CALIFORNIA

DESERT

The California Desert’s climate and terrain is unlike any other part of The Golden State.

First, there’s Death Valley National Park. Spanning 3.4-million acres, it’s the largest National Park outside of Alaska. Despite its ominous name which suggests a lifeless landscape, the Valley is very much alive with kaleidoscopic peaks, sand dunes and basins – particularly colorful when the sun falls into the desert backdrop.

Further south near Palm Springs, there’s Joshua Tree National Park: the 800,000-acre crossroads of the Colorado and Mojave Desert ecosystems. Known for its distinguished desert vegetation—like its namesake trees and its distinct topography—everyone from avid rock climbers to enamored stargazers flock here to soak up a bit of the atmosphere.

And what would a California Desert Vacation be without a stay at a chic, yet quirky property in Palm Springs? From its abundant golf courses and poolside cabanas nestled against the neighboring mountain range, to its vibrant arts, music (one word: Coachella) and architectural scene, Palm Springs and nearby desert towns are not to be missed.

While we know you’ll be wowed just looking out your car window at the captivating hues of the contrasting natural formations, step outside with us to reap the rewards of the California Desert – the land of boundless adventure.

HIGHLIGHTS

DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK


DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK

Death Valley is a landscape of superlatives. It’s the largest national park in the continental United States, has within it the lowest point in North America and holds the record for the highest recorded temperature on the continent.

But for all that heat – and despite its name – there is still a lot of life to be found here. And your Death Valley vacation is one likely to be rife with surprising colors and unexpected vibrancy. Verdant oases provide refuge from the extreme desert environment. The volcanic landscape known as Artist’s Palette has rolling hills colored purple, green, blue and brown. And the park is full of towering sand dunes, expansive salt flats, and seemingly endless mountains to be seen, explored or simply marveled.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Though the scenery is stark at times there’s an abundance of activities to take part in during your Death Valley vacation. Arrive early to Zabriskie Point and you’ll be rewarded with a photographer’s dream as the weathered canyons glow in the morning light. Then it’s on to the iconic salt flats at Badwater Basin, among the largest protected flats in the world at nearly 200 square miles. Explore the sand dunes at Mesquite Flat and you’ll understand why this otherworldly locale was the perfect stand-in for Tatooine’s Dune Sea in the original Star Wars movies. And with that in mind, end the day stargazing as never before – Death Valley’s remote location and dry, desert air make it an ideal spot for quiet, nighttime contemplation.

COMBINE WITH
> Las Vegas
> California Desert
> Yosemite National Park

JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK


JOSHUA TREE NATIONAL PARK

There’s a sense of stepping back in time upon first setting foot in Joshua Tree. The landscape is strange and prehistoric – giant, surreal rock formations and the peculiar, skyward facing limbs of the Park’s namesake trees dot an otherwise stark, desert tableau. It’s that feeling – of experiencing something ancient and enduring – that fondly lingers long after your return home.

Joshua Tree stands as the meeting point for two deserts – the Colorado and the Mojave – providing two vastly different ecosystems to explore during your vacation. Though it may seem sparce upon first glance, the longer you’re there, the more of its vitality and beauty you’ll uncover.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Begin your Joshua Tree vacation with a private bicycling tour along the San Andreas Fault to the heart of grape country near Mecca. After breakfast the next morning, your guide will lead you on a rugged 4-wheel drive Hummer expedition through the Park’s many canyons. You’ll stop along the way to view a beautiful oasis, hike at scenic overlooks and explore the remnants of old mining settlements before enjoying a gourmet picnic lunch at the perfect picturesque spot. Brush up on your climbing skills with a private rock climbing lesson, tailored to your experience and comfort, before heading to Palm Springs for a tour of the city’s iconic ‘desert modernism’ architecture.

COMBINE WITH
> Palm Springs
> Los Angeles, Beverly Hills & Santa Monica
> San Diego

PALM SPRINGS


PALM SPRINGS

If a Palm Springs vacation was good enough for decades for Elvia, Sinatra and his Rat Pack comrades, it’s sure to be a hit with today’s sun- and adventure-seekers. Fans come for the mid-century ‘retro-modern’ vibe, world-class golf, fantastic dining, omnipresent sun and charming desert towns. There’s everything from the star-studded Coachella music festival to ultra-chic boutique hotels, rock climbing in Joshua Tree to artistic afternoons with the works of Henry Moore, Ed Ruscha and Dale Chihuly. It’s the ultimate warm-weather escape, with appeal for all ages and all interests – in a beautiful natural environment, to boot.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Discover Palm Springs on two wheels as you set out for an afternoon of guided cycling along the San Andreas Fault. With no cross roads, no turns and minimal traffic, this tour to the heart of grape country near Mecca is a relaxing sightseeing adventure. Take in the narrow canyon walls of Box Canyon, the Salton Sea, Mount San Jacinto, the All-American Canal and the eastern Coachella Valley. Set out on four wheels for Joshua Tree National Park, meeting point of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts, where your guide will lead you on a rugged 4WD expedition in a Hummer through the canyons and surrounding area. Hike to scenic overlooks and remnants of mining settlements, learning about the flora, fauna and history of the region along the way. Those with a thirst for the vertical can meet up with a private local guide for a morning rock-climbing adventure in the park – there are also great climbs for kids. And for those for whom the architecture of Palm Springs strikes a chord, tour the area and get up to date on the Hollywood stars that played and built homes here, and the architects, builders and designers who defined Palm Springs’ iconic “desert modernism” style. Visit Sunnylands, built in the 1960s by A. Quincy Jones and a choice retreat for world leaders over the years.

COMBINE WITH
> San Diego
> Los Angeles, Beverly Hills & Santa Monica

SIGN UP, JOIN THE EXPERIENCE