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Region Detail Page to Region Profiles

Deserts Region Profile

The dramatic desert region fills the south-eastern half of California with remarkable parklands to explore, including Death Valley, Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego. Complementing the sun-drenched environment is the oasis-like allure of Palm Springs, three hours north-east of San Diego and offering resort-style getaways complete with golf, tennis, spas and luxury shopping.


  • At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater in Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the contiguous United States.
  • A short trail about 36 miles north-west of Ridgecrest leads to Fossil Falls, a surreal, convoluted chasm of shiny, sculpted black lava.
  • Palm Springs is America’s mid-century modern mecca, and from petrol stations to City Hall, it’s clear that mod dominates the local landscape.
  • Long considered one of America’s golf capitals, Palm Springs boasts more golf courses per capita than any place on earth.
  • Shopping is central to Palm Desert pastimes, whether it be in El Paseo boutiques or Backstreet Arts District galleries.


There are four main counties in the Desert region of California:
  • Imperial County
  • Inyo County


  • Riverside County
  • San Bernardino County

Major cities

Rural desert towns have low populations, although cities like Riverside and Palm Springs are densely populated.
  • Borrego Springs
  • Coachella
  • Indian Wells
  • Joshua Tree
  • La Quinta
  • Lone Pine
  • Palm Desert
  • Palm Springs
  • Rancho Mirage
  • Riverside
  • Twentynine Palms

Major attractions

The thwack of a golf club, the hum of the wind buffeting towering sand dunes, the splash of a dive into a perfect pool creates a sensory feast in the desert region.

  • Anza-Borrego Desert State Park: This is not only California’s largest state park, but also the home of amazing spring-time wildflowers and dark skies perfect for stargazing
  • BMW Performance Driving School: Take a high-speed driving class and fulfil your racetrack dreams here in the Southern California desert south of Palm Springs
  • Death Valley National Park: The hottest place in California is home to Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level, soaring Telescope Peak, colourful Artist Palette and many more incredible views
  • El Paseo: Discover a multitude of art galleries and delicious restaurants here at Palm Desert’s very own 'Rodeo Drive'
  • Joshua Tree National Park: Named and known for the unique 'Joshua trees' that grow here, this park is ideal for hiking, off-road 4x4 adventures and wildflower viewing
  • Palm Springs Aerial Tram: Enjoy breath-taking views of Mount San Jacinto and jagged canyons as you travel 8,516 feet from the desert floor up to Mountain Station, where you can begin hiking or skiing adventures
  • Pappy & Harriet’s: This 1870s frontier town-style film set is a great family attraction and one of the most legendary indie music venues in the state
  • Salvation Mountain: Over the course of 30 years, Leonard Knight built a colourful attraction in the Sonoran Desert as a way to express his devotion to peace, love and a higher power, proclaiming 'God Is Love' in a five-storey, 150-foot-wide art project



California’s desert region is known for its warm winters and high summer temperatures. Annual precipitation in the desert region is less than five inches.









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