Nestled at the base of the Little Ajo Mountains in the midst of the Sonoran Desert, the town of Ajo is home to a picturesque plaza and a diversified population including Latinos, Tohono O’odham, and Anglos. The town of 4000 has one stoplight and lies 43 miles north of the US/ Mexico border and just west of the Tohono O’odham Nation.
In Ajo, Arizona, warm winters with sunny skies give way to incredible heat in the summer months when temperatures can top 115 degrees Fahrenheit. Starry nights, fresh air, coyotes, javelinas, and a thriving artist community are all part of the Ajo experience.
For decades, an invigorated economic base prevailed due to the presence of the New Cornelia Mine. When the mine closed in 1985, it left a community without a viable industry to provide employment opportunities. In recent years, Customs and Border Patrol has become an established presence in the area, providing some employment for area residents.
Where a one-way trip to Phoenix or Tucson takes at least two hours, Ajo is frequently referred to as being in the “middle of nowhere.” In this remote and rural setting, the Ajo School District serves the educational needs of the Arizona communities of Ajo, Why, and Lukeville and the western regions of the Tohono O’odham Nation.
Whether you’re a long-time Ajo resident or new to the area, we encourage you to explore some of the wonderful things our area has to offer. Experience what makes our community unique—and a wonderful place to live!
Ajo Plaza: The heart of our community, the historical and beautiful Ajo Plaza dates back to 1917. Today, it’s home to several local businesses and includes a cafe and unique gift shops featuring arts and crafts by local artisans. The plaza also offers studio space to local artists.
The Curley School: This Spanish Colonial Revival style complex is a live-work space for a community of local artists. Explore the campus’ classrooms, workshops, and indoor-outdoor stage.
New Cornelia Open Pit Mining Lookout: View this historic open pit mine from the Mine Lookout on Indian Village Road. Enjoy informative presentations about mining operations at the visitor center from October–May.
Scenic Loop: Choose your own adventure on this seven-mile loop that passes through a beautiful stretch of desert. Whether you’re driving, biking, or hiking, the scenery can’t be beat.
Ajo Historical Society Museum: Visit what was once the St. Catherine’s Indian Mission. The museum proudly tells the story of Ajo’s past and includes an old-time blacksmith shop, a dentist’s office, and a print shop.
Ajo Community Golf Course: Get 18 holes in at this oasis in the desert. Visitors get a view of the Ajo Mountains to the south, the Childs Mountain to the west, and an arroyo that winds through the course.