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45+ Amazing Desert Spots in the American Southwest

National Parks
by Carlo Alcos Nov 22, 2016

I LOVE the desert landscape. It’s amazing how life can flourish in seemingly hostile conditions; I find that so interesting and inspiring. It’s also a great place to ponder our place on the planet, where you’re confronted with millions of years of history right in front of your eyes. All of the places below are taken from the travelstoke app. You can find this list on my profile and start adding to your own trip to visit these epic places. And don’t forget to add your own suggestions.

Fisher Towers, Utah

Only 16 miles from Moab, there are several epic and classic rock climbing routes. Even if you don’t climb though, hiking in the area is an asbolute must. Here’s a vid of me climbing it.

 Fisher TowersMoab, United StatesThis is Ancient Art, a 4-pitch 5.8-5.10 trad climb. It’s fully exposed at the top and super scary, you have to walk across this tiny bridge to get to the spire. If you fall you’re going for a huge swing and probably bashing into the rock. The top of the spire is the size of a dinner plate, about 400 ft above the trail below, and the anchor is about a meter below you. Neither of us climb trad so we went with Nate, the owner of Moab Desert Adventures who led the climb for us. The climb of a lifetime! #extreme #rockclimbing #lookdown #desert

Lower Calf Creek Falls, Utah

Yes, there are waterfalls in the desert!

 Lower Calf Creek FallsBoulder, United StatesGorgeous hike! 6 miles round trip but pretty flat the whole way, walking over rock and sand. Bring water, it gets hot! You can take a dip at the end to cool off. #waterfalls #waterfall #hiking #hike #desert

Gold Strike Hot Spring Trail, Nevada

8 fixed ropes aid hikers on this trail through Gold Strike Canyon to down to the Colorado River.

 Colorado RiverBoulder City, United StatesColorado river at the end of Gold Strike trail. Definitely worth going all the way down the canyon with a few hot springs, rope climbs, and bouldering action. You can even see the hoover dam bridge from here. I just love the colors and the clouds are rare out in this area. 2 hours down. I went October of 2016 as the Gold Strike trail is closed May-September due to heat advisory. Please bring plenty of water and pick up your trash :) #hiking

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Have warm clothes handy; the high elevation of the rim (up to 9000 feet) means it can be cold at unexpected times.

 Bryce Canyon National ParkBryce, United StatesVisually stunning. Because of the high elevation it can get quite cold as well even in the summer. Make sure to walk amongst the hoodoos too. #hiking #nationalpark #desert

 Fairyland PointBryce, United StatesFairyland loop trail was my favorite in Bryce Canyon. Was a good length at about 13km and explored lots of different scenery amongst the hoodoos. I didn’t see a single person on the trail when I went, but it was December. #hiking

 Sunset PointBryce, United StatesExcellent viewpoint for checking out Bryce Canyon. I can’t recommend visiting this park in the winter enough. #views #photography

Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

The park is home to around 600 preserved Puebloan cliff dwellings.

 Mesa Verde National ParkMancos, United StatesHoly history. This World Heritage Site protects some of the best preserved Ancestral Purbloan archeological sites in the US. You have to take a tour though, but they’re incredibly informative and only cost $4. Just be sure to book early in the day though. They fill up fast. OH. And bring lots of water. The hike isn’t difficult, but there’s a good bit of climbing stairs, which can get you winded. #history #hiking

Grand Canyon, Arizona

Oh, there’s only about two billion years of history exposed here. TWO BILLION YEARS!

 Grand Canyon National ParkNorth Rim, United StatesGrand Canyon should definitely be on your bucket list.

 Horseshoe BendPage, United StatesEasy access from the parking lot. One of the most stunning places for sunrise and sunset.

 Horshoe Bend, Page, AZGrand Canyon Village, United StatesGet up close and personal with the edge

 Maricopa PointGrand Canyon Village, United StatesEarly morning look of the Grand Canyon from Maricopa Point. Great spot to catch a sunrise! #views #photography

 Mather PointGrand Canyon Village, United StatesBreathtaking

 Skeleton PointGrand Canyon Village, United States#hiking #camping

 Navajo PointGrand Canyon Village, United StatesThere is much more to the Grand Canyon than the lodge and a few overlooks, but gawd how those views whet the appetite for exploring further. #hiking

 Havasupai CampgroundSupai, United States#hiking #waterfalls

 Cape Royal Picnic AreaNorth Rim, United StatesThe North Rim of the Grand Canyon makes for some fun night sky photography looking out over the canyon. This shot was taken from the Cape Royal viewpoint.

Zion National Park, Utah

Humans first started living in the area around 8000 years ago. Imagine navigating this landscape back then!

 Zion National ParkSpringdale, United StatesOne of the most visually stunning and fun to explore national parks I’ve been to in the US. There’s not a lot of dedicated biking zones… Just the main canyon and this path near the entrance. I love though that the main canyon is shut down to vehicles during high season. #hiking #extreme #nationalpark

 Top of Angels LandingHurricane, United StatesNot for the faint at heart but totally worth it. Just be careful!

 Angels LandingHurricane, United StatesAngel’s Landing at Zion Nat’l Park, took 3 hours round trip on a Saturday late morning till afteroon, October 2016. Quite a ton of switchbacks 😥 then a one lane chain trek up which makes it a lil time consuming waiting until people come up/down. Spectacular views!

 Emerald Pools TrailHurricane, United StatesFoot bridge over the Virgin River and the start of the emerald pools trail. Great place to start your hike. #hiking

 Emerald PoolsSpringdale, United StatesA short walk from Zion Lodge brings you to the lower pools where a drizzle of a waterfall rains down from above. Easy access for all ages.

 Court of the PatriarchsHurricane, United StatesViewpoint in Zion National Park. Lots of great hiking here and some beautiful scenery.

Big Cottonwood Canyon, Utah

It’s only 12 miles from Salt Lake City and has rock-climbing, biking, hiking, camping, and fishing there.

 Big Cottonwood CanyonCottonwood Heights, United States#hiking

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