NORTHERN DESERT

Remarkable in its diversity, the Northern Desert contains some of North America’s most unique natural treasures ripe for exploration. This massive area stretches from just north of Twentynine Palms to the northern border of Death Valley National Park, the largest national park south of Alaska. An ever-evolving land of extremes in climate and geography, Death Valley’s stark wilderness of sand dunes, salt flats, ancient rock formations and wetlands belies the rich diversity of plants and more than 400 animal species that have adapted to thrive in this surreal gift of nature.

Traveling south from Death Valley reveals a host of natural and man-made wonders. Stop to soak in mineral-laden hot springs, wander through ghost towns once bustling with gold and silver miners eager to seek their fortunes. View the amazing icicle-shaped stalagmite and stalactites in Mitchell Caverns, the only limestone caves in the California State Park System, and visit Amboy Crater of Historic Route 66. Designated a National Natural Landmark in 1973, the 6,000-year-old crater is an astonishing example of a nearly symmetrical volcanic cinder cone.

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