7 Deliciously Interesting Desert Towns in the USA ...


7 Deliciously Interesting Desert Towns in the USA ...
7 Deliciously Interesting Desert Towns in the USA ...

For a long while, US desert towns were not high on the tourist agenda. The only desert town that was a major player in the travel game was Las Vegas. How things have changed. These days, US desert towns have much going for them when it comes to attracting visitors, whether it’s in art or adventure. And, you don’t have to saddle up or be a cowgirl to enjoy them.

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Terlingua, Texas

Terlingua, Texas Astronomers, adventure seekers, art lovers and all sorts of aficionados will find occupation in Terlingua. This little Texan haven is one of those lovely US desert towns that sits in a wide open space. In this case, it is Big Bend National Park and Terlingua is pretty remote, being about 300 miles away from El Paso. Originally a mercury mining town, Terlingua went through a classic ghost town phase before its charms were rediscovered. Today’s visitors come to go whitewater rafting in Santa Elena Canyon, to star gaze at the wide open skies unaffected by light pollution, enjoy the scenery of the Chihuahuan Desert and Rio Grande and to enjoy the town's festivals, including the annual Chilli Cook Off.


Tubac, Arizona

Tubac, Arizona There’s more to the ethnographical history of the Wild West than cowboys and Indians and bandits. If you would like to learn about life in the desert, you should head to Tubac. Sitting among the mesquites and cottonwoods along the Santa Cruz River, Tubac offers a 12-acre state park that includes a presidio, the Tumacácori mission (built in 1691 and the site of a revolt by native Pimas in the 1750s), a museum, adobe house and archeological excavations. Once you’ve had your history fix, there‘s a trail through the Tumacácori National Historical Park or lots of mountain bike trails. The town also boasts a Center of the Arts.


Grand Junction, Colorado

Grand Junction, Colorado It’s all in the name. There’s a lot that’s grand about Grand Junction. This is where Little Book Cliffs, rapids of Colorado River, red rock canyons of Colorado National Monument and Grand Mesa all practically meet. Grand Mesa is the grandest of all sights here, as it is the largest flat-top mountain in the world. You’ll also be able to enjoy peach orchards, vineyards and plenty of hiking trails. In town, it is the 100+ public art pieces on and around Main Street that garner the most attention, especially the buffalo made from chrome car bumpers.


Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon The Pacific Northwest desert area presents a dramatic landscape of ponderous pine forest, steep basalt canyons and sagebrush plains. In its midst is Bend, a place that basks in sunshine more than 250 days of the year. The Oregon town lies east of the Cascades on the Deschutes River and attracts many outdoorsy types to enjoy the more than 50 miles of hiking trails, the fine powder in the winter, mountain biking, fly fishing and rock climbing, For more urban pursuits, the Old Mill District is an attractive downtown area full of shopping, dining and entertainment.


Virginia City, Nevada

Virginia City, Nevada When you tread the wooden boardwalks of this Victorian mining town just about 25 miles away from Reno, you are following in the footsteps of Mark Twain who was a reporter here in the 1860s. Virginia City is on the National Register of Historic Places, so for history lovers there’s more than enough to see including saloons, Piper’s Opera House, stagecoaches and an old mine. You can pan for gold, wonder at the desert landscape with a trip on the Virginia and Truckee Railroad, or cheer on your favorites in the camel and ostrich races.


Taos, New Mexico

Taos, New Mexico Perhaps the most well-known of the US desert towns, Taos is picture postcard perfect. For more than a century, the beauty of the light, the sugary tops of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and striking adobe architecture has been calling artists to Taos’ bosom – including the famed Ansel Adams. Today, this rural and worldly place is still much loved by artists but they are joined by native artisans, bed and breakfast owners, fine chefs, alternative energy pioneers and all manner of bohemians. This UNESCO World Heritage Site will not disappoint.


Moab, Utah

Moab, Utah Moab bills itself as Utah’s sporting capital which is quite a boast, but it delivers. The scenery is a stunning mix of snowy topped peaks of the La Sal Mountains and the orange and red slickrock canyons and formations of the Arches National Park and Canyonlands. The own serves s an excellent base camp for hikers and bikers and artists and photographers who want to conquer and capture the incredible landscape. The town is known for its open-armed welcome with its microbreweries, wineries and trendy restaurants.

It’s easy to wrongly assume the the desert towns of the USA are too far off the beaten track to be worth making a trip. In fact, they are full of charm and promise many adventures. Would you visit to find your muse or to enjoy the great outdoors?

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