To stumble upon a hidden gem is one of the great rewards of overland travel. Mainland Mexico has some amazing sites to visit, and although not mentioned on any of the top websites for tourists, the beautiful Sierra de Organos National Park is well worth a visit. Just over an hour’s drive south of the well-known “Western” town of Durango (many wild west movies were filmed there) in the state of Zacatecas, the park is surrounded by agriculture and small rural communities. The Sierra de Organos National Park is a very well kept secret and you may find yourself camping and exploring with very little human company, who needs humanity when you can have blissful nature?
This national park which covers a total area of 4.34 square miles at elevations ranging from 7,000 to 8,500 feet, boasts an incredibly diverse ecosystem. Towering rock formations which resemble organ pipe cacti or the pipes of the musical instrument, from which the park takes its name, reach up to 120 feet and are surrounded by conifer forests and an abundance of wildlife. The skies teem with birds, including peregrine falcon and golden eagle which circle tirelessly, the hiking trails littered with the spoor of cougar, coyote, kit fox and the deservedly skittish hare, raccoon, white tailed deer and collared peccary (a species of bush pig).
There are several loop trails in the park, some ranging from a quick and gentle half mile loop to a 2 mile trail. Besides hiking and cycling, rock climbing is an obvious activity in the park, but you are not allowed to set anchors. The beautiful rock formations are easily scalable, with highball bouldering being the most popular activity (solo climbing between 15 and 35 feet).
Take the opportunity to either stay in one of their cabanas for just over USD30 a night or alternatively find a campsite, grab some firewood from the reception and watch the stars move along the skyline while listening to the coyotes howl away into the night. There are a number of campsites to chose from and many are designed with tent camping in mind. Nonetheless, the park management is not strict and you are welcome to find a campsite which suits you. As the park is under utilised you will have plenty of options and almost certainly no neighbors.
No drinking water is available, but the campsites have clean and maintained portaloos.
A tidbit: Several movies were filmed in the national park, but the most notable are The War Wagon, Geronimo, and The Undefeated.
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