A Guide to California Deserts

A Guide to California Deserts

Deserts in California are home to many natural features. The California deserts are home to the lowest point in North America, endemic plants and animals, ghost towns, and several desert towns. Here's a guide to visiting California's deserts. Also read about how scientists revealed which desert is the largest in the world: there are actually two of them on the site imag.one.

Mojave Desert


A Guide to California Deserts

This desert is nearly 124,000 km of dry terrain covering much of southeastern California and extending into Nevada, Utah and Arizona. This desert was named after the Mojave Indian tribe. Summers in the desert get quite hot, with temperatures reaching above 48°C, while winters are very cold. There is relatively little rain here, only about 13 centimeters per year. The desert has a total elevation ranging from 910 to 1,828 meters and a topography that alternates between mountain ranges and basins.

Although deserts are known for their harsh weather conditions that make survival difficult, the Mojave Desert is home to a variety of animals, including mammals, birds, and reptiles. Common species found here are the desert tortoise, mountain lion, kangaroo rat, desert iguana, chuckwalla, king horned lizard, desert pink boa, and Mojave rattlesnake. You can also see hawks, vultures and quail, as well as runners and eagles.

Mojave National Forest

It is a vast area with canyons and mountains, former military mines and outposts, volcanic formations and extensive sand dunes, offering visitors year-round exploration opportunities.

Castle Mountains National Monument

It is a biologically diverse area with unsurpassed landscape views. This national monument's 8,500 acres are home to Joshua trees, mountains, desert grasslands, and wildlife.

Mojave Trails National Monument

This monument includes mountain ranges, stunning sand dunes and old lava flows. It's also home to the popular Amboy Crater, as well as some of the best-preserved sites of a desert training center from the war.

Colorado Desert A Guide to California Deserts

It is a vast sandy desert in southeastern California, parts of which extend south and east into Mexico and Arizona. This desert includes the Coachella and Imperial valleys. The Colorado Desert lies below 304 meters above sea level, with most of its peaks no higher than 914 meters.

It has a subtropical desert environment with near-freezing temperatures due to its latitude and low altitude. Summers in this desert are hotter than in other high-altitude deserts. The desert topography consists of creosote bushes, yucca and cholla cacti, and desert salt marshes. Pinyon pine and California juniper can also be found at higher elevations. Some of the desert animals that roam this region include bobcat, cactus mouse, mule deer, desert kangaroo rat, black-tailed hare, and Yuma antelope.

Coachella Valley Museum

The purpose of the museum is to preserve and showcase a unique history Coachella Valley. The Smiley-Tyler House is a 1926 adobe house that houses major exhibits. There is also a completely restored two-room schoolhouse from 1909, a water tower from 1926, and several deserted gardens.

Fan Palm Oasis

The Colorado Desert is the only desert where you can find an oasis with fan palms. The fan palm is the largest palm in North America and the only palm native to the western United States. It can survive 80 to 90 years, reaching a height of more than 23 meters and a trunk width of more than 1 meter.

Palm Springs Air Museum

It is a living history museum with permanent and temporary exhibits, artifacts, and works of art that teach visitors about American history. This museum has one of the most impressive collections of flying wartime aircraft in the world.

Great Basin Desert A Guide to California Deserts

This large desert stretches across parts of Nevada, Utah, California, Idaho, Oregon and Wyoming. The lowlands of this region are relatively high, with most areas exceeding 1,188 meters, and the desert contains more than 30 peaks with peaks above 3,000 meters. The Great Basin Desert experiences extreme temperatures, ranging from dry, scorching hot summers to cold, frosty winters. This desert has a basin and range topography with areas of desert lowlands flanked on either side by parallel mountain ranges.

The extreme isolation between the valleys and peaks in this region has resulted in a diverse environment and numerous small populations of unique plant and animal species. Despite the harsh living conditions in this desert, plants have adapted to the soil in order to survive. Black brush, Mormon tea, creosote bush, sagebrush and saltbush grow here. Occasionally you can see several varieties of cacti and yuccas. Lodgepole pines, junipers, pinyon pines and bristlecone pines are among the other trees found in this desert.

Mammals found in this wilderness include weasels, shrews, bats, mountain lions, bobcats, black-tailed hares, squirrels, chipmunks, mice, kangaroo rats, pronghorn antelope, bighorn sheep, and mules. The desert is also home to reptiles and birds such as the western lizard, long-nosed leopard lizard, horned toad, rattlesnakes and gophers, bald eagles, western meadowlarks and red-tailed hawks.

Alpine Lakes Loop

This over 4-kilometer loop winds through alpine forest and past scenic streams, showcasing life in the shadow of Wheeler Peak. This round-trip journey into the highland majesty of the Great Basin rewards travelers with views of two beautiful lakes, Lakes Stella and Theresa.

Bristlecone Pine Trail

The Bristlecone Trail passes through a pine forest, offering fantastic views of some ancient Bristlecone pines. the surrounding valley and Zion National Park in the distance. These pines are considered to be some of the oldest trees in the world, and some are thousands of years old.

Mountain View Nature Trail

This is a nearly 2-kilometer trail that winds through a pine-juniper forest. The trail is commonly used for hiking and bird watching and offers spectacular views of nature. Hiking this trail is also an educational experience that will teach you about the diverse flora of the Great Basin Desert.

Lexington Arch

This is a massive limestone arch that rises above the floor of Lexington Canyon. This impressive natural arch is unique in that it is made of limestone, as opposed to the sandstone that most natural arches in the Western United States are made of.