7 must-see spots in Southern California’s deserts

The deserts of California — the Mojave, the Colorado — may not be the most appealing places to visit in the middle of summer, when temperatures soar above 100 degrees. However, winter brings cooler temperatures and fewer crowds, while spring brings wildflowers. In other words, now is the ideal time to plan a sunny trip south.

If you go, make sure to include these strange and beautiful places on your itinerary, from Joshua Tree National Park’s surreal, sunset-hued rock formations and spiky trees to Death Valley’s arid landscapes, which partially reopened to the public in mid-October after catastrophic flash floods in August.

Don’t miss Pioneertown in California’s High Desert, which looks like something out of a movie. Pioneertown, built in 1946 as a filming location, exudes an 1880s Western vibe; films such as “The Cisco Kid” and “Judge Roy Bean” were shot here. Pappy & Harriet’s Palace, an atmospheric honky tonk that serves barbecue and live music, including the occasional surprise appearance by Coachella artists, is also located there.

If you prefer your desert experiences with a dash of glitz, Palm Springs is the place to be, with midcentury mod architecture, fantastic restaurants, museums, an oasis trail, and an aerial tramway that gives you a bird’s-eye view of the entire region.

7 must-see desert attractions

1 Joshua Tree National Park

2 Fortynine Palms and Oasis Trail at Joshua Tree

3 Death Valley National Park

5 Palm Springs Aerial Tramway

6 Indian Canyons, Palm Springs

7 Coachella Valley Preserve

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