California Deserts

The California Deserts area possesses a unique beauty. The golf resorts in the area are legendary and numerous and the landscape of Death Valley is memorable. Visit Palm Springs and take a trip on the Aerial Tramway or explore the Palm Springs Desert Museum. Also, be sure to see Joshua Tree National Park, which offers a number of nature trails, nine campgrounds, and year-round bird watching opportunities. Borrego Springs is a burgeoning arts center and a popular gateway for recreation, as it is situated amidst Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Several annual art shows and the spring Grapefruit Festival are also major draws to Borrego Springs. Located in Barstow is the Route 66 Mother Road Museum, a tribute to the famed Route 66 that showcases a number of photographs and artifacts. At Calico Ghost Town, situated near Yermo, visitors have the chance to tour the town with a historian, witness a gunfight and see a silver mine.

Borrego Springs, CA

Borrego Springs is a quiet resort community situated in the middle of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, the largest state park in the continental United States. Due to its prime location amidst this 600,000-acre (240,000-ha) park, Borrego Springs is a popular recreation destination. Camping, hiking and biking are activities that are often practiced in the area. Sporting activities are also enjoyed within the town, including tennis at the Anza Borrego Tennis Center and golf at one of the area’s numerous courses. Besides outdoor recreation, the town of Borrego Springs is also known for its growing art scene. Several art shows are held annually, including the renowned Circle of Art that showcases the works of over 60 artists. Borrego Springs is also a major citrus-growing region, therefore the town celebrates the yearly harvest during the Grapefruit Festival every spring. Live entertainment, games and picnics are a few of the festivities.

Death Valley

Death Valley, situated 130 miles northwest of Las Vegas, is one of the deepest valleys in the northern hemisphere as low as 86 m below sea level. This enormous desert with a surface of 7700 square km offers very diverse sceneries from mountains and salt lakes to canyons, cactuses, craters, palms, and sand dunes. The best time to visit Death Valley is in spring when temperatures are around 28 degrees centigrade during the day and 12 degrees at night; summer daytime temperatures are normally around 40 degrees with the thermometer rising to the high 40s’ at times. The places to stay in the desert are few and far between, usually at the edge of the Valley like Baker, Shoshone, and Amargosa Valley, which are all very limited but essential for necessities like water, food, and most importantly petrol. The nicest place to spend the night is Furnace Creek Ranch in the village of Furnace Creek in the middle of the Valley that appears like a true oasis in the middle of the desert with shops, restaurants, tennis court and swimming pool.

Places to see in Death Valley are the Borax Museum in Furnace Creek, Scotty’s Castle, Ubehebe Crater, and Titus Canyon. Zabriskie Point is a panoramic spot from where to enjoy the view over the eroded valley resembling the moon craters; lighting is particularly good at dawn. Dante’s Peak is another panoramic point 1669 m above sea level offering a view over the entire valley. Badwater, the residual water of a salt lake that, a long time ago, used to stretch all over the valley. The Sand Dunes on the road to Scotty’s Castle looking like a piece of the Sahara was moved to California and is one of Death Valley’s most beautiful spots. Valuable information on Death Valley can be found at the Visitor Centre on Route 190, Tel. +1 760 786-3200.

Palm Springs

Situated in southern California, the city of Palm Springs is a desert oasis for the leisure traveler. With its warm, dry climate, Palm Springs is a favored spot in winter for those seeking refuge from colder climates. The city has long been a haven to many celebrities. Palm Springs is also a golfing hotspot and has some outstanding courses. There are many tours and recreational opportunities in the surrounding desert terrain, and Mount San Jacinto State Park, which features hiking trails, campgrounds and visitor center, is located just west of the city. Be sure to visit the Palm Springs Desert Museum and ride the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. Visitors interested in aviation history should not miss the Palm Springs Air Museum and its extensive collection of World War II warplanes and artifacts. For a journey back to the 1930s and early 1940s, visit Ruddy’s 1930s General Store Museum, an authentic re-creation of a period general store laden with nostalgia.

Sights & Attractions

Barstow Route 66 Mother Road Museum
Open Friday through Sunday from 11am to 4pm, the museum displays a collection of historic Route 66-related photographs and artifacts. Address: 681 North First Ave. | Barstow, CA | 92311. Telephone: 1 760 255-1890

Borrego Springs Parks & Gardens
The Anza-Borrego Desert State Park is located in Borrego Springs, CA. Featured are a desert garden and a number of dry-climate wildflowers. Address: 200 Palm Canyon Drive | Borrego Springs, CA | 92004

Calico Ghost Town
Explore a Hardrock silver mine, tour the town with a historian, or witness a gunfight. Campground close by with full hookups, cabins, and bunkhouses available. Townsite opens daily from 8:00am to dusk, attractions and shops from 9:00 am to 5:00pm. Address: P.O. Box 638, | Yermo,, CA | 92398. Telephone: 1 760 254-2122

Joshua Tree National Park
Declared a National Monument in 1936, Joshua Tree National Park encompasses two deserts – the Colorado Desert and the Mojave Desert – and the Little San Bernardino Mountains. The park, situated just north of Palm Springs and Palm Desert in southeastern California, offers campgrounds, hiking, biking, rock climbing and much more. The Visitors Center, located at Twentynine Palms, is open daily from 8am to 5pm. Address: 74485 National Park Dr. | Twentynine Palms, CA | 92277. Telephone: 1 760 367-5500

Agua Caliente Cultural Museum
The Agua Caliente Cultural Museum preserves the history of the Cahuilla people. Admission is free and the museum is open from Wednesday through Sunday. Address: 219 S. Palm Canyon Drive | Palm Springs, CA | 92262. Telephone: 1 760 323-0151

Palm Springs Air Museum
The Palm Springs Air Museum is a memorial to the air power of the Second World War. Address: 745 North Gene Autry Trail, | Palm Springs,, CA | 92262. Telephone: 1 760 778-6262

Ruddy’s General Store Museum
The museum is an authentic general store featuring over 6,000 unused items and products from the 1930s and 40s. Almost all are filled with their original contents. Open weekends only July, August and September 10am to 4pm and the rest of the year Thursday through Sunday 10am to 4pm. Address: 221 South Palm Canyon Drive | Palm Springs, CA | 92262. Telephone: 1 760 327-2156

Palm Springs Desert Museum
Museum contains artwork and natural science exhibits. Visit the natural science wing with its live animal in the ‘Desert Life’ exhibit. Address: 101 Museum Drive, | Palm Springs,, CA | 92262. Telephone: 1 760 325-0189

Palm Springs Art Museum
Located in downtown Palm Springs, the Art Museum is dedicated to the enrichment of the entire community through expanding collections, dynamic exhibitions and diverse programs. Address: 101 Museum Drive | Palm Springs, CA | 92262. Telephone: 1 760 325-7186 Extn: 114