Sonoran Desert
Palm triee in Sonoran Desert in southeastern CaliforniaThe Sonoran Desert covers 120,000 square miles in southwestern Arizona, southeastern California, Baja California and the Mexican state of Sonora. These photos were taken in California near the Coachella Valley.

Cactus in the Sonoran Desert, southeastern CaliforniaSonoran Desert, southeastern CaliforniaSonoran Desert in southeastern California

A Palm Oasis

A plam oasis in the Sonoran DesertThe California Fan Palm is also known as the Desert Palm since it is drought resistant. It can grow up to 60 feet high and its crown spreads to up to 15 feet.

The California Fan Palm

Caslifornia palms damaged by fire

These palms were in a fire. The trunks are still black but they continued to grow and are green on top.

California fan palms in the Sonoran DesertSan Andreas Fault

San Adreas Fault in southeastern CaliforniaThe San Andreas Fault runs through about 800 miles of California. It is formed by a meeting of the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate. These photos are from the Indio Hills area.

San Andreas Fault in southeastern CaliforniaExploring the San Andreas Fault in southeastern CaliforniaSan Andreas Fault in southeastern California

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24 Responses to Desert

  1. Tim says:

    I was just recently in the Andreas Valley in Southern California and your photos depict the area exactly. I saw the fan palms with the burnt trunks that are very much alive and doing well on top. A stunning landscape all round.


  2. jacquiegum says:

    It all looks so dry and desolate! Laugh! I have to admit that I prefer seaside and green:)


  3. Suzanne Fluhr says:

    Your photos bring the place to life for me. I’m impressed by the resilience of the burnt palm trees. I’ve seen the San Andreas fault in California and it scares me that one of my sisters lives practically on top of it.


  4. Joseph Nebus says:

    Well, wow. That’s all just fantastic-looking.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lenie5860 says:

    I never knew Palm Trees grew in the desert – they must be tremendously strong to withstand drought and fire – amazing. I loved seeing the picture of the SUV, it almost looked like you were going to be caught there. Great photos and history.


  6. Ajay says:

    It looks so dry, though the pictures are just amazing. Those half green palm trees are the major point of attraction here for me.


  7. Nice – but – nothing compared to the beauty of the desert in Saudi Arabia:-)


  8. Andy says:

    Imagine being a saguaro cactus, motionlessly baking in the hot sun. Or a sidewinder S-ing through the sand, a roadrunner (beep beep!) darting to and fro, a Gila monster hiding under a rock. I don’t think I could handle living in a desert, it would be too much for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve always been drawn to desert landscapes, but have often wondered if I’d change my tune if no air conditioning was easily within each 😉 I’ve not been to the Sonoran Desert, but have spent time in Arches, Bryce, Zion, Capitol Reef, and Canyonlands. I think it was in Desert Solataire that Edward Abbey pointed out how in the desert nothing is wasted. The plants and animals must make the best use of what precious water their is, so things are more in balance than in lush landscapes where water is plentiful. I guess the economy of life that way is what appeals to me the most.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. cheryltherrien says:

    These are great photos. However, I also prefer sandy beaches and ocean to desert. I must say that this is the first time I have seen actual photos of the San Andreas fault area. Cool…


    • Jack W.. says:

      The best visit by car to see the twisted geologic effects of the San Andreas Fault is Mecca Canyon which connects Mecca to Interstate 10. It can be accessed either from Mecca or the Interstate 10 turn off. The north side of that Interstate 10 turnoff on a one day exploration trip leads to Joshua Tree National Monument and Twenty Nine Palms. Visiting both areas is worth the time spent. The crossroad is about 10 miles east of the Coachella Valley on Interstate 10, going up the Chiriaco Grade. Be sure to take a camera to take home photos of fantastic formations. That area of the Lower Colorado iver Desert between Coachella Valley and Blythe is known as a creosote Desert, because that is the predominant plant. The California part has no Sahuaro cacti, because there is not enough rainfall. There is only one species of cactus that dominates a small area of that part of the Sonora Desert. It is the largest species of Opuntia in California, but few people have seen it, because it is not easily accessible. It lies south of Chiriaco Summit between there and Imperial Valley within a former Navy Bombing Range that is posted off limits because of possibly encountering unexploded bombs. Jack Ward

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Fabulous photos! I’ve always wanted to go here. I loved Joshua tree & the Mohave desert, so this is next on the list. Amazing Palm trees. Almost like a different plant in the wild.


  12. andleeb says:

    I see desert everyday but I was wondering the color of sand in Sonoran Desert is totally different then Arabian Desert.
    I have never seen a palm tree with burnt trunks.
    In second picture, I thought it is a snake near type of cactus tree.
    The pictures are beautiful.


  13. Thx for this photo diary, Ken. I, too, love the desert. Or … I should say … I love desert oases. Palm trees and sand are a lovely combination.


  14. Meredith says:

    I love your photo posts Ken! I really like those pics of the San Andreas Fault. So massive.


  15. I’ve traveled throughout multiple parts of AZ and NM–love that region of the US and your pics do it justice. I think it’s time for another adventure there!


  16. I can’t believe you drove on the fault line, I think I’d freak out. I didn’t realize there was an “actual” fault line that you could see, or drive on. Coachella isn’t that the scene of a big musical festival each year?


    • Ken Dowell says:

      There isn’t really a single visible fault line. It is just the area where the two different rock formations meet. And yes this is very close to where the Coachcella Music Festival is held. Less than 5 miles.


  17. Wow the photos are beautiful. Thanks for the photo diary.
    Thank you x


  18. Thank you for sharing this post. It is amazing how much beauty and life exists in something when you first look at seems desolate.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Jason @ says:

    I rode through part of this desert while I was on my interstate 10 trip a couple years ago. It was interesting to me because before then I had only saw the desert on TV or high above it in an airplane.


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