Hackberry Canyon is a hidden gem in the southwestern section of the 1.9 million-acre Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Utah. It is a bit off the beaten path, but those who make the effort will be rewarded with a colorful narrow canyon complete with a perennial stream, flanked by lush vegetation.
After driving miles of remote desert road through the Mojave National Preserve, Californians are often surprised to come upon the Kelso Depot, where a railroad station large and elaborate enough to serve a small city sits virtually in the middle of nowhere. It serves as the primary visitor center for the preserve, has excellent museum displays and even offers a good place to get a light lunch.
Joshua Tree National Park, just outside of Twentynine Palms, Calif., is a great springtime destination to visit for a day or two or even an extended trip to hike, go birding or just drive around looking at wildflowers. The park was established as a national monument in 1936 and gained national park status in 1994, and this year, it is celebrating its 75th anniversary.