Desert (California)

The California Desert is composed of California's entire southeast corner and offers excellent opportunities for hikers and other outdoor enthusiasts.



Other destinations


For many travelers the California desert is merely experienced on the other side of their car windows on their way to more popular destinations. However, for the adventurous few that take an exit and their supplies, the rewards are unforgettable.

Get in

By plane

Ontario airport has a good variety of short haul flights as well as a limited number of long distance options. If you are arriving from outside California Los Angeles International airport (IATA: LAX) might be more convenient.

By train

cities such as Riverside are linked to the Los Angeles commuter railway system

By car

the whole area is served by excellent though frequently congested roads

Get around

Regular bus service to and between major cities including Barstow, Indio and Palm Springs is available through the Greyhound bus service.

However, the full glory of this region is very difficult to access without a vehicle. Many of the parks in the region have paved roads and developed campsites. However the complete experience can not be had without a bit of exploration on the dirt roads and an inspiring piece of dirt to set up camp – see California desert camping. Believe it or not, even a compact car will survive valiantly on many of the well graded roads in the region although a high clearance vehicle is recommended for full access.


Many extremely exotic forms of wildlife and plant life can be found in any desert. Many cacti will not grow anywhere else except for a desert, and as such, the desert is an ideal destination for seeing these plants. Many species of unique birds (certain owls and others) and arachnids (Tarantulas, scorpions, mites) call this place home. There are also, strangely, reptiles and amphibians, which usually require water to survive.

Some deserts also feature natural rock formations and sand dunes, both of which are quite beautiful. However, reaching them can be an issue if you're not properly equipped.

Stay safe

The desert can be a brutal and unforgiving place. Even if you're planning to just pass through, you should be prepared to be fully self-reliant and follow these minimum guidelines. Additional safety guidelines should be adhered to if you are planning to go camping.

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This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Wednesday, March 16, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.