If you’ve ever visited a ski resort town from about March to June, you know that there isn’t much to do during what locals refer to as “Mud Season”. This is when the warm weather starts melting the snow causing the best hiking and biking trails, kayaking rivers, and fishing streams to turn into a brown muddy mess. If you’re looking for a good outdoor vacation during mud season, why not try one of the US’s top 5 deserts? With plenty to offer, and no mud in sight, desert vacations can be a hidden gem. Here are our 5 favorite desert getaways.

Colorado Desert
One of the least populated areas in all of California, the Colorado Desert provides any nature lover with a vast variety of plants and animals. From jackrabbits to mule deer, bobcats to rattlesnakes, the Colorado Desert has an amazing array of animals. Bighorn sheep can also be seen in Palm Canyon, an impressive site.

Death Valley National Park
This national park is nestled in between the Great Basin and the Mojave Desert, and is the largest national park in the lower 48 states. It’s America’s hottest and driest national park, and is the site of Badwater Basin, the 2nd lowest point in the western hemisphere at 280 feet below sea level! Death Valley is a hiker’s dream place, with thousands of trails, nine designated campgrounds and plenty of backcountry camping available as well. Stargazers will also love Death Valley, as the lack of light pollution makes this a great place to view the stars, especially the northwest area of the park farthest from Las Vegas.

Painted Desert
Located in Arizona, the Painted Desert is known for its wondrous colors that can be seen in the rock formations. This is due to iron and manganese found in the rocks, giving the rocks a painted appearance. Grays, whites, reds, and oranges make this a photographer’s must-see location.

Great Salt Lake Desert
Known for its white salt deposits, the Great Salt Lake Desert is between Salt Lake City and the Nevada border. It literally is a large dried up lake, which while it is normally very dry, is much cooler than other deserts due to its elevation, especially after sunset. So if you go, don’t forget to pack for the heat and cold!

Mojave Desert
Occupying land in California, Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, the Mojave Desert, is one of the most diverse deserts in America. The northern area of the desert butts up against the Great Basin while the southern end sits adjacent to the Sonoran Desert. Probably America’s most visited Desert, the Mojave has three national parks: Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve. Las Vegas is found in the Mojave as are other famous tourist destinations such as Lake Mead, Lake Havasu, and the Hoover Dam. Rock climbing is a favorite activity in the Mojave Desert, particularly in Joshua Tree National Park.