- 1 Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (From I-8 at Gila Bend, go south on AZ 85), ☏ . A national monument and biosphere reserve of the Sonoran Desert. Auto tour, hiking, camping, horse-back riding, birding, wildflower viewing, photography, star gazing.
- 2 Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge, ☏ . Visitor Center: M-F 8AM-4PM; Lands, roads and trails: always open. Wildlife refuge and habitat of the Sonoran Desert. Auto tour, hiking, backpacking, camping, biking, birding, wildflower viewing, hunting, photography, star gazing. Free, but permits are required.
- 3 Cibola National Wildlife Refuge, ☏ . Vistor Center: Nov-Mar: daily 8AM-4:30PM; Lands, roads and trails: daily from sunrise to sunset. Established to protect and rcreate the marshes and backwaters that historically provided wintering grounds for waterfowl and other wildlife along the Colorado River. Auto tour, boating, hiking, birding, fishing, horseback riding, photography. Free.
- 4 Imperial National Wildlife Refuge (Along US 95, north of Yuma, south of Quartzsite; between mile markers 46 and 47, turn west onto Martinez Lake Rd, continue for 10 mi (16 km), turn north onto Red Could Mine Rd, continue 3 mi (4.8 km) miles to visitor center and refuge), ☏ . Vistor Center: Nov-Mar: M-F 8AM-4:30PM, Sa/Su 8AM-4PM; Apr-Oct: M-F call ahead; Lands, roads and trails: daily, dawn to dusk. (in Arizona and California) A wetland in the middle of the desert, a wildlife refuge of 30 mi (48 km) along the lower Colorado River. Boating, hiking, birding, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, photography. Free.
- 5 Kofa National Wildlife Refuge (Along US 95, north of Yuma, south of Quartzsite; major entrances at Crystal Hill, Palm Canyon, King Valley, or the Castle Dome), ☏ . Visitor Center: M-F 8AM-4:30PM; Lands, roads and trails: open daily, year-round w/ some temporary closures due to military range testing. Wildlife refuge and habitate of the Kofa Mountains. Hiking, backpacking, camping, biking, horseback riding, birding, hunting, photography. Free.
- 6 Picacho State Recreation Area, ☏ . (in California) On the site of a defunct gold mining town, a general recreation area on a 9 mi (14 km) stretch of the lower Colorado River. Camping, boating.
- Interstate 8 (I-8) is a regional east-west route starting south of Greater Phoenix, west through the region through Yuma, into California and on towards San Diego.
- Interstate 10 (1-10) is a major, cross-continental east-west route entering Arizona from New Mexico, west through Tucson and southern Arizona, northwest to Phoenix, then west through the region, to California and on towards Palm Springs and San Diego.
- U.S. Route 60 (US 60) is a major east-west route entering Arizona from New Mexico, west through Globe and Phoenix (known as the Superstition Freeway), then from Phoenix northwest to Wickenburg (known as the Phoenix-Wickenburg Highway), where the route bends southwest, intersecting and terminating at I-10 east of Quartzsite.
- U.S. Route 93 (US 93) is a major north-south route which gets a lot of Phoenix-Vegas traffic; US 93 starts in Wickenburg, runs through Wikieup and Kingman, then on towards Hoover Dam, Las Vegas and on wards into Nevada.
As there is no public transportation, a car is essential. A four-wheel drive is recommended if you want to get off the beaten track.
As elsewhere in the region, precautions should be taken to guard against heatstroke and dehydration which can come about very rapidly – always take more water than you think you will need. Heat exhaustion can occur very quickly, with symptoms including dizziness, rapid breathing, heavy sweating, and muscle spasms.
The most commonly encountered wildlife is rattlesnakes, which are active from spring through fall, and tend to hide in brush or in crevices during the heat of the day. The best way to avoid bites is to never place your hands or feet where you haven't looked first. Wear boots or sturdy shoes for outdoor activity. If you are bitten, seek medical attention immediately.
Also commonly encountered are javelinas (peccaries), pig-like mammals which travel in herds. While they generally avoid people, they are very near-sighted and protective of their young, and will attack if they feel at all threatened. Make as much noise as possible so that they are not surprised and panic.
For more information, see: Arizona : Stay Safe > Deserts
Arizona / Mexico border
The region is on the U.S.-Mexico border. Due to the remoteness of the area, it is used for illegal border crossings.
For more information, see: Arizona: Stay Safe > Arizona / Mexico border
- North to Northern Arizona —
- South to Northern Mexico — for more of the Sonoran Desert, stretching to the sea in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora (also known as Rocky Point).
- East to Greater Phoenix and South Central Arizona — maybe you're done with the desert and want the city again, with Phoenix or Tucson.
- West to California Desert — for the Colorado Desert and towards the Pacific Ocean in San Diego.