The hot and forbidding landscape of California’s deserts exerts a powerful fascination for adventurous travellers. The two distinct regions are the Low Desert in the south, the most easily reached from LA, containing the opulent oasis of Palm Springs and the primeval expanse of Joshua Tree National Park; and the Mojave or High Desert, dominated by Death Valley and stretching along Hwy-395 to the sparsely populated Owens Valley, infamous as the place from which LA stole its water a hundred years ago.

It is impossible to do justice to this area without a car. Palm Springs can be reached on public transport from LA, but only the periphery of Joshua Tree is accessible and it’s a long hot walk to anywhere worth seeing. You can get as far as dreary Barstow on Greyhound and Amtrak, but no transport traverses Death Valley, understandably so in the summer.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

15 of the most beautiful places in Alaska

15 of the most beautiful places in Alaska

With mountains to climb, rivers to raft, glaciers to coo over and a bevy of bears to photograph, Alaska is the ultimate wilderness. From the moment you arrive, …

18 Jan 2017 • Sarah Reid camera_alt Gallery
8 ideas for cheap vacations in the US

8 ideas for cheap vacations in the US

Only a few of us can take a vacation that includes a private jet and a 15-course chef’s tasting menu at a top restaurant. For the rest of us, we have to make …

17 Jan 2017 • Jason Frye insert_drive_file Article
Why Atlanta is one of the top 10 cities you should visit in 2017

Why Atlanta is one of the top 10 cities you should visit in 2017

Georgia’s leafy capital is due its time in the spotlight. Dynamic, progressive and home to one of the country’s most exciting food scenes, Atlanta is the ne…

11 Jan 2017 • Eleanor Aldridge insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month