American Southwest Information
The American Southwest centers around three primary low-lying deserts, and the higher elevation deserts on the Colorado Plateau. The lower deserts consist of the Chihuahuan, Sonoran, and Mojave, while the Colorado Plateau is massive uplift that reveals a landscape of rock, carved and eroded into unusual patterns and shapes over the eons. Mountains of varying height break up the deserts, with completely different ecosystems at their higher elevations, often consisting of forests providing a home to wildlife that couldn’t live just a few thousand feet below. The area is a nature-lover’s paradise, with endless public land and dozens of national parks, among other protected features, to entice visitors to get to know some of the more spectacular areas and geologic oddities. These range from the rolling and peaceful sand dunes of White Sands National Monument, up through Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks in the Chihuahuan Desert, to places like Saguaro National Park, the Santa Catalina Mountains, and the Superstition Mountains in the Sonoran Desert. Farther west, the Mojave Desert is home to places such as Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. Higher up on the Colorado Plateau, bizzare rock formations and abstract patterns are a hallmark to the diverse landscape. Southern Utah itself is home to five distinct national parks, all found on the Colorado Plateau, including Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Capitol Reef National Park, Canyonlands National Park, and Arches National Park. Many other spectacular features can be found in the area, such as the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, the Vermilion Cliffs, and the controversial Bears Ears National Monument and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, just to name a few. Each have a distinctly unique feature or features that draws in people from all over for all sorts of recreational opportunities in all seasons, even if just for sightseeing. Endless potential for outdoor recreation abounds in the American Southwest.