Few objects say "California Desert" quite so unambiguously as the Joshua tree. The Mojave's signature tree yucca is an apt symbol for the countryside it lives in -- harsh, bleak and seemingly unforgiving, yet oddly picturesque and evocative.
Visitors to Death Valley National Park can spare some sweat if they are planning to take an indoor tour of Scotty's Castle, a Spanish Colonial-style historic house built in the 1920s. Instead of braving the occasional two hour wait on busy days, tourists can reserve spots online or by phone.
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