Explore the deserts of the world through stories, articles and experiences on DesertUSA.  Learn about desert animals, plants, geology, people and cultures. Featured stories highlight desert destinations, outdoor recreation and a variety of points of interest located in the American Southwest.   Popular topics and destinations include: Salton Sea, Route 66, rockhounding for Geodes, Desert Wildflower Reports, Colorado River and Lake Reports, and many other desert related topics.

Black Gold

Hoodoos at Bryce Canyon National Park

The mystical shapes inspire imagination and intrigue. It appears impossible that the destructive forces of water carved these fragile landforms. Instead many believe the hoodoos of Bryce Canyon were formed by wind. This is a mistaken idea. Wind is an effective form of erosion for many locations. However, for Bryce Canyon wind has little effect on the creation and destruction of the various shapes.  Read more…

Game of Faro in the late 1800s

Exploring Mesa Verde National Park
Cliff Dwellings – Colorado

A century into the second millennium, the Mesa Verdans, now with a population of perhaps 5000, did a strange thing. For some mysterious reason, they began to abandon their pueblos on the mesa tops and construct new pueblos in the great canyon alcoves.  Calling on all their skills for community planning, architecture and masonry, they built compact and defensible stone cities with many small rooms that were used for living, cooking, working and storage.   Read more…

Anita Pallenberg, Gram Parsons and Keith Richards in Joshua Tree

Terlingua Ghost Town

By Ara Gureghian

Let’s start with the history, how this town came about.  The name “Terlingua” refers to a mining district in Texas’ southwestern Brewster County.  It is located near the Rio Grande and the Texas villages of Lajitas and Study Butte as well as the Mexican village of Santa Elena.  The discovery of cinnabar – from which the metal mercury is extracted – in the mid-1880s, drew miners to the area, creating a city of 2,000 people.  Now, the only remnants of the mining days are a ghost town of the Howard Perry-owned Chisos Mining Company and several nearby capped and abandoned mines, most notably the California Hill, the Rainbow, the 248 and the Study Butte mines.  (The mineral terlinquaite was first found in the vicinity of California Hill.). Read more …

Art at East Jesus


Profile of a Desert Prospector

By Jay W. Sharp

The prospector – a composite of many from across the eastern half of the United States – had heard the stories from the gold fields of California early in that year of 1849. Young men, with little future in impoverished rural communities and fields in the East and the Old South, spoke of little else. They said that miners had already dug several million dollars worth of gold out of California’s hills and mountains (at a time when a dollar had 25 times the value of today’s dollar).  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.

Southwest Taffy Cactus Chews are manufactured by Cerreta Candy Company, located in Arizona.  The delicious taffy flavors are inspired by prickly pear, jumping cholla and saguaro cacti.  The Prickly Pear Taffy is pink, the Saguaro Blossom Taffy is yellow and the Jumpin’ Cholla Taffy is light green. Shop for Taffy