Top Five Deserts to Visit in the United States
Updated: Apr 8
From the wildflowers, red rocks, hiking, starry nights and warmer weather, spring is the perfect time of year to visit the desert. Here are my top five deserts to visit in the United States providing vast landscapes and a unique place to explore.
🏜️ Painted Hills, Oregon: Nestled in John Day National Monument and 2 hours NE of Bend, you can find the magical painted hills of eastern Oregon. With rose, yellow, black and red colors layered in the hills, this is an excellent place for hiking and a photographer's dream. There is plenty of BLM land to camp on nearby, but make sure to pack plenty of water and food since there isn’t much else out there.
🏜️ Goblin Valley State Park, Utah: Exploring the nooks and crannies of Goblin Valley State Park located 3.5 hours south of Salt Lake City will make you feel like you are on Mars. Bring a bag for the day with plenty of water and find a new hoodoo, pinnacle or mushroom shaped rock around every corner. Check out Little Wild Horse Canyon after which is a ten minute drive away for a classic southern Utah slot canyon experience.
🏜️ White Sands National Monument, New Mexico: These pure white wave-like dunes of sand rise up in the desert of the New Mexico Tularosa Basin. The sand is fine and silty composed of gypsum crystals in a valley surrounded by the Sacramento and San Andres mountain ranges. Check out the unique hotspring town of Truth or Consequences less than 2 hours away once it cools down for a soak at night after a day in the desert.
🏜️ Joshua Tree National Park, California: Located near Palm Springs, CA Joshua Tree National Park is known for cholla cactuses, unique rock formations and the twisted joshua trees covering the landscape. This is a hiking and a climbing paradise. Take a short 3 mile hike near town at the Indian Canyon Trail to see one of the ancient palm groves of the Coachella Valley.
🏜️ Saguaro National Park, Arizona: Located on either side of the city of Tucson, AZ, Saguaro National park consists of rolling hills of the nation's largest cacti spreading their arms in all different directions. Cactus Forest Drive loop provides beautiful views of majestic saguaros with plenty of trails for a closer look. Check out Fourth Avenue in Tucson for some local food and thrift stores if you are staying in the city.
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