

—Copper Days &
Great Western Street Fair

• January:

—Annual Piñata Contest

• February:

—Sonoran Shindig

—Annual Fiddler’s Contest

• March:

—Annual O’odham Celebration 

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