13480
Arizona/California

On the Road: Saguaro, Joshua Tree & Death Valley National Parks

Explore the warmth of these great American deserts — the Sonoran and Mojave — and the National Parks of Saguaro, Joshua tree and Death Valley on the journey of a lifetime.
Rating (4.85)
Program No. 13480RJ
Length
10 days
Starts at
2,099

At a Glance

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.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles on varied terrain. Elevations up to 3,000 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy in-depth, expert-led exploration of Saguaro, Joshua Tree and Death Valley national parks.
  • Visit the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum in Tucson, Yuma’s Territorial Prison and picturesque Zabriskie Point and Bad Water in Death Valley.
  • Ride the thrilling Palm Springs Aerial Tramway and enjoy a festive Palm Springs street fair.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Bruce Banker
Bruce Banker is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, where he studied natural sciences and geology. He lives in Flagstaff and has worked for the National Park Service as a naturalist on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Bruce also serves as an outdoor educator for the Grand Canyon Field Institute. Bruce has taken students to many of the far-flung corners of the Southwest and has a few good stories to share.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Erica Tucker
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Bruce Banker
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Desert Solitaire
by Edward Abbey
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.
Death Valley and the Northern Mojave
by Tweed, William C. and Davis, Lauren
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.
Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water
by Reisner, Marc
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
A Natural History of the Sonoran Desert
by Patricia Wentworth Comus (Editor)
"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.
Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis
by Glennon, Robert
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.
Joshua Tree National Park Geology
by Trent. D. D. and Hazlett, Richard W.
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.
Cactus Tracks and Cowboy Philosophy
by Black, Baxter
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.





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