South of Phoenix in south-central Arizona, Sonoran Desert National Monument comprises mountain ranges, wide valleys and several saguaro cactus forests on 486,000 acres. The functioning desert ecosystem is a habitat for an array of wildlife, including desert bighorn sheep, mule deer, bobcats, desert tortoises, raptors, owls and bats.
It is believed that ancestors of the O'odham, Quechan, Cocopah and other tribes occupied villages in the area, which contains archeological and historical sites. Among the highlights for hikers are remnants of historic trails used by Juan Bautista de Anza, the Mormons and the Overland Stage, which can be found along a well-worn 20-mile corridor. For further information contact the Bureau of Land Management, Phoenix District, 21605 N. 7th Ave., Phoenix, AZ 85027; phone (623) 580-5500.