AAA Editor Notes
Pinacate Biosphere Reserve is part of northwestern Mexico's Gran Desierto; the information center is about 52 km (32 mi.) s. of Lukeville, Ariz., just off Mex. 8 at Km marker 52. This trackless, otherworldly region was created over time by subterranean pools of molten rock that exploded up through the desert floor and then cooled, leaving behind a wasteland of towering sand dunes, lava tubes, cinder cones and dormant volcanic craters.

The area was designated as a biosphere reserve in 1993 to preserve both its volcanic rock formations and such endemic species as the desert octopus (which lives in the Sonoyta River), the flat-tail chameleon and the Gila monster. From the top of El Pinacate, a hill about 3,960 feet above sea level, there are panoramic views of the Baja California Peninsula.

Note: Day visitors must pay admission at the visitor center before hiking or driving into the reserve. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended. There are no facilities; bring plenty of water, a hat and sun protection and wear comfortable hiking shoes. Camping is permitted at two designated locations (a permit is required). The best time to visit is January through April.

Reserve access 56 pesos (about $3 U.S.) per person.
Reserve and visitor center daily 9-5.
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