Deserts are nothing but wastelands, void of life and color. However, there’s also plenty to be admired under the hot relentless sun and the arid conditions. A hidden beauty lies among the sand and rock, so bringing some water along and some shade could prove one hot way of enjoying your day.
1. Monument Valley Buttes, Arizona
When you think of the classic Western film, what images come to mind? You’re probably thinking of the iconic buttes of Monument Valley, particularly the “mittens”, which got its debut in the movie, Stagecoach.
2. Antelope Canyon, Arizona
In northern Arizona on Navajo land lies Antelope Canyon, famous for the smoothed out sandstone from the rain waters eroding its surface, forming the famous striations that cover the canyon’s walls. Breathtaking.
3. Joshua Tree National Park, California
Named after the Joshua tree which populates the area, the park is located in Mojave Desert in the southeastern part of California. The tree itself was named by Mormon settlers in the 1850s.
4. Canyon Lands National Park, Utah
Almost half a million visitors come to Canyon Lands every year. The park is full of hidden out-of-the-way waterfalls for the intrepid tourist.
5. Sonoran Desert, Arizona
The saguaro cactus, native to the Sonoran Desert, is the tortoise of the plant world and can live up to 100 years old. They can grow from 40-60 feet tall which is the equivalent of the height of 4 to 6 stories of an apartment building.
6. Four Peaks Mountain, Arizona
As part of the Mazatzal Mountain range, the Four Peaks stands prominently east Phoenix. The mountain has a mine that contains deposits of world-class amethyst. Just look at that view!
7. White Sands Nation Monument, New Mexico
The gypsum crystals give the sand dunes the white color. The dune field is considered to be the largest on Earth. The site was once considered to be designated as a World Heritage Site, but a local law was enacted to make it illegal for the White Sands to be a World Heritage Site. Why?
8. Death Valley National Park, California and Nevada
The Death Valley National Park, with temperatures hitting an average of 115 degrees Fahrenheit (49 degrees Celsius), is one harsh climate. It’s still beautiful, though.
9. Sossusvlei in Namib Desert, Namibia
Located in the southern coast of Africa, the Sossusvlei part of the Namib Desert of Namib-Naukluft National Park of Namibia, is famous for its characteristic contrast between the iron-enriched sand dunes that give off the reddish tint. Stunning!