Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: blooms, cacti & cryptobiotic soil

Desert blooms depend on water so a dry winter means less explosive blooms this spring but that doesn’t stop many plants from flashing more subtle shows of their best colors.

While spread widely through the Sonoran Desert in Mexico, this park marks the northern edge of the Organ Pipe cactus’ natural habitat (and the only place in the world that Organ Pipe cacti mix naturally with senita and saguaro cacti).

VIDEO: Check the 360° video experience in the Organ Pipe Monument:

Cryptobiotic soil, a type of biological soil crust, contains delicate collections of living organisms that can exist in harsh desert or arctic terrain but are easily damaged by footsteps, motor vehicles and other traffic. The soil may take years to recover from a single encounter.