High Desert (California)

The High Desert at sunset in Johnson Valley, California, along CA State Route 247.

High Desert is a name used to define geographic areas of southern California deserts that are above 2,000 feet (609.9m), and below 4,000 feet (1219.2m) in altitude. The High Desert generally refers to areas of the Mojave Desert. The term "High Desert" is used commonly by the news media,[1] especially in weather forecasts, because of the high desert's unique and moderate weather patterns compared to its low desert neighbors.[2] High Desert has also been incorporated into the names of businesses and organizations in these areas.[3][4] The term is used commonly to refer to Joshua Tree National Park, Twentynine Palms, and the Morongo Basin. However, the High Desert typically will be described as extending as far north as Victorville, California, and Lancaster areas, and as far northwest as Palmdale, and north to the Barstow, California desert and beyond. The term "High Desert" serves to differentiate it from southern California's Low Desert, which is defined by the differences in elevation, climate, animal life, and vegetation native to these regions. Comparison example: Palm Springs, California is considered Low Desert, at 100 feet (30.48m) above sea level. In contrast, Landers, California, is considered High Desert, at 3,100 feet (944.88m) above sea level.


Depending on how the boundaries of the Mojave and the Colorado Desert region are defined, the High Desert either includes the entire California portion of the Mojave Desert (using a smaller geographic designation than its ecoregion) or the northern portion of the California desert (using a larger geographic designation including the ecotope area of the lower and adjacent Sonoran Desert).

The name of the region comes from its higher elevations and more northern latitude with associated climate and plant communities distinct from the Low Desert, which includes the Colorado Desert and the below sea level Salton Sea. The High Desert is typically windier than the Low Desert, and averages between 12 degrees to 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler in both the winter, and Summer seasons.

Old Woman Springs Ridge in in the high desert, Johnson Valley, California


The High Desert is often divided into the following regions:

Just after sunset Landers, California

Cities and communities

The major metropolitan centers in the region are primarily centered on the cities of Lancaster and Victorville. Lancaster, the largest city in the High Desert, is located in the Antelope Valley, with Palmdale, and anchors the area's largest and most populous region with a metro area of just over 500,000. The Victor Valley area, which includes such areas as Victorville, Hesperia, Adelanto, Apple Valley, and Lucerne Valley, boasts a population around 335,000.[5] The Barstow area, to the north of Victor Valley, and the Morongo Basin near the Joshua Tree National Park each have populations of around 60,000.

List of cities, towns, and census-designated places

Major highways

Incorporated places are listed in bold. This list includes all places in the broadest definition of "High Desert." Population figures are most recent information available from the US Census Bureau.


Motion pictures

Popular filming sites
Exemplary projects
Films using High Desert as a subject of the narrative


Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mojave Desert.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for California Desert.

Coordinates: 34°48′N 117°36′W / 34.8°N 117.6°W / 34.8; -117.6

This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/2/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.