Road Scholar : Home
On the Road: America’s Great Deserts and Their National Parks

Program Number: 13480RJ
Start and End Dates:
2/28/2015 - 3/9/2015; 11/7/2015 - 11/16/2015;
Duration: 9 nights
Location: Tucson, Arizona
Price starting at: $1,645.00 - Price may vary based on date, departure city
Program Type: On the Road; National Parks; Natural History
Meals: 25; 9 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 8 Dinners    
Meal Options: Vegetarian; Gluten Free    

Deserts are this nation's unexplored wilderness, harboring rare and endangered plants and animals and sheltering hidden oases. And deserts are landscapes changed by humans — to be made to bloom, to be mined for wealth, to tame its wild rivers. With stories of fortunes won and lost, conflict and controversy, these landscapes have been formed and reformed by nature's time and human struggle. Explore these great American deserts — the Sonoran and Mojave — cut by the life-giving Colorado River, and experience their warmth and richness in a journey of a lifetime.


• Experience these dramatically different National Parks and American deserts with in-depth exploration of Saguaro, Joshua Tree and Death Valley.
• Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Yuma's Territorial Prison, and historic Scotty’s Castle in Death Valley.
• Ride the thrilling Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and enjoy a festive Palm Springs street fair.

Activity Particulars

Walking up to two miles on uneven terrain.

Itinerary Summary

Arrival Tucson, Ariz., 2 nights; coach to Yuma, 1 night; coach to Palm Springs, Calif., 3 nights; coach to Death Valley National Park, 3 nights; coach Las Vegas, Nev., departure.

Coordinated by Northern Arizona University.


Cactus forests, craggy mountains and rolling hills surround this temperate city, which lies in the borderlands of the U.S. and Mexico. The region reflects a blending of the two cultures, along with a history of Native American settlement. The city is dotted with museums, galleries and parks that celebrate this natural and historical diversity.

Palm Springs

Originally a recreational oasis for Hollywood’s famous, Palm Springs is still an indulgent getaway a hundred years later. The desert town, surrounded by breathtaking canyons and natural hot mineral springs, offers 125 golf courses, tennis, hiking and the Fabulous Palm Springs Follies all within a two-hour drive of Los Angeles.

Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua Tree comprises nearly 800,000 acres of California’s most interesting geology arranged in a stark, wind-shaped landscape that gives way to the colors of desert vegetation with the unpredictable arrival of rain and moderate weather. Two desert ecosystems meet here, including the Mojave, habitat for the strange tree for which the park is named.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley, a place of unexpected contrasts, is also one of subtle beauty. From the blush of dawn's light across its badlands to the awe-inspiring red-gold sunsets and the riot of color from spring wildflowers, this great national park covering over 3.3 million miles offers fascinating history and nature's splendor in large servings.


The otherwise wide Colorado River narrows to 1,000 feet at Yuma Crossing, giving rise to an important steamboat stop that would become the gateway between the New Mexico Territory and what is now California. Today Yuma serves the lower portion of the Sonoran Desert National Monument and is home to the famous Yuma Territorial Prison Historic Park.

Tucson and Yuma: Modern hotels. Desert Hot Springs: Resort/spa with large pool. Death Valley: Furnace Creek Ranch with mineral-spring-heated pool, 18-hole golf course.

Road Scholar Instructors
These instructors are participating on at least one date of this program. Please note that changes may occur.
Richard Stephens

Rich has been director of Northern Arizona University’s highly popular Road Scholar programs since 2001. He previously spent many years in the field as a program coordinator and group leader, where he honed his skills and learned the importance of detailed, pre-trip planning. Before making his home in Arizona’s spectacular red-rock country, Rich spent 10 years in Yosemite National Park and the Santa Cruz mountains as an environmental educator.
Matt Turner

