It is a misconception that deserts are ill-suited for hiking. Deserts are picturesque, unique, and are perfect for those on the lookout for adventure.Desert hiking may not be everybody's 'thing', so to say. But I'd like to blame this partly on the image that the word 'desert' conjures, and the rest on Hollywood.
Think 'desert' and what comes to mind is the endless expanse of arid sand. This is usually followed by abundant instances of movie scenes where people are left to die in, yes of course, the desert. How else do you think Death Valley got its name?
In reality though, you'd be surprised to find that deserts are beautiful, mystical, and sublimely spiritual. Check out these hot destinations, if you don't believe me.
10 Amazing Destinations for Desert Hiking
Deserts aren't always full of sand, with Antarctica being a notable example. The Salar de Uyuni is another instance where the desert is made up entirely of salt. It is, in fact, the largest salt flat in the world, thanks to which it is almost devoid of vegetation and wildlife. A flat, salty expanse below your feet, and the deep blue sky overhead make for quite a memorable hike indeed.
As a part of what is considered to be the world's oldest desert, the Namib-Naukluft National Park definitely deserves a visit. Besides that interesting tidbit, this desert also holds the distinction of being home to the tallest sand dunes in the world.
Following the oldest and the saltiest, it's now time to visit the world's driest desert, the Atacama in Chile. What draws people here, besides the obvious hiking-related activities, is its reputation of a stellar stargazing venue, with unmatched views of the Milky Way.
If you think we've put up the wrong picture for a desert, you couldn't be more wrong. A hike in the desert of the Los Cabos area will lead you to the beach, which is a novel sight for any desert hiker. Enjoy the rock formations, wildlife, and the vegetation as you trail along the Pacific coastline. The stark contrast in the views can awe every avid desert hiker.
The star attraction which brings hikers here is the excitement of rock climbing. There's also a rock climbing school here for beginners. Watch out for the park's unique landscape, dotted with blunt boulders, which make quite a stunning sight, especially during twilight hours.
Sedona isn't just for the mystics and the new age healers. Whether you may or may not believe in its energy vortexes, do come here to hike along some fabulous trails that snake along the red rock hills.
Zion National Park includes a section each of the Mojave Desert, the Great Basin, and the Colorado Plateau. Now, with such an awesome confluence, would there ever be a dearth of places for hiking enthusiasts?
The Grand Canyon consistently ranks among the must-see places in the world. This natural wonder has the most gorgeous views, as you trek along its treacherous trails.
Located just outside Moab, the Arches National Park is breathtakingly beautiful. These salmon-colored sandstone arches are a sight to behold. Climbing these arches is banned; however, hiking along the permissible areas makes for a memorable experience.
You might find the desert landscape fascinating, but keep in mind that a hike in Death Valley is not meant for the weak at heart. It is searing hot here, with trails that are deceptive, as well as undeveloped. Do tons of research before you get here.
As gorgeous as they are, you should never take desert hiking lightly, as the weather here has a reputation of being deceptively harsh. Ensure that you follow all measures of safety, and respect the sanctity of your surroundings.