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Sonoran Desert National Monument
Sonoran Desert National Monument


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The saguaro cactus is the iconic symbol of the Sonoran Desert and the monument is a place to see extensive forests of the classic cactus. But the monument has more to offer, including distinctive mountains rising from the desert floor. It has 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. Visitors may hike or ride horseback almost everywhere in the monument. Four designated trails in three congressionally designated wilderness areas total 26 miles. Many miles of roads are available for mountain biking and motorized vehicle tours. The monument has significant archaeological and historic sites, and remnants of several important historic trails, including the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail. This congressionally designated trail parallels the Butterfield Overland Stage Route, the Mormon Battalion Trail, and the Gila Trail. Be aware that the southern part of the monument is a corridor for drug and human smugglers. Be alert for illegal activities and law enforcement operations.   

Portion of Sonoran Desert National Monument Closed to Recreational Target Shooting

 The U.S. District Court in Arizona has ordered the BLM to temporarily close 2.1 percent -- 10,600 acres -- of the Sonoran Desert National Monument to recreational target shooting. During the closure, the BLM will conduct a court-ordered analysis of the impacts of such shooting on the Monument. Licensed hunting continues to be allowed; all state regulations apply. Approximately 95 percent of the 12.2 million acres of public land managed by BLM in Arizona remain open to recreational target shooting.

 The BLM is committed to meeting the management challenges surrounding recreational target shooting on public lands, including determining where and how this activity can be conducted responsibly. We will continue to engage public and private stakeholders in discussions of collaborative options and acceptable solutions.




Monument Information

  • Proclamation
  • Created: January 17, 2001
  • Size: 486,400 acres of public land

Recreation Opportunities

Know Before You Go

About the Monument
Research and Education


Bureau of Land Management
Sonoran Desert National Monument
21605 N. 7th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85027-2929
Phone: (623) 580-5500
Fax: (623) 580-5580