Matt Turner has lived in the Southwest since 1982 and currently resides in Prescott, Ariz. He has traveled extensively in the region and has done work in field ecology and cartography. In addition, Matt is an ecological consultant and a professional photographer.
Meals and Lodgings
   Hilton Garden Inn Tucson
  Tucson. AZ 2 nights
   Wingate Hotel
  Yuma, AZ 1 night
   Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
  Desert Hot Springs, CA 3 nights
   Furnace Creek Ranch
  Death Valley, CA 3 nights
 Hilton Garden Inn Tucson
Type: Hotel
  Description: The Hilton Garden Inn Tucson Airport hotel is one mile from Tucson International Airport (TUS) and minutes from downtown.
  Contact info: 6575 South Country Club Road
Tucson, AZ 85756 USA
phone: 520-741-0505
  Room amenities: The Garden Sleep SystemT, Feather Pillows Non Allergenic, Complimentary WiFi access, LCD Flat Panel TV, Premium HBO,CNN,ESPN, Safe, Coffee Maker, Hairdryer, Iron/Ironing Board, Microwave, Mini Refrigerator.
  Facility amenities: Complimentary 24-hour Tucson International Airport shuttle including destinations within a 5 mile radius of the hotel. 24-hour Business Center and complimentary WiFi access, Photo Copying Service and Printer. Fitness center and outdoor pool, 24 hr Pavilion Pantry Market, Baggage Storage, Lounge, Coin Laundry, Elevators.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes
  Additional nights prior: Contact Hotel for Rate Contact Hotel for Rate.
  Check in time: 3:00 PM

 Wingate Hotel
Type: Hotel
  Description: Located in Yuma, AZ, one of the warmest, sunniest locations in Arizona, close to shopping, restaurants with a wide range of cuisines, golf, hiking, fishing and sightseeing.
  Contact info: 1760 Sunridge Dr
Yuma, AZ 85364 USA
phone: 928-783-1400
  Room amenities: Air conditioned, Hair dryers, coffee makers, irons and ironing boards, cordless phones, safe in room, microwave, refrigerator, cable TV and On Demand movies, 24 hour sundry shop.
  Facility amenities: 100% no smoking facility, outdoor pool and Jacuzzi, wired and wireless Internet, handicap facilities, wheel chair access, indoor corridors and elevator, fitness center, guest laundromat, gift shop, free fax and copy service, pool table.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
Type: Resort
  Description: Eight pools are scattered around the property. The largest is kept at about 80 degrees. The smaller pools bubble and percolated at about 104 soothing degrees. All of the pools are fed directly from the mineral waters of Desert Hot Springs.
  Contact info: 10625 Palm Dr
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240 USA
phone: 800-400-4414
  Room amenities: See web link below.
  Facility amenities: A variety of massages, facials, body therapies and spa treatments in addition to the mineral water hot springs.
  Smoking allowed: No
  Elevators available: Yes

 Furnace Creek Ranch
Type: Resort
  Description: Furnace Creek Ranch is a complete resort fashioned on the grounds of the original working ranch and later the housing for the 20 mule team operation. Located in Death Valley National Park, the Ranch offers hiking in adjacent canyons, swimming, golf, tennis and horseback riding.
  Contact info: Hwy 190
Death Valley, CA 92328 USA
phone: 760-786-2345
  Room amenities: A/C, TV, phone, in-room coffee maker, hair dryer, phone.
  Facility amenities: Three restaurants, a cocktail lounge, an outdoor, spring-fed, geothermal swimming pool - always at 82 degrees, lighted tennis courts, an 18 hole golf course (lowest elevation course in the world), a gift shop and a general store.
  Smoking allowed: Yes
  Additional nights after: Seasonal. Call Furnace Creek for rates applicable to your stay.
  Check out time: 11:00 AM

Travel Details
  Start of Program:
Road Scholar registration in hotel meeting room from 4:30 - 5:15 p.m. This program begins in Tucson and ends in Las Vegas. Most airlines will book flights that arrive Tucson and depart from Las Vegas. You will be staying at Hilton Garden Inn Tucson that night.
  End of Program:
Drop off at Las Vegas, McCarran Airport by 11:15 a.m. You will be staying at Furnace Creek Ranch the night before.
  Required documents:
The Road Scholar Health & Safety Form is required.
  Parking availability:
Parking is free for the length of the program.
To Start of Program
  Location:  Tucson. AZ
  Nearest city or town:  Tucson, AZ
  Nearest highway: Interstate 10
  Nearest airport:  Tucson, AZ
  From End of Program
  Location:  Departures
Travel Details

Hilton Garden Inn Tucson Airport


From Airport




Hotel Shuttle
Hilton Garden Inn Tucson Airport
phone: 520-741-0505


Per Person/One Way:


Prices are subject to change.


Travel Time:


Travel time from airport to hotel upon shuttle pick up is 10 minutes. 




2 miles


Call Hilton Garden Inn once you have retrieved your luggage in the baggage claim area.

