Getting Here

Directions

From Phoenix to the western side of the national monument, take I-10 west about 31 miles to Exit 112/AZ-85, then south about 35 miles to the eastern edge of Gila Bend, AZ. Turn left on AZ-238 and proceed east about four miles to the national monument. In Gila Bend information can be obtained at the Town Museum on 644 W. Pima Street.

From Phoenix to the eastern national monument boundary, take I-10 east and south about 16 miles to Exit 164/Queen Creek Road, turn right and continue on AZ-347 about 15 miles to Maricopa, AZ. Turn right onto AZ-238 and continue west about 16 miles to the national monument.

From Phoenix to the southern part of the national monument, take I-10 south to I-8. Proceed west on I-8 to Exit 144/Vekol Road and turn south. For information about other access routes, contact BLM.

Download a Map of the Sonoran Dessert National Monument

Permits, Fees, Limitations

The Sand Tank Mountains, located south of Interstate 8, requires an access permit. Call the BLM Lower Sonoran Field Office for information on acquiring a permit. Motorized and mechanized vehicles, including bicycles must remain on existing routes and are not permitted in the wilderness areas. Collection, removal, or damage to natural and cultural resources, including artifacts, plants (live or dead), and rocks, is prohibited. Winter is the most popular time to visit, because summer temperatures can be extremely hot. The desert sun stirs up rattlesnakes and other reptiles as early as February. Summer is rough on visitors. Visitors need to drink plenty of water. Flash floods caused by sudden storms can be dangerous in washes, so it is best to have a survival plan to prevent emergency situations.

Accessibility

Restrooms are wheelchair accessible. No other accessible facilities are present in the monument.

Camping and Lodging

The national monument has no developed camping facilities. BLM’s Painted Rock Campground is located approximately 26 miles west of Gila Bend, AZ. Lodging is available in Casa Grande and Gila Bend, approximately 25 miles west of the Vekol Road interchange on Interstate 8.

Food and Supplies

There are no services on the national monument. Stores and gas stations are available in nearby Gila Bend, AZ, approximately 25 miles west of the Vekol Road interchange on Interstate 8.

First Aid

There is no first aid station on-site. The nearest hospitals located in Casa Grande, AZ, approximately 30 miles east of the Vekol Road interchange on Interstate 8.

Additional Information

As a result of extreme summer temperatures, activities are best pursued from late October through mid-April. Drinking water is not available, so visitors are reminded to bring plenty of their own water. Vehicles should be in good working order, have a full fuel tank of gas and full size spare tires. Cellular phones do not work in many areas of the national monument. The main access routes and washes are prone to heavy seasonal rains and flash floods. Check with the Lower Sonoran Field Office for current conditions. This is a remote area, recreational opportunities are primitive and access roads are not maintained. No water or trash collection is provided.

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