Covering up to 25,000 square miles of Californian terrain, the Mojave and the Colorado deserts present a rich diversity in landscape, ecology, and climate, and provide an important preservation of natural and human history. The following are some of the most spectacular of the national and state parks.
Its rich geologic and cultural history, and extreme environment and isolation (having some of the clearest skies in North America for stargazing) make Death Valley an attractive destination for nature lovers.
Low and hot, Death Valley is home to both the lowest elevations and hottest temperatures in the US. But the landscape in this part of California is actually incredibly diverse, ranging from saltpans like the Devil’s Racetrack, pictured above, to snow-capped mountains reaching 11,000ft.
The result of erosion exposing the colorful sandstone stratas and creating hoodoos and other dramatic rock formations, Red Rock Canyon State Park has served as the backdrop of many films, including Jurassic Park.
The largest state park in California and the second largest in the continental United States, the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park offers a varied sample of the Colorado Desert with broad vistas, dry river beds, and diverse ecology, such as palm groves, iguanas, foxes, golden eagles, roadrunners, and rattlesnakes.