Driving Directions
  Hilton Garden Inn Tucson Airport from I-10 eastbound Take Interstate -10 east and take exit 264A for Palo Verde Road south. Travel south on Palo Verde Road approximately 2 miles. Turn right on E. Valencia Road. Turn left on S. Country Club Road. The hotel will be on the left.
  Hilton Garden Inn Tucson Airport from I-10 westbound Take Interstate -10 west and take exit 267 and Valencia Road. Turn left onto E. Valencia Road. Continue about 2.5 miles and turn left on S. Country Club Rd. The hotel will be on the left.
Elevation Note: We will visit two locations above 3000 feet. Those with heart/lung conditions should consult doctor.

The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Daily Schedule

Day 1: Registration and Check In/Orientation and Introductions
(Saturday, February 28)
 Afternoon: Hotel Check in after 3:00 PM. Rooms may be available earlier based upon demand, call hotel for request.
Northern Arizona University Road Scholar program registration from 4:30 - 5:15 PM in the hotel meeting room. Meet your program coordinator and receive your program folder, name tag, the up to date schedule and other important information we will review during Orientation.
Beginning at 5:30 PM in the hotel meeting room, your coordinator will provide an in-depth program orientation, review the schedule and lead group introductions. Come prepare for an adventurous week of learning and new friends!
Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.
 Dinner: After Orientation enjoy a buffet dinner in the Tucson Hilton Garden Inn conference room. Dinner will include salad, a hot entree with sides and dessert. There is also hotel bar located in the lobby. Entrees will include a vegetarian and gluten free option for those that enroll as such.
 Evening: At leisure. Take the rest of the evening to settle in, relax, and get a good night's sleep for the full day ahead tomorrow.
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Tucson
Meals Included: Dinner

Day 2: Saguaro National Park West / Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
(Sunday, March 1)

Note: Prepare to be on your feet for a good part of the day. The walking distance at Saguaro National Park will be about 1/2 mile on a paved trail and on a level gravel dry stream bed. There will be multiple stops to discuss desert flora and fauna. The visit to the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum will be a self guide, self paced experience. The museum trails are generally gravel with some rolling hills. Walk as much or as little as you like.

 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: Travel to Saguaro National Park Western District Visitor Center. Enjoy the spectacular desert video showing.This National Park is home to the world’s most recognized cactus, the majestic saguaro. Visitors of all ages are fascinated and enchanted by these desert giants, especially their many interesting and complex interrelationships with other desert life. A guided walk among the desert vegetation by your naturalist coordinator will be offered. Arrive at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum before lunch.
 Lunch: Enjoy lunch at the Ironwood Terrace at the Arizona - Sonora Desert Museum.
 Afternoon: After lunch explore the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum on your own. A museum map will help guide participants to the many fascinating exhibits, natural areas and trails. Special presentations, docent staffed exhibit tables and the famous "Raptor Free Flight Program" will be available. Stunning and often odd live desert flora and fauna are on display throughout the museum.
 Dinner: Festive dinner at Macayo's Mexican restaurant.
 Evening: After dinner your coordinator will discuss travel plans and logistics for the next day's travel.
Accommodations: Hilton Garden Inn Tucson
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 3: Lower Colorado River/Yuma Territorial Prison State Park/Colorado River Water Issues
(Monday, March 2)

Note: In Yuma there will be an optional one mile walk from the downtown area to the Yuma Territorial Prison along the banks of the Colorado River and Gateway Park.

 Breakfast: Hot breakfast at the hotel restaurant.
 Morning: After breakfast, depart for Yuma, AZ - (approximately 3.5 hours, 245 miles). Along the way we travel through the Sonoran Desert National Monument and follow the course of the Gila River on its route to the Colorado River. Dramatic changes in the desert landscape will be experienced on this day as we travel from the relatively lush Tucson portion of the Sonoran Desert to the dry lower Colorado River portion. Features and stories of historic and regional significance will be pointed out and discussed along the travel route.
 Lunch: Lunch at Lute's "Casino". Lute's has been a Yuma landmark for generations. It is full of interesting and zany trappings and it is where the locals gather to eat lunch.
 Afternoon: In Yuma enjoy a docent lead tour of the famous Yuma Territorial Prison Historic Park. Considered the top attraction in Yuma - steep yourself in the history of the old west with a docent lead tour of the park museum and prison grounds. Enjoy sweeping views of the Colorado River and area landmarks in the distance.
 Dinner: Dinner at EAT Asian Buffet. Enjoy a wide variety of Chinese entrees in addition to sushi, salad and dessert stations.
 Evening: An evening presentation on Western Water and the Colorado River system by former US Bureau of Reclamation manager Jim Cherry will be offered.
Accommodations: Wingate Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4: Algodones Dunes / Salton Sea / Desert Hot Springs
(Tuesday, March 3)

Note: There will be an opportunity to walk on a sand dune at the Algodones dune field.

