The Colorado Desert in California lies at a relatively low
elevation, below 1,000 feet, with the lowest point of the
desert floor at 275 feet below sea level at the Salton Sea.
This desert begins at the Mexican border in the south to the
higher desert, the Mojave, in the north and from the
Colorado River in the east to the Laguna Mountains of the
Peninsular Ranges in the west. Spanning a large
distance, it is a small portion of the Sonoran Desert
extending across the Southwest. Coachella and Imperial
Valleys are actually a portion of the Colorado Desert, but
are so heavily irrigated for farm use that you would hardly
recognize them as desert lands.
What distinguishes the lower Colorado Desert to the high
Mojave Desert is the altitude and unique characteristics of
the flora, animals, and bugs that survive in the region.
Some are rare and even endangered, and can't be found
anywhere else on Earth.
California counties included in the desert region are: Imperial County, San Diego County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.
The highest peaks of the Peninsular Range reach elevations of nearly 10,000 feet,
and the region is subject to earthquakes.
Colorado Desert climate distinguishes it from other deserts
with its higher summer daytime temperatures than higher-elevation deserts and
lack of freezing temperatures or frost. Two rainy seasons
per year in the winter and late summer are common, unlike
the Mojave desert, which has only a winter rain season. What
affects the weather in the Colorado is the coast Peninsular Ranges of Southern California
that block most eastern Pacific coastal air and rains. If
the mountains were not there, the climate would be totally
different, and at one time it was.
Sonoran Desert is known for the
Bighorn Sheep at Palm Canyon in Anza-Borrego State Park, photographed countless
Creosote bush scrub, yucca and cholla cactus, desert saltbush, sandy soil grasslands,
and desert dunes, with pinyon pine and California juniper in
the higher elevations, provide an eerie scene to photograph.
Over half the desert plants grow and thrive seasonally during
the rains. Tourists and photographers keep notifications of
the spring wildflower blooms to see them and photograph
them. The desert blooms are a site to behold.
One most interesting plant or tree unique to the Colorado
Desert is the Joshua Tree seen in Joshua Tree National Park,
and scattered throughout some small areas of of
central or northwestern Arizona. According to the National
parks Service, it is only found in this part of the world.