Surreal-looking Yucca brevifolia rule over sandy plains studded by granite monoliths and rock jumbles in this 800,000-acre wilderness. The wetter high Mojave Desert meets the more-arid low Colorado Desert here, making it a study in contrasts. This is a perfect destination for escaping winter, relishing desert peace and quiet, and being stunned by the Milky Way in one of the world’s darkest night skies. There are loads of trails to hike, stellar sunrises and sunsets to photograph, Coachella Valley views to absorb, spring wildflowers to appreciate, history and culture to learn about, boulders to scramble, and rocks to climb. The towns of Twentynine Palms and Joshua Tree make a great base for exploring, and it’s easy to add a day or two in Palm Springs to round out the experience.