 Breakfast: Continental breakfast at the hotel.
 Morning: After breakfast, load luggage and travel to Desert Hot Springs (175 miles). The group will travel through the Imperial Valley which lies mostly below sea level and is one of the richest agricultural areas in the US. Valley features include the Algodones Sand Dune Field, the Imperial hydrothermal area, and the Salton Sea. The Salton Sea was created in 1905 when Imperial Valley irrigators broke a levee and allowed the Colorado River to overflow its banks and fill this below sea level basin. Stops for viewing these interesting features will be made at appropriate places and times.
 Lunch: Box lunch on the shore of the Salton Sea at Salton Sea State Park.
 Afternoon: Continue travel to Miracle Springs Resort and Spa in Desert Hot Springs California. Before arriving in the Palm Springs/Desert Hot Springs area, we will travel through the Coachella Valley, the “Date Palm Capital” of the world. We will stop at the Oasis Date Garden to sample some of the many variety of dates. If you are adventurous you can treat yourself to a date milk shake!
 Dinner: Dinner at the Miracle Springs Resort and Spa in Desert Hot Springs.
 Evening: Evening presentation by Jona Kalayjian on the human and natural history of the Cahuilla and Agua Caliente native people.
Accommodations: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Joshua Tree National Park
(Wednesday, March 4)

Note: An optional one mile hike in Hidden Valley (Joshua Tree) will be offered. The trail is made up of gravel and some exposed rock surfaces. The trail is generally on gently rolling terrain but there are a couple areas that have a series of stone steps (newly reworked by the Park Service trail crew) that must be negotiated with extra care. The overall ascend up and down is about 20 - 30 feet at each location.

 Breakfast: A full hot breakfast will be served at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for Joshua Tree National Park. Two deserts whose characteristics are determined primarily by elevation, come together at Joshua Tree National Park. Below 3,000 feet, the Colorado Desert encompasses the eastern part of the park and feature creosote bush, ocotillo, and cholla cactus. The higher and slightly cooler Mojave Desert is the habitat of the Joshua tree. The park also contains many fantastic geologic formations. Fan palm groves dot the park, indicating areas where water occurs naturally and wildlife abounds. We will stop at the Twenty-nine Palms Visitor Center on our way to Keys View (5185 feet above sea level). This outstanding view point overlooks the Coachella Valley which includes the Salton Sea and the San Andreas Fault Zone.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch at Hidden Valley picnic area in the park.
 Afternoon: We continue our Joshua Tree NP visit with an optional one mile hike into Hidden Valley on an rough unpaved trail that winds between unique desert plants including Joshua trees, and spectacular granite boulders; and leads us through the legendary cattle rustlers hideout.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Miracle Hot Springs Resort.
 Evening: Evening presentation by local historian Dean Gray on the pioneer history of Desert Hot Springs, the "Colorado Desert" and Coachella Valley.
Accommodations: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 6: Palm Springs Aerial Tramway/ Palm Springs Street Fair
(Thursday, March 5)

Note: Expect much cooler temperature and possibly snow on the ground at the Palm Spring Tram Mountain Station. An optional hike in Long Valley will be offered depending on weather and trail conditions. From the station, a 200 yard long paved walkway descends to the valley floor. The 3/4 mile Long Valley Nature Trail Loop (relatively level) and the 1.5 mile Desert View Loop (some elevation gain and uneven footing) both start from the bottom of the walkway.

