Explore the California Desert

Breathtaking sunrises, unique art installations and incredible landscapes make the California desert an eclectic and unique vacation destination.
Episode: US Desert

Photo By: By Elia Scudiero (arch rock startrailUploaded by ComputerHotline) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: By Rachot Moragraan (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: By Mfield, Matthew Field, http://www.photography.mattfield.com (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: By Rennett Stowe from USA (Early Spring) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: By Mfield, Matthew Field, http://www.photography.mattfield.com (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

Photo By: By taylorandayumi (Salvation Mountain) [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Arch Rock

Arch Rock in Joshua Tree National Park, which encompasses 1,235 square miles of land -- an area slightly larger than the state of Rhode Island.

Desert Christ Park

Sculptures in Desert Christ Park, a 3.5-acre sculpture garden in Yucca Valley. Aircraft worker Antone Martin began crafting the concrete figures in the 1940s to inspire peace during the Cold War, and the 15 sculptures still stand today, though in various states of disrepair.

Palm Springs

The sunrise lights one of the main thoroughfares in Palm Springs, California, a popular resort town and retirement spot for the rich and famous of the 1950s and '60s.

Death Valley

Desert badlands and mountains in Death Valley National Park, the hottest and driest national park in the US.

Pioneertown

Pioneertown, built in 1946 as a live-in western movie set. Mock gunfights and other Old West demonstrations occur on Mane Street from April to October.

Ranchos Los Palmas Resort

Ranchos Los Palmas Resort in Rancho Mirage, CA, a small resort city in the Coachella Valley.

San Gorgonio Pass Wind Park

The San Gorgonio Pass Wind Park in Palm Springs is the oldest commercial wind farm in the US. Tours of the park occur every Wednesday to Saturday.

Joshua Tree National Park

Several Joshua trees on display in the desert, the namesake of the national park it's located in.

Salton Sea

The Salton Sea, once a desert oasis for celebrities and wealthy vacationers, is the largest body of water in California. However, by the mid-1970s the salinity level of the water had risen so high that barely any fish or wildlife could survive. Entire neighborhoods surrounding the sea were abandoned and remain eerie ghost towns.

Pinery Station

What's left of an abandoned stone structure known as Pinery Station stands in the Coachella Valley. It was once a gas station and, reputedly, a long-ago stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach route.

Yucca Valley Sunrise

The sunrise in Yucca Valley boasts beautiful warm hues of red, blue, purple and yellow, while desert plants bask in its light. 

Art in Death Valley

Art in Death Valley, which contains the lowest, driest and hottest places in North America.

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

Palm Springs Aerial Tramway in the midst of the California desert is the world's largest rotating tramway.

Salvation Mountain

'Salvation Mountain,' an art installation by Leonard Knight in Niland, CA, is an incredible 50 feet tall and 150 feet wide. Knight started the project to spread his message of universal love, and in 2002 his mountain was placed in the Congressional Record as a national treasure.

Coachella Music and Arts Festival

The Coachella Music and Arts Festival is held each April in Indio, CA.