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National Park Wednesday; Maricopa Road through Sonoran Desert National Monument to Arizona State Route 238

Back between 2010 and 2012 I frequently traveled through Sonoran Desert National Monument on Maricopa from Gila Bend to Arizona State 238 in Mobile.






The route between AZ 347 in Maricopa in Pinal County east to AZ 85 in Maricopa County is 44.27 miles in length.  Despite the current Maricopa Road being quite good and a solid shortcut from Phoenix to Yuma only the first 20.27 miles west from AZ 347 is state maintained as AZ 238.  AZ 238 ends slightly west of the Pinal County Line and Mobile but continues as the paved county maintained road another 24 miles to AZ 85 in Gila Bend.  Much of Maricopa Road from the west terminus of AZ 238 to AZ 85 traverses the Sonoran Desert National Monument along a Southern Pacific Line between the North Maricopa Mountains and South Maricopa Mountains.  The photos below are from Maricopa County just east of Gila Bend in the Sonoran Desert National Monument between the twin Maricopa Ranges.




AZ 238 is a recent addition to the Arizona State Highway system having been created in 1986.  AZ 238 was meant to serve a hazardous waste station in the community of Mobile which was ultimately never built.  AZ 238 is mostly signed on Maricopa Road but a small portion is signed on Smith Enke Road within in the City of Maricopa.  While AZ 238 was paved relatively quickly it wasn't until some point between 1996 and 2001 that Maricopa Road was paved all the way west to Gila Bend. 

Sonoran Desert National Monument lies within a fairly undeveloped part of Sonoran Desert south of the Phoenix Area.  Sonoran Desert National Monument extends south of I-8 into the Table Top Wilderness and is managed by the Bureau of Land Management.  Sonoran Desert National Monument was declared in 2001 but it is largely thought that it was created to impede the southern sprawl of Metro Phoenix.

Sonoran Desert National Monument Map

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