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.

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Desert Wildflowers

photo by Rick Goldwaser from Flagstaff, AZ, USA

Great Basin Desert

Largest Desert in the United States

Centered on Nevada but extending into neighboring states, the Great Basin Desert stretches from California’s Sierra Nevada Range on the west to the Rockies of Utah on the east. The region is one of high, silent valleys, numerous mountain ranges and many rivers. Great Basin National Park protects the South Snake Range near the Utah border east of Ely, Nevada. Read more…



And the Amboy Crater

Amboy is barely a settlement, let alone a destination. With a population of 6, it’s just a whistle stop on the way to Laughlin and Las Vegas. Actually, Amboy deserves a closer look, not just for Roy’s Motel and Café, a time capsule of early 1950s kitsch, when Route 66 was king and cars didn’t have air-conditioning, but also for a unique desert experience — a hike into a 6,000-year-old volcano. Southeast of town lies Amboy Crater, a 246-foot basalt cinder cone.  Read more…


Mysteries of Paquime

Mid-fifteenth Century Demise

Paquime emerged from shadowy origins early in the thirteenth century. It became the largest and most culturally complex settlement in northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It bore the imprints of both the puebloan cultures of the Southwest and the great Mesoamerican cultures of southern Mexico and central America. It served as a cultural beacon for prehistoric people within a thirty thousand square mile area, which encompassed far west Texas, southern New Mexico, southeastern Arizona, northeastern Sonora and northern Chihuahua. It collapsed in the mid-fifteenth century, perhaps a century before the arrival of the Spanish, who first spoke of the ruin in 1560. Read more…

Rainbow Basin

Red Diamond Rattlesnake

(Crotalus ruber)

The red diamond rattlesnake’s “size and beauty,” said the San Diego Natural History Museum, “make it a very impressive animal, especially when seen in the wild.” It is one of the three species of rattlesnakes commonly called “diamondbacks.” The red diamond rattlesnake occupies a range that extends from the southwestern corner of California southward through most of Mexico’s Baja peninsula. Its territory generally overlaps that of the southern Pacific rattlesnake. Equipped with loreal pits – heat-sensing organs on each side of its face – the red diamond rattlesnake belongs to the subfamily commonly called “pit vipers,” which includes the rattlers as well as the water moccasins and copperheads. Read more…


Prickly Pear Drink Recipes

DesertUSA has received so many requests for Prickly Pear recipes and ingredients that we have decided to stock our store with Prickly Pear Syrup, nectar and related products.

Prickly Pear Drink Recipes & Prickly Pear Syrup Products
Buy Prickly Pear Syrup 35 oz on DesertUSA’s Amazon Store.
Buy Prickly Pear Syrup 1 Gallon on DesertUSA’s Amazon Store.

Fun for Kids!

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.

Mojave Road Guide

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.