This road trip includes parks Joshua Tree National Park, Death Valley National Park, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Kaibab National Forest and more!
Two deserts, two large ecosystems whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. The Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and features natural gardens of creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher, moister, and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the special habitat of the Joshua tree.
Hottest, Driest, Lowest National Park: Death Valley is a land of extremes. It is one of the hottest places on the surface of the Earth with summer temperatures averaging well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. At 282 feet below the level of the sea, it is the driest place in North America with an average rainfall of only 1.96 inches a year.
Lake Mead National Recreation Area (NRA) offers a wealth of things to do and places to go year-round. Its huge lakes cater to boaters, swimmers, sunbathers, and fishermen while its desert rewards hikers, wildlife photographers, and roadside sightseers. Three of America's four desert ecosystems--the Mojave, the Great Basin, and the Sonoran Deserts--meet in Lake Mead NRA. As a result, this seemingly barren area contains a surprising variety of plants and animals, some of which may be found nowhere else in the world.
From canyons to prairies, peaks to plateaus, the Kaibab National Forest, which is nestled on the Colorado Plateau, offers layers of opportunity for discovery. The Mogollon Rim forms the southern boundary while extending to the north almost to the Utah border. Meanwhile, the majestic Grand Canyon National Park bisects the center of the forest.Elevations range from about 3,000 feet to 10,418 feet at the top of Kendrick Mountain. Beginning in low elevation grasslands and sagebrush, the forest steps up through forests of pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pine to fir, spruce and aspen.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument celebrates the life and landscape of the Sonoran Desert. Here, in this desert wilderness of plants and animals and dramatic mountains and plains scenery, you can drive a lonely road, hike a backcountry trail, camp beneath a clear desert sky, or just soak in the warmth and beauty of the Southwest.
Rose-colored sand dunes, volcanic cinder cones, Joshua tree forests, and mile-high mountains are found along the scenic roadways in Mojave National Preserve. This is a place to escape the crowded visitor centers and campgrounds found at other parks. Mojave Desert experiences change with the seasons. Infrequent winter snows sparkle on the mountains. With enough moisture, spring wildflowers carpet the desert with vivid colors. Summers are hot, so adventurers head for the higher elevations such as Mid-Hills and the New York Mountains. The cooler temperatures of fall mark hunting season. A network of dirt roads provides year round opportunities to explore by four-wheel drive vehicle.
The Grand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona.
This road trip takes you to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. If you have extra time, you should try and visit the North Rim as well.
The Grand Canyon, one of the most spectacular examples of erosion anywhere in the world, Grand Canyon is unmatched in the incomparable vistas it offers to visitors on the rim. These are just two of the amazing parks you will see on this road trip. Use this route as a guide to help you design your perfect adventure in the Southwest. States include, California, Arizona and Nevada. This is a self-guided trip and can be altered to your schedule and available time by adding or subtracting parks along the way.
See these gorgeous parks and more along the Joshua Tree and Grand Canyon Road Trip. Use this road trip as a guide to help you plan your adventure around the south west. States included in this road trip are California, Nevada and Arizona. This is a self-guided road trip and can be altered to fit your available time.
You should check ahead of time regarding potential road closures and/or construction. Please note, some of our road trips do take you along some dirt roads. Please check a map so that you can alter your route accordingly. All our road trips are designed to be helpful guides to help you build an adventure to suit your needs. We don't recommend specific mileage, nor where exactly to stay due to everyones different needs for driving mileage, etc. We recommend plotting out your route on Google Maps and using ours as guides. Then add or remove locations to build the road trip of your dreams!