The Alabama Hills Recreation Area is a stunning mirage of rocks and hills in the Eastern Sierra Nevada. Metamorphosed volcanic rock up to 300 million years old as well as biotite monzogranite up to 85 million years old create the wondrous assortment of shapes and arches. Hiking, photography and stargazing are some of the best ways to enjoy the land. Many films were shot here since the 1920's including 'How the West Was Won' and 'The Lone Ranger'. A scenic drive along Movie Flat Road will take you to exact locations for famous film scenes.
Borrego Palm Canyon is a stunning 3 mile hike in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Gorgeous rocky waterfalls surround this lush Palm Oasis, the largest in the park while more than 80 migratory birds use it as a watering hole alongside Desert Bighorn Sheep. Visit after a rain for gushing falls and cooler weather.
The Cabazon Dinosaurs, 'The World's Biggest Dinosaurs', are an iconic Roadside Attraction near Palm Springs. Mr. Rex, a 100-ton Tyrannosaurus rex and Dinny the Dinosaur, a 150-ton Brontosaurus were sculpted by Claude K. Bell. Both dinosaurs are so massive, several people can fit inside while Dinny serves as a building. They are forever famous from the film, Pee Wee's Big Adventure.
Kelso Dunes in the Mojave National Preserve are one of the largest (45 square miles) and tallest (700 feet) sand dunes in the North America. They are considered young created in the last 25,000 years by climate change and are often called the 'Singing Dunes' for the booming noise created by sliding sands. Run down a dune and listen for the rumble. A moderate 3 mile round-trip trail takes you to the top of the highest dune and is perfect for solitude seekers.
Dante's View is the best place to admire the expansive view of Death Valley. At 5,475 feet, the vista sits on the crest of the Black Mountains and looks to the Valley, Panamint Range and Badwater Basin with its white salt flats. On a clear day, the highest point in the contiguous United States, Mount Whitney (14,494 feet) can be seen alongside the lowest point Badwater (-282 feet).
Moorten Botanical Garden and Cactarium has been a Palm Springs tradition since 1939. This one acre garden packs in 3,000 desert cacti from around the globe including North American Deserts: Mojave, Sonoran, Chihuahuan, Great Basin & Colorado Plateau as well as Mexico, Africa and South America. Enjoy the wonderful mirage of cacti along its stunning trails.
Sunrise Scenic Byway is San Diego's most scenic drive. At 24 miles, this drive winds 6,000 feet high through Cleveland National Forest and Laguna Mountain Recreation Area with green meadows, forested peaks and stunning desert vistas that overlook Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. Enjoy Fall colors, Winter snow and Spring wildflowers making it a four season destination.
Wind Wolves Preserve is the largest non-profit preserve on the west coast at 93,000 acres. The Transverse & Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada, Mojave Desert and San Joaquin Valley all meet to create one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the country. Protected by the Wildlands Conservancy, the preserve is free and open to the public for all to enjoy. Visit in the Spring when the golden hills turn a brilliant green and burst with wildflowers.
Part of the Indian Canyons of Palm Springs, Andreas Canyon is the perfect natural Palm Oasis. Stunning fan palms surround rock canyons and 150 plant species along the lush Andreas Creek. One visit will give new meaning to the idea of the desert.
Vasquez Rocks Natural Area is a 932 acre park outside of Santa Clarita in the Sierra Pelona Mountains. Located along the San Andreas Fault, these sandstone rocks were formed 25 million years ago. Tataviam Native Americans lived in grass hut villages here and considered the site sacred. The rocks were named for Tiburcio Vasquez, a notorious bandit who used the area as a hideout in 1874. Hollywood has filmed here since the 30's including The Flintstones, Star Trek and Planet of the Apes.