The Sonoran Desert

Do you like deserts? There are many on all continents and one of the most important in North America is the Sonoran Desert. It extends from the United States to Mexico, so it is part of one of the natural limits between the two countries.

Deserts are special, they have their fauna, their flora, their own culture. During the day they are sometimes devastating and at night they open up to the dark and star-studded skies, inviting everyone who passes them to feel small in the universe. Today, tourism in the Sonoran Desert.

Sonoran Desert

As we said, is on the border between the United States and Mexico, in the southwestern United States, in Arizona and California. On the Mexican side, it is the hottest desert of all and occupies a total 260 thousand square kilometers.

The desert is at the northern end of the Gulf of California. To the west it is limited by the Peninsular Mountain Range, which separates it from the California swamps, to the north, it becomes colder terrain, with significant elevations. To the east and southeast it begins to be populated with conifers and oaks, to the south, in a more dry subtropical forest.

In this desert unique plants and animals live: 20 species of amphibians, 100 of reptiles, 30 of fish, 350 species of birds, 1000 of bees and around 2 species of plants ... Even near the border with Mexico, there are many jaguars, the only ones in the United States.

The truth is that in the desert there are many national parks and monuments, both national and state, wildlife reserves and sanctuaries, so if you like these landscapes there are many interesting places to obtain information.

Do people live in the Sonoran Desert? Yes, it has always been the home to various cultures. Even today, it is inhabited by about 17 Native American peoples on special reservations distributed in California and Arizona, but also in Mexico. The largest city in the desert is Phoenix, in Arizona, with more than four million inhabitants, on the Salt River.

The next largest city is also known, Tucson, in southern Arizona, with about a million inhabitants, and Mexicali, in Baja California.

Tourism in the Sonoran Desert

They say that this desert surprises those who visit it for the first time. Dry, vast and very interesting for those who enjoy exploring the great outdoors on foot, by bike, by car. Yes indeed, there can be no exploration without some navigation system because you can easily get lost and ... well, have a bad time. Do not relax thinking that the mobile solves everything, it does not hurt to have a paper map since it does not drop the battery or lose the signal, something common in the desert.

Besides a GPS device too should bring water and commit to drinking a liter per hour, and food. Clothing is also an important item because the weather is extreme: it can be very hot or very cold, depending on the time of year or the adventure you choose to do that will take you, perhaps, to mountains or canyons.

El Sonora Desert National Monument It was established in January 2001, under President Clinton, to protect the entire area and its ecosystem. The truth is that it is from a biodiversity tremendous: from mountain ranges separated by wide valleys to saguaro cactus forests, typical of here. In addition to the flora and fauna, the protected area also has important historical sites.

There are rocks with cave paintings, quarries where prehistoric artifacts have been found, remains of permanent settlements, cradle of current native peoples and remains of ancient historical routes like the Mormon Battalion Trail, the Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail or the Butterfield Overland Stage Route ...

Between the sites of interest within the park we can talk about some. For example, him Saguaro National Park. The saguaro is a rare cactus that sometimes takes human forms. It is unique in the area and can reach great heights, to the point that it is currently a protected species. The park has two zones, the east and the west, and they are open from sunrise to sunset, except on Christmas Day. There are visitor centers in both areas and it costs $ 5 to enter on foot or by bike.

Another interesting site is the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. It is a wild, mountainous park, with a beautiful collection of plants where the organ pipe cactus is the star, the tallest cactus in the country. There is a visitor center, which is only closed on federal holidays. It is high season in February, March and April. There is also the Lake Havasu State Park, one of the most popular lakes produced by dams on the Colorado River.

This lake is known for its London bridge, from where the view is landscaped, more because it looks towards an English village with Tudor buildings included. It is quite picturesque. Lake Havasu City was born after the construction of the Parker Dam and is a city that offers many things. You can also do many watersports and attracts tourists all year round. You can go boating, go fishing and do activities billboards.  In the surroundings there are Historic mines, abandoned villages, trails of geological importance...

El Katcher Caverns State Park focuses on the Katchner Caverns discovered in the 70s. Is a huge cavern, with two rooms the size of soccer fields, and today it can be explored following a tour that allows you to appreciate its internal multicolored beauty. This site is open every day from 7 am to 30 pm and tours depart every 6 minutes. It only closes at Christmas.

El Pico Picacho State Park It is on Interstate 10 in southern Arizona and has this very tall mountain. There are s that allow you to appreciate the beauty of the landscape and it is best to do it in spring for the wild flowers. It has a visitor center with a tent and a camping area, a picnic area ... Here, during the American Civil War, the Battle of Paso Picacho took place and every year, in March, there is a reenactment of the historical battle.

Speaking of historical sites here in the Sonoran Desert another attraction is the Yuma Territorial Prison, living museum of the old west. More than 3 criminals passed through here, during the 33 years that the prison was in operation, y entre 1876 1909. The guard tower and the adobe cells are very well preserved so the visit is interesting. This site is in Arizona and you can get to know it if you decide to get to know the Yuma area in turn.

The prison is in the heart of the Sonoran Desert and the area is one of the sunniest in the country so it is super hot… But it is interesting if you like the history of the Old West. If so, add the visit to the Yuma Crossing Historical Park with its old buildings and means of transport, witnesses of that time.

Finally, we have the Arizona Desert Museum - Sonora. She combination of a natural history museum, a zoo, and a botanical garden. There are interpretive exhibits with live animals, living in their own territories, and something like five kilometers of trails that go into the desert. The landscapes are beautiful and the best time to visit is from September to October, when the weather is mild.

The museum has several sections: the Cactus Garden, the Hummingbird Aviary, the Cat Canyon, the reptile and invertebrate area, the caves and their minerals… There are many sections to explore and each one offers wonderful landscapes. It's a natural oasis.

So far a sample of what the Sonoran Desert has in store for us. If these landscapes are your thing, the truth is that It is a destination not to be missed in the United States.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *