You probably associate the desert with the Southwest, Arizona, or Nevada; however, California has its own beautiful desert, and it’s full of hidden gems that everyone should see before they die. From the lowest point in North America to the highest point in the lower 48 states to some of the most breath-taking landscapes you’ll ever see, there’s so much to do and see in this little known natural wonderland! Here are some of our favorite California Desert destinations
Joshua Tree National Park
Due to the band’s inspiration and astonishment at the views in this national park, The Joshua Trees gave an album by U2 its name. In the middle of the craggy rock formations here, the park’s name-bearing trees, withered and shrivelled, resist scorching temperatures and incredibly low precipitation. Between these two extremes lies a desert landscape populated with cacti, chaparral, wildflowers and coyotes. Don’t be surprised if you see bighorn sheep on rocks or a rabbit hopping through the brush.
Death Valley National Park
The Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet below sea level, is located in Death Valley National Park and is the lowest location in all of North America. High temperatures routinely reach above 120 degrees Fahrenheit in this desolate, mountainous, valley-filled area in the summer. Despite this, you should go there. It’s a beautiful place with a rich history and some amazing views. The Devil’s Golf Course at Furnace Creek has little bits of dark volcanic rock scattered across it like golf balls after a game (hence the name). Keep your eyes peeled for animals roaming around including bighorn sheep, coyotes, jackrabbits, snakes, lizards and plenty more!
As a curious shallow saltwater lake in the Southern California desert, the Salton Sea. Along with one of the oddest bodies of water on Earth, fishing and camping are the primary draws in this area. On your way to the sea, stop by Bombay Beach for some uniquely tacky roadside Americana. I don’t think you’ll regret it! It’s so beautiful out there, really worth checking out!