Features

5 Of The Most Instagrammable Spots In The US Desert

For your next Great American Road Trip.

Despite being home to dozens of major cities, the US has a lot of empty space between them. The deserts of the United States are found in a broad band just inland from the west coast, and they’re as accessible as they are diverse. We’ve teamed up with Georgia from It’s Beautiful Here to showcase some spots in the US desert that will make your Instagram pretty happy.


#1 Joshua Tree

Where: South Eastern California, three hours east from LA

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Located in the Mojave Desert, the magic of Joshua Tree is undeniable. A place for solitude and clarity, we love Joshua Tree for its national park (and its funky looking Joshua trees), its clear desert skies with endless stars, Pappy and Harriet’s (a pub perfect for desert rats in nearby Pioneertown), Noah Purifoy’s outdoor museum, and the Integratron – a magnetic dome that was built on a powerful energy vortex, where sound baths are conducted. It’s an experience not to be missed.


#2 Sedona

Where: Arizona, two hours north of Phoenix

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Sedona is an intensely spiritual Arizona desert town surrounded by red sandstone rock formations, steep canyons and pine forests. Believed to be the centre of many powerful energy vortexes, you can really kickstart your spiritual side here. Sedona offers spectacular hiking as well. Our favourite is the the 11 kilometre West Fork Trail through the Coconino National Forest. Sedona has our heart.


#3 Antelope Canyon

Where: Northern Arizona, four-and-a-half hour north of Phoenix

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A popular redrock slot canyon on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona, Antelope Canyon’s sandstone walls were formed over centuries by wind and water. Only open to tourists by way of Native Indian American Navajo-led tours, you will be led into the canyon by a local guide to experience an amazing colour show as light streams into the canyon and reflects off the sandstone walls. It’s a photographer’s dream.


#4 Horseshoe Bend

Where: Northern Arizona, four-and-a-half hour north of Phoenix and half an hour from Antelope Canyon

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This magical spot on the Colorado River left us breathless. Not as commonly known as neighbouring Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend – which is also located in Page, Arizona – is equally (if not more) impressive. After a short walk from the parking lot along a wide plateau, you arrive at the edge of the canyon to face a sharp 30 metre cliff that drops down over the river below. With no handrails in sight, you are literally living on the edge. The views will blow your mind.


#5 Salvation Mountain

Where: Southern California, four hours south-east from LA

This is one of the most surreal desert experiences in the US. Salvation Mountain is a huge folk art installation in the middle of California’s Colorado Desert in a nothing-kind-of-town called Niland. Created by local resident Leonard Knight, Salvation Mountain is an adobe clay-covered hill that Knight painted in a kaleidoscope of brightly colours, as well as religious scriptures, renderings of flowers, trees, and hearts. It has to be seen to be believed.

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See more from Georgia’s adventures over at It’s Beautiful Here and book your next US adventure with Qantas here