Subscribe to DesertUSA E-News

Search DesertUSA

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.

By Jim DeLillo

The Sky Art Sculptures of Borrego Springs

Borrego Springs, California

Something more than the spectacular Anza-Borrego Desert State Park attracts visitors to the Borrego Valley in Southern California. People come from all around to see the amazing 130 full-sized metal sculptures here – many inspired by creatures that roamed this same desert millions of years ago. The artworks range from prehistoric mammals to historical characters, fanciful dinosaurs, and a 350-foot-long fanciful serpent. Drive through the roads that weave through the area – you’ll see sculptures of wild horses in a nearby field, sabertooth tigers in pursuit, and desert tortoises that seem as if they’re crawling through the brush. Read more…

Barstow Syncline

Rainbow Basin

A Wonderland

Shades of green, turquoise and red — here and there a streak of pale lavender — Rainbow Basin is aptly named. The dichotomy of Rainbow Basin’s solemn solitude and bright colors draws me in again and again, and each time I discover something new to photograph or a new trail to explore. A major feature in Rainbow Basin is the unique formation called the Barstow Syncline — a “U” shaped fold in the rocks. In structural geology, a syncline is a downward-curving fold, with layers that dip toward the center of the structure. Read more…

Chihuahuan Desert

The Desert Biome

Hot Deserts – Cold Deserts

In most modern classifications, the deserts of the United States and northern Mexico are grouped into four distinct categories. These distinctions are made on the basis of floristic composition and distribution — the species of plants growing in a particular desert region. Plant communities, in turn, are determined by the geologic history of a region, the soil and mineral conditions, the elevation and the patterns of precipitation. Three of these deserts — the Chihuahuan, the Sonoran and the Mojave — are called “hot deserts”. Read more …

Mule Deer

The Golden Eagle

Aquila chrysaetos

Golden eagles are large birds of prey found in the West and across Canada and Alaska. The birds winter in North America from south-central Alaska to central Mexico. Golden eagles are birds of open country, not forests, from desert grasslands to above timberline. They build large stick nests in trees or cliff walls where they have plenty of room to maneuver. Golden eagles are masters at soaring. Read more…


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.