 Breakfast: A full hot breakfast will be served at the hotel.
 Morning: Depart for the the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway. This is truly an engineering marvel and a breathtaking experience. Starting from an elevation of 2,643 feet at the Valley Station the tram will transport the group to the Mountain Station at an elevation of 8,516 feet. At the Mountain Station enjoy sweeping views of the Coachella Valley, the Salton Sea and Joshua Tree National Park. Trails lead into the San Jacinto Wilderness. Plenty of time for gazing and exploring (including a small museum and 2 videos) will be offered.
 Lunch: Lunch will be at the Top of the Tram Cafe.
 Afternoon: Return by approximately 2:00 pm and enjoy a free afternoon at the Miracle Springs resort and Spa in Desert Hot Springs. This is a perfect time to relax by the pools or schedule a spa treatment at the resort.
 Dinner: Dinner on your own. If you choose to go to the Palm Springs Street Fair there will be numerous food and dining options.For those who decide not go to the Street Fair there is a restaurant located at the hotel.
 Evening: A trip to the Palm Springs Street Fair will be offered this evening. Arts and crafts booths, food stalls and open shops all make for a festive evening of browsing and shopping.
Accommodations: Miracle Springs Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Death Valley National Park Through The Mojave Desert
(Friday, March 6)
 Breakfast: A full hot breakfast will be served at the hotel.
 Morning: This will be our longest travel day but we will break up the miles by taking the scenic back roads en route to Death Valley National Park (280 miles) through the Mojave Desert. Our morning travels will take us past Amboy Crater Volcanic Field and then through the spectacular Mojave National Preserve to the Train Depot in the tiny outpost of Kelso. The newly renovated Kelso Train Depot is a National Park Service visitor center and museum with excellent exhibits and bookstore.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the grounds of the historic Kelso Depot.
 Afternoon: Arrive in Death Valley National Park
 Dinner: Enjoy dinner at the Furnace Creek Ranch Wrangler Buffet and Steakhouse. A nightly entree will be offered. A vegetarian option will be available for those that registered as such.
 Evening: Free Evening.
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8: Intro to Death Valley/Zabriskie Point/Golden Canyon Trail
(Saturday, March 7)

Note: The optional Golden Canyon Trail proceeds along the bottom of the canyon floor. Except for a small step- up at the beginning, the natural gravel trail is mostly level (dry stream gradient). There is a customary turn around place at one mile but further exploration up the canyon is possible, time permitting.This is an in an out the same way trail so one can go as far as one wishes and then turn around.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a generous breakfast buffet at the Furnace Creek Ranch Wrangler Buffet and Steakhouse.
 Morning: Time to explore the park! For a unique experience we will drive to and explore "Bad Water". Bad Water (salt flat lake) encompasses the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level and is the driest place in North America with an average rainfall of only 1.96 inches a year. This first excursion into the park is a perfect introduction to Death Valley’s many and varied landscapes. Make sure that you have plenty of film (or memory) in your camera. NOTE: Death Valley National Park has announced that Zabriskie Point will be closed to the public through March 2015 for renovations and repairs to the viewpoint. We will substitute this stop and continue our touring to one or more of the many fascinating points of scenic and/or cultural interest in the park.
 Lunch: Lunch at the Furnace Creek Ranch Wrangler Buffet and Steakhouse.
 Afternoon: Optional Hike on the Golden Canyon Trail. This trail provides a beautiful window into the heart of Death Valley. At the entrance to Golden Canyon you have a sweeping view across Death Valley toward the Panamint Mountains. The narrow, deep shape of the side canyons of Death Valley, such as Golden Canyon, indicate that the uplift of the mountains is relatively recent, consistent with other evidence that the landscape of Death Valley is quite young.
 Dinner: Dinner at the Furnace Creek Ranch Wrangler Buffet and Steakhouse. A nightly entree will be offered. A vegetarian option will be available for those that registered as such.
 Evening: If available and scheduled by the National Park Service in the Furnace Creek area an evening ranger program will be offered.
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9: Death Valley National Park/Ubehebe Crater/Scotty's Castle/Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes
(Sunday, March 8)

Note: An opportunity to walk in the Stovepipe Wells (Mesquite) dune field will be offered.

