The best time to visit is October to April; plan ahead and take plenty of drinking water and gasoline. Activities include hiking, dispersed camping, hunting, horseback riding, wildlife and wildflower viewing and back-country vehicle travel. Vehicle use off-road is prohibited. Wilderness areas are closed to all vehicles and foot and horse travel is allowed in all areas. The removal of, or damage to resources (artifacts, plants, rocks) is prohibited. Be aware of federal law enforcement activities related to illegal border-crossing and smuggling activities south of I-8.
Permits are not required for general recreation use. A free permit, available from BLM, is required to enter the Sand Tank Mountains, formerly known as Area A. Recreation use by commercial and organized groups (over 25 people) requires a special recreation permit.
Interested in hiking the Sonoran Desert National Monument? Contact the Friends of the Sonoran Desert; the organization frequently hosts group hikes in the area. Visit: http://www.sonorandesertfriends.org
This national monument contains 487,000 acres of Sonoran Desert landscape. The Sonoran Desert is the most biologically diverse of the North American deserts and the monument exemplifies this setting. The most striking aspect of the plant community is the saguaro cactus forest. The area also contains three distinct mountain ranges: the Maricopa, Sand Tank and Table Top Mountains, which are separated by wide valleys. Three congressionally designated wildernesses and remnants of several historic trails, including the Anza National Historic Trail, are within the monument.