The beauty of deserts in the United States

America’s Deserts and Their Appeal

Find beauty in the desert. Hike Southern Utah's Bryce Canyon.


Everyone knows what deserts are: Flat, Brown, Barren. Oh, and hot! These are the horrible landscapes where only rattlesnakes and scorpions live (although you rarely see either). And don’t forget all those prickly, thorny plants. Why is it the case then that so many folks are eagerly planning and anticipating their upcoming desert adventures in these awful, inhospitable places?


First of all, throw away those stereotypes. Yes, American deserts (of which there are four: the Chihuahuan in Texas and New Mexico, the Sonoran & Great Basin deserts in Arizona and the Mojave in California) feature expanses of vast flat area. But they also boast spectacular mountains that beckon off-road bikers, hikers and climbers. Yes, there are many shades of brown in the landscape, but these joust with the whites and reds and oranges to paint the unforgettable desert palette. Barren? You can only be so lucky to experience the sweet-smelling desert in spring bloom or after a passing summer shower.


Hot? Yes, America’s deserts can be very hot (but it’s a dry heat!) around mid-day in the summer so a little extra planning is required before rock hounding, poking around historic ghost towns or exploring the wide open wilderness. But there are four seasons at higher elevations and temperate temperatures available much of the year. Should you pack the rain gear? With an average of over 300 days of sunshine per year in the American Southwest you can usually count on clear blue skies.


And forget the bug spray. There are practically no mosquitoes in the desert. No blackflies either. And no biting sand flies! For many, that is the biggest appeal going for an outdoor adventure destination.


Slot canyons, high plateaus, mountain peaks, swimming holes. American deserts have a language all their own. And at the end of of your desert adventure day you’ll likely be treated to one of the most beautiful sunsets in the country and the most star-studded night sky you’ve ever seen. Guaranteed.

The beauty of deserts in the United States

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