The magical Mojave Desert

By | Category: Travel news, Travel rumblings

California’s Mojave Desert can be magical at this time of year when wildflower season is in full swing, writes Donna McCrohan Rosenthal

Much of the United States experienced an unusually mild winter. In California, the Mojave Desert all but skipped the season entirely and appears to have entered into spring. With the Sierra Nevada range to the west and Death Valley to the east, this land of cactus and coyotes had purple, yellow and white blooms popping up by late February.

Each year, residents plan outings around the flora and fauna and in the Mojave’s northwest corner in the city of Ridgecrest, Maturango Museum presents its annual Wildflower Show. The Ridgecrest Desert Wildflower Festival, which this year runs from April 13-15, offers arts, crafts, live performers, hands-on activities, plenty of floral items and guided tours to the best viewing locations.

Festival participants include Sierra Odyssey Custom Tours whose owner, Jim Nichols, is looking forward to taking people to showing people the magic carpet of colour. Nichols, who has escorted groups from the China Lake Photographic Society, the California Writers Club and the Sierra Club, says: “How can you not love the Mojave desert? When we’ve had good conditions the previous winter, the hillsides can fill up with colour so extensive that you hate to put your foot down for fear that you’ll crush a blossom. Even when they don’t explode with abundance, you can find the most beautiful arrangement of tiny, delicate flowers clustered together. Plus, you’ve got the scenery: a cactus here, a ghost town there… and vistas reaching into distant horizon everywhere.”

Visitors may also want to explore gift shops on Balsam Street, the books, collectibles and consignment treasures on West Ridgecrest Boulevard, the BLM Wild Horse and Burro Corral Facility on Randsburg Wash Road (approximately four and a half miles east of Ridgecrest off Hwy 178), the U.S. Naval Museum of Armament and last, but by no means least, Technology at China Lake which is free and open to the public Monday-Saturday inclusive.

Need to know
Ridgecrest Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
; 800-VISIT-30

The Maturango Museum
; 760-375-6900


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