Desert landscapes, volcanic cinder cones, pinyon-juniper woodlands, abandoned mines, Native American rock art, and California’s second highest sand dunes provide almost limitless opportunities for exploration in this 1.4 million-acre preserve. Three of North America’s major deserts—the Mojave, Great Basin, and Sonoran—come together in the preserve to form a huge transition zone. As in Death Valley to the north, wildlife is abundant if not always visible. Nearly 330 species make their homes here, including coyotes, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, and tortoises. Quail, doves, chukar, and larger birds, such as hawks and golden eagles, manage to survive and prosper in the washes and canyons of the preserve. In the spring, the desert hosts a rainbow of wildflowers, while cacti, yuccas, creosote bushes, sagebrush, junipers, pinyon pines, and Joshua trees provide year-round vegetation. The high desert climate tends to the extreme: there is an 85-degree difference between summer highs and winter lows. Daytime summer temperatures range from 70 to 115 degrees F, while winter days average between 40 and 60 degrees F, with temperatures falling to below freezing at night. Precipitation is sparse, with much of what does occur falling as winter snow. However, flash floods can occur at any time of year. Campgrounds included in this eTrail are: Owl Canyon, Calico Ghost Town, Afton Canyon, Hole-in-the-Wall, Black Canyon, Mid Hills, and Providence Mountain State Recreation Area.
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