California’s 25,000 square miles of desert runs from Deep Springs south to the Mexican border, and west from the Arizona border to Palm Springs and the town of Mojave. Considered California’s “Outback,” the desert regions offer warm air, unique outdoor adventures, and a chance at an escaping solitude. The area is known for its spectacular sunsets and at night, far from city lights, the stars fill the heavens in an amazing celestial show.
The California desert is one of the top outdoor recreation areas in the continental United States. Every year recreationists to the area are estimated to spend more than $230 million visiting the region and its national parks have nearly 3 million visitors annually. With the abundance of trails from which to experience painted mountains to Native American sites, hidden springs to desert tortoise, and world-famous wildflowers to herds of majestic bighorn sheep, it is no wonder travelers have long been drawn to the stark beauty of California’s desert.
Popular destinations include, Route 66, which Smithsonian Magazine named as one of the ‘10 Must-See Endangered Cultural Treasures,’ wildlife viewing of the hundreds of birds at the Salton Sea, the Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area with more than 80,000 acres of magnificent desert area open for off-highway exploration and recreation, and the magnificent Palm Springs.
In contrast to its harsh rugged side, the desert also offers many oasis’s of luxury. Relaxation is key at the innovative spas in Desert Hot Spring, famous throughout the world for its natural hot mineral waters. El Paseo Drive in downtown Palm Desert is often compared to Beverly Hills’ Rodeo Drive with an upscale shopping district featuring 150 boutiques, art galleries, and restaurants. Outstanding golf venues abound in Palm Springs where the pros and stars swing their irons on famous courses.