The Mojave Desert is one of the greatest places in America to see spectacular scenery. It's in a unique spot; it comprises the barrier between the low, hot Sonora Desert and the cool, high Great Basin of Nevada and Utah. It covers 25,000 square miles, and sprawls into the states of California, Arizona, Nevada and Utah.
You might imagine a big flat, featureless landscape of sand and rock, but that's just the view from the highway. Actually the Mojave is full of desert wildflowers, majestic mountain ranges and lots of variety of scenery. The entire Mojave Desert includes Mojave, Death Valley, Joshua Tree National Park and the Lake Mead area. The area is defined by its geographic indicator, the Joshua Tree. You won't see these pretty desert trees anywhere else in the world.
The main area of the Mojave is a stretch of pretty wilderness in southern California between Highways 15 and 40, east of Barstow and west of Needles. On the east, it sits right up against the Arizona border.
What do you imagine when you hear that? Parched hikers, vultures circling overhead waiting for somebody to drop dead, a cow skull in the dust maybe. Well, don't let the name fool you. Death Valley is some of the prettiest wilderness scenery the great North American continent has to offer.
It's not all death and decay in Death Valley. Actually, the valley has some rare animal and plant life that you won't find anywhere else. It also has some of the last completely undisturbed wilderness in the country.
One of the things that makes Death Valley so interesting is that it has so much variety in just 3 million square acres. It has mountain peaks, like the 11,000 footer Telescope Peak, and also the lowest point in North America, at nearly 300 feet below sea level.
Don't let the name scare you. Death Valley was named by the miners who tried to cross it to get to California during the gold rush. Many of them were unprepared, and none of them came with a fully-equipped motor home for cooling off during the hot days!
Joshua Tree National Park
One of the reasons why Joshua Tree is such a unique environment is that it's at the crossroads between the Mojave and Colorado Desert to the east. Joshua Tree provides all the wild scenery you could want, from windswept plains to giant rock formations in odd shapes. It is a wonderful place to see a colorful sunset across miles of wild, windswept sands with palm trees standing all around your RV.
Compared to Death Valley and other parts of the desert west, Joshua Tree is quite green and colorful. It is full of wildflowers, yuccas, cacti, shrubbery and the famous Joshua Trees themselves. You can hike over the barren rocks or among the pinyon pines. The variety of natural beauty at Joshua Tree is what makes it so popular.
Where To Stay
Your best bet in Death Valley is to stay at one of the many RV parks in Death Valley National Park. You can contact the park directly, or check out their website. The great thing about Death Valley is that most of the parks are open year round. Some of the most popular include Furnace Creek, which is located almost 200 feet below sea level, Panamint Springs Campground or the Stovepipe Wells RV Campground. If you want to be a little higher, try Mahogany Flat way up at 8,000 feet, but be advised that they are not open all year, and you must have a high clearance vehicle.
At Joshua Tree, the most recommended RV parks are Desert Springs Spa and RV Park, Sam's Family Spa or Sands RV Resort in Desert Hot Springs, or Yucca Valley RV Park in Yucca Valley.
The American west contains huge stretches of uninhabited land great for motor home exploration. The Mojave Desert, which includes Death Valley and Joshua Tree, offers various natural sights. Visit Bankston Motor Homes to start your adventure. http://www.bankstonmotorhomes.com