Things to do in the vast Red Deserts of the West


Red Desert, also known as the Great Basin Desert, is a vast expanse of land covering parts of Nevada, Utah, Idaho, and California. The desert is home to unique landscapes, stunning rock formations, and a diverse range of flora and fauna.

If you’re planning a trip to Red Desert, there are many exciting things to see and do. In this travel guide, we’ll explore the best attractions and activities in Red Desert and offer tips for planning your trip.


Getting There

The best way to reach Red Desert is by car, as public transportation options are limited. There are several major highways that pass through the desert, including Interstate 80, which runs east-west through the northern part of the region, and US Route 50, also known as the “Loneliest Road in America,” which runs east-west through the southern part of the desert.

If you’re flying into the area, the nearest major airport is Salt Lake City International Airport in Utah, which is about a four-hour drive from the northern part of Red Desert. If you’re planning to explore the southern part of the desert, Las Vegas McCarran International Airport is the closest major airport, located about three hours away.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Red Desert is in the spring or fall, when temperatures are mild and the weather is dry. Summer temperatures can soar well above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making outdoor activities uncomfortable and potentially dangerous. Winter temperatures can dip below freezing, and snowstorms can make some areas of the desert inaccessible.


a. Great Basin National Park

Great Basin National Park is located in eastern Nevada and is home to some of the most stunning landscapes in Red Desert. The park features the towering Wheeler Peak, which is the second-highest peak in Nevada, as well as the Lehman Caves, a stunning underground cave system. The park also offers numerous hiking trails, scenic drives, and opportunities for stargazing.

b. The Bonneville Salt Flats

Located in western Utah, the Bonneville Salt Flats are a vast expanse of white salt that stretches for miles. The flats are popular among speed enthusiasts who come to test their vehicles on the flat surface. The flats are also a popular location for photography and other outdoor activities.

c. Cathedral Gorge State Park

Located in eastern Nevada, Cathedral Gorge State Park is home to unique rock formations and narrow canyons that are a must-see for visitors to Red Desert. The park offers several hiking trails, including the Miller Point Trail, which offers stunning views of the park’s unique formations.

Alvord Desert

d. The Alvord Desert

Located in southeastern Oregon, the Alvord Desert is a vast, flat expanse of dry lake bed that is a popular location for camping, stargazing, and other outdoor activities. The desert is also home to the Alvord Hot Springs, a natural hot spring that is a popular destination for visitors to the area

ruby mountains

e. The Ruby Mountains:

Located in northeastern Nevada, the Ruby Mountains are a stunning range of mountains that offer numerous hiking trails, fishing opportunities, and other outdoor activities. The mountains are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including bighorn sheep, mule deer, and a variety of bird species.

Outdoor Activities

a. Hiking

Red Desert is home to numerous hiking trails, ranging from easy walks to challenging backcountry treks. Some of the most popular trails include the Wheeler Peak Summit Trail in Great Basin National Park, the Miller Point Trail in Cathedral Gorge State Park, and the Lamoille Canyon Trail in the Ruby Mountains.

b. Camping

There are numerous campsites located throughout Red Desert, offering visitors the opportunity to experience the area’s natural beauty up close.


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