Sonoran Desert National Monument


The Sonoran Desert National Monument contains magnificent examples of untrammeled Sonoran Desert landscape. The monument sits in the most biologically diverse of the North American deserts and captures a significant portion of that diversity. The most striking aspect of the plant community in 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, archaeological and historic sites, and remnants of several important historic trails.

Getting Around

Interstate 8 and State Route 238 cross the monument. Most other roads are primitive and not maintained. High clearance or four-wheel-drive vehicles are recommended in some areas.

The area north of SR-238 and south of the North Maricopa Mountains Wilderness is closed to vehicle entry without written permission. You may request a letter of agreement to access these areas by contacting the Lower Sonoran Field Office. Roads 8002b, 8002c and 8002 from SR-238 to road 8003 are closed to all entry due to construction. 

Things to Do

Visit the National Conservation Lands page for more information.

  • hiking and horseback riding

  • camping

  • driving and biking

  • wildlife viewing

  • history and archaeology

Regulations, Permits, and Fees

Visits to the Sand Tank Mountains, located south of Interstate 8, require a Barry M. Goldwater Range permit. Permits are only available online and not at the local BLM office.

Competitive events and organized activities with 25 or more participants require a permit. Contact the monument office for more information.

Motorized and mechanized vehicles, including bicycles must remain on existing routes. 

Collecting, removing, or damaging natural and cultural resources, including artifacts, plants (live or dead), and rocks, is prohibited. 

Your Safety

This is a remote area and access roads are not maintained. Cell phones do not work in many areas of the monument.

Heat and Sun

It's best to enjoy the monument from late October to mid-April. If you are visiting in summer, take extra precautions to drink plenty of water, as temperatures may exceed 110 degrees Fahrenheit. We recommend sunscreen, sunglasses and a hat. Weather forecast


Bring all the water you will need. There is no drinking water available on the monument. Plan on drinking one gallon (4 liters) per person per day—more if you're engaged in strenuous activities.

Your vehicle

Make sure your gas tank is full, carry additional water and full-size spare tires in your vehicle, and make sure your vehicle is in good working condition.

Flash floods

Flash floods caused by sudden storms can be dangerous in washes.

Border Concerns

Drug and human smuggling activities have occurred within the monument south of Interstate 8. Be alert for illegal activities and law enforcement operations. If you see any activity that looks illegal, suspicious, or out of place, do not intervene. Call 911 to report emergencies.

Accessibility Description (ABA/ADA)

Toilets are accessible. There are no other accessible facilities in the monument.

Adventure is at Your Fingertips

Flickr Album

Sonoran Desert National Monument



2020 E. Bell Rd.

Geographic Coordinates

32.8487, -112.29668


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.