 Breakfast: Enjoy a generous breakfast buffet at the Furnace Creek Ranch Wrangler Buffet and Steakhouse.
 Morning: The entire group travels to the northern part of Park. First we visit Ubehebe Crater – a colorful geologic wonder. Then it is on to Death Valley Ranch or, as it is better known, Scotty's Castle. Nestled deep in an oasis-like canyon, this historic home showcases technological innovation and unequaled craftsmanship in a remote desert location. A place full of the mystery surrounding an incomparable friendship that resulted in the creation of a $2 million dollar vacation home. Today the site is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Guided tour of one hour is included.
 Lunch: Picnic lunch on the grounds of Scotty's Castle.
 Afternoon: On the return trip to Furnace Creek, we will stop for the late afternoon majesty of Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes. A short exploratory walk on the dunes will be offered. Perfect for photos!
 Dinner: Dinner at the Furnace Creek Ranch Wrangler Buffet and Steakhouse. A nightly entree will be offered. A vegetarian option will be available for those that registered as such.
 Evening: Program wrap-up and farewells.
Accommodations: Furnace Creek Ranch
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10: Depart Death Valley En Route to Las Vegas
(Monday, March 9)
 Breakfast: Enjoy a generous breakfast buffet at the Furnace Creek Ranch Wrangler Buffet and Steakhouse.
 Morning: Depart Death Valley via Pahrump Nevada en route to Las Vegas. Program ends at McCarran Airport with participant drop off by approximately 11:15am.
Meals Included: Breakfast
Important information about your itinerary: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy and completeness of the information featured on this website. Itineraries are based on our best information at this time. Circumstances beyond our control may require us to adjust itineraries or other details. We regret any inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding. Information will be sent to you from your Program Provider approximately three weeks prior to the program start date. The prices listed for commercial services and facilities that are not included in the program cost, such as airport shuttles or extra nights lodging, are subject to change without notice. Since Road Scholar cannot guarantee the accuracy of these prices, we strongly suggest contacting the companies directly for the most up-to-date information.

Suggested Reading List

A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert

Author: Patricia Wentworth Comus (Editor)

Description: "Once in a generation, a guide to understanding a major North American landscape comes along. This book is such a touchstone, sure to become a classic. The emphasis here is on biodiversity, mutualism, co-evolution, and, especially, ethno-relationships—the long history of connection between desert peoples and their homeland, on both sides of the border.

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water

Author: Reisner, Marc

Description: The story of the American West is the story of a relentless quest for a precious resource: water. It is a tale of rivers diverted and dammed, of political corruption and intrigue, of billion-dollar battles over water rights, of ecologic and economic disaster. In Cadillac Desert Marc Reisner writes of the earliest settlers, lured by the promise of paradise, and of the ruthless tactics employed by Los Angeles politicians and business interests to ensure the city's growth. Cadillac Desert is a stunning expose and a dramatic, intriguing history of the creation of an Eden--and Eden that may be only a mirage. 608pp

Joshua Tree National Park Geology

Author: Trent. D. D. and Hazlett, Richard W.

Description: This book explores the geology and evolution of the Joshua Tree National Park landscape. Includes sections on plate tectonics, regional geology and the seismic activity that continues to shape this remarkable desert setting. Written for visitors, climbers and students of geology. With many full-color photographs and more than fifty diagrams that clearly illustrate geologic events.

The Southwest

Author: Lavender, David

Description: A historical and cultural overview, including discussions of present-day racial, conservation, and economic problems. Easy reading, fascinating history. 364pp

Death Valley and the Northern Mojave

Author: Tweed, William C. and Davis, Lauren

Description: Features a lively interpretive text that is complimented by maps, detailed directions and 215 color photos. It is the indispensable book to help you explore and enjoy this extraordinary place.

Cactus Tracks and Cowboy Philosophy

Author: Black, Baxter

Description: A complete compilation of all the stories and poetry you've heard Baxter do on NPR, with the unforgettable flavor of Baxter's own brand of cowboy philosophy. Over 250 pages of that bizarre humor that had you laughing out loud while driving to work. Some of you even complained to us about having to pull off the road to avoid a "laughter disaster". You'll also find poignant, more dramatic pieces that brought a smile to your face, or that far away look in your eyes.

Desert Solitaire

Author: Edward Abbey

Description: Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, the noted author's most enduring nonfiction work, is an account of Abbey's seasons as a ranger at Arches National Park outside Moab, Utah. Abbey reflects on the nature of the Colorado Plateau desert, on the condition of our remaining wilderness, and on the future of a civilization that cannot reconcile itself to living in the natural world.

Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis

Author: Glennon, Robert

Description: In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas casinos use billions of gallons of water for fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and indoor canals. Meanwhile, the town of Orme, Tennessee, must truck in water from Alabama because it has literally run out. Robert Glennon captures the irony—and tragedy—of America’s water crisis in a book that is both frightening and wickedly comical. Unquenchable reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry.

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