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DesertUSA is a guide to the American Southwest. Our stories feature topics ranging from rockhounding and boating to desert parks and unique points of interest. DesertUSA’s content includes in depth information about the natural history of the desert regions of the United States.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon offers a quieter, more relaxed way to appreciate this natural treasure than the more often visited South Rim. This side of the Grand Canyon is higher (1,000 feet) and receives more rain and snow than the South Rim. Meadows, pine trees, and aspen dot the rocky terrain, softening the perspective, and the experience. The North Rim is located over 8,000 feet above sea level, on the Kaibab Plateau. It also contains the park’s highest elevation, Point Imperial, at 8,803 feet. Read more…
Mysterious sliding rocks
The Racetrack is a unique attraction of Death Valley National Park that not many park visitors get to see. It’s a dry lakebed in a very remote and beautiful area. On the north end of the lakebed is a rock formation known as the grandstands. Rocks from the grandstands and other nearby formations break off and fall onto the lake. There, they perform feats that make this remote playa world-famous. They move! Read more…
Humpbacked Flute Player
Kokopelli has stirred imaginations for a long time. Of the lexicon of characters featured in the age-old religions, rituals, folk tales, ceramics, rock art and murals of Southwestern Indians, there are few more enduring than Kokopelli. He is so irresistibly charismatic that he was reinvented time and again for well over 1,000 years by southwestern artists, craftsmen and storytellers. Kokopelli’s guises, styles and roles have mystified scholars for decades. Read more…
Nurse to the Saguaro Cactus
Palo verde trees commonly occur in the Southwest: the foothill, yellow or little leaf palo verde (Parkinsonia aculeata) and the blue palo verde (Parkinsonia florida). Palo verde – Spanish for green wood or stick – alludes to the plant’s greenish branches and trunk. The trees can photosynthesize through their green bark, an important adaptation for a tree that drops its leaves during the warm season and in response to fall cooling. Palo verdes serve as nurse plants for saguaro cacti by providing a canopy – in effect, a microhabitat – which offers warmth in winter and shade in summer. Read more…
Critter Cam Trail Footage
The secret lives of animals.
If you’re looking for a fun thing to do with your kids, check out our “Break-at-Home” geode kits. This hands on rockhounding experience is a great way for kids to learn about geology, how geodes are formed and to experience the excitement of discovery when they break one open. Learn more about “Break-at-Home” geodes.
An adventure through time. Explore the route used by pioneers on their way to California. The Mojave Road lets your SUV act as a time machine, guiding you on a trail that stretches for 138 miles through country virtually unchanged since prehistoric times. Learn more about the Mojave Road Guide by Dennis Casebier.