Geographically, the Colorado Desert extends from Colorado River upto the Laguna Mountains. Most of the desert lies at lower elevations mostly below 1000 feet. The Salton Sea is considered as the lowest point –the desert floor and is located at 275 feet below the sea level. The Peninsular region of the desert has mountains as high as 10,000 feet but averaging at 3,000 feet. The desert is marked by the presence of the San Andreas Fault and hence is subject to frequent earthquakes.
The desert is known for its distinct climatic conditions. It experiences two annual rainy seasons and very high daytime temperatures in summer than any other desert.
The terrestrial habitats of the Colorado Desert include mixed scrubs such as yucca and cholla catus, sandy soil grasslands, desert dunes and creosote bush scrub. Junipers, Coulter pine and Pinyon pine are the abundantly found species in higher elevations. The winter rains help produce wild flowers in the spring. Smoke tree, palo verde and ironwood are the annuals supported by the winter rains in the southern parts of the desert. The wetland habitats include desert fan palms, fresh water marshes and desert arroyos. The native flora includes desert lily (Hesperocallis undulata), desert fir (Peucephyllum schottii) and Bigelow's nolina (Nolina bigelovii).
The wildlife in deserts is dependent on the water bodies. The aquatic species typical to this desert include: desert pupfish, arroyo toad, clapper rail and the willow flycatcher. Other land animals include the desert rat, mule deer, cactus mouse, bobcat and the red-diamond rattle snake. Prairie falcon and Gambel’s quail are the commonly sighted birds here. Bighorn sheep is a big attraction of this desert.
Archeological studies reveal that the Colorado Desert was inhabited by a number of native tribes. The most predominant among them was the Yuman or the Patayan tribe. They lived in this desert from about 770 AD to 1550 AD. They consisted of three major sub-groups namely: Havasupai, Hualapai and Yavapai. Even today the Colorado Desert has these tribes living in reservations made especially for them. They speak their native language and are completely dependent on their surroundings for their food, shelter and living.
The Colorado Desert is one of the many unique places for plants and animals. Many of them found else nowhere in the world. The desert encloses the imperial county and attaches the parts of San Diego County, Riverside County, and San Bernardino County.
Species endemic to California habitats
|Soil Moisture||Moderate to xeric|
|Hardiness||USDA zones 4-9 (up to 8,000’)|
|Culture||Clay, sandy loam or loam soils|
|Attracts birds, butterflies and/or bees||Yes|
The major part of the Colorado Desert is situated in the low evaluation of 1000 feet and it has the diminished point of 275 feet at desert floor, under the sea level at Salton Sea. The climate of the Colorado Desert varies from others. This area senses a great summer, daytime temperature and humidity are very high when compared to other high-elevation desert.
|Average Precipitation||0.6 in||0.7 in||1.6 in||2.3 in||3.0 in||2.3 in||2.0 in||1.3 in||1.9 in||1.3 in||1.1 in||0.8 in|
This desert experiences the rainy season twice a year. The desert is fully surrounded with the Uncompahgre national forest and gets 10-11 inches of rain per year. This desert area is also situated in the Colorado plateau and gets 7-10 inches of rain every year. The area of this desert is a bit long. It is about 60miles from east to west, from north to south it is away of 100 miles beyond the roan plateau.
|Maria fold and thrust belt||In-Ko-Pah Mountains||Palen Mountains|
|Arica Mountains||Indio Hills||Palo Verde Mountains|
|Big Maria Mountains||Jacumba Mountains||Pinyon Mountains|
|Black Hills (Imperial County)||Laguna Mountains||Riverside Mountains|
|Buried Mountain||Little Maria Mountains||San Felipe Hills (San Diego County)|
|Cargo Muchacho Mountains||Little Mule Mountains||Santa Rosa Mountains (California)|
|Chocolate Mountains||Little San Bernardino Mountains||Sawtooth Mountains (California)|
|Chuckwalla Mountains||McCoy Mountains||Sawtooth Range (San Diego County)|
|Coxcomb Mountains||Mecca Hills||Superstition Hills|
|Coyote Mountains||Mopah Range||Turtle Mountains (California)|
|Eagle Mountains||Mule Mountains (California)||Vallecito Mountains|
|Fish Creek Mountains (California)||Ogilby Hills||Volcanic Hills (California)|
|Grapevine Hills||Orocopia Mountains||Whipple Mountains|
Colorado Desert Bighorn Sheep
Colorado Desert California Map
Colorado Desert Cholla Cactus
Colorado Desert Fringe Toed Lizard
Colorado Desert Location
Colorado River in Colorado Desert
Colorado Desert Sand Dunes
Colorado Desert Shovel Nosed Snake
Colorado National Monument