How to visit the Chihuahua Desert – SiViaggia

It has an area of ​​about 362 thousand square kilometers and the title of “the third largest desert in the Western Hemisphere”, Chihuahuan desert It is one of those places that is totally worth seeing at least once in a lifetime. The landscape in front of which we find ourselves for many has nothing familiar, so much so that it can be easy to think that it could be part of another planet.

Where is the Chihuahuan Desert located?

The Chihuahua Desert is very far from our country: it occupies part of Mexico and the United States. Specifically, it invades large swaths of western Texas, parts of southern New Mexico, and southeastern Arizona, as well as the Central and Northern Mexican Plateau.

It is framed on the west by the wide range of the Sierra Madre Occidental, while on the east it lies above the northern sector of the Sierra Madre Oriental.

In addition to being a desert, it is also an ecoregion defined by the WWF, i.e. “a relatively large unit of land or water that contains a distinct set of natural species and communities, with boundaries approximating the original range of natural communities before major changes in land use”.

What do you expect from the visit

Given its almost infinite dimensions, it is clear that in a place like this it is easy to find many completely different environments. As already mentioned, huge mountain ranges stand out here and fascinate you with their profiles. Examples include Sierra Madre, Sierra del Carmen, Sierra de los Arganos and much more.

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Imposing peaks that give life to real “islands” where the climate is cooler and wetter, so much so that there are wooded areas of conifers and deciduous trees, as well as dense forests along the rivers.

It is easy to notice “bouquets” in these parts creosote (Larrea tridentata), the dominant plant species in areas characterized by gravel and sometimes sandy soils in valleys.

Also appreciated are Acacia neernicosa and Florensia cernua which are instead the queens of the northern sector of the ecoregion, while Psorothamnus scoparius is the easiest species to encounter on western sandy soils. There is no shortage of species belonging to the genera Yucca and Opuntia, especially on the edges of the hills and in the central part, as well as the typical cacti Echinocereus polyacanthus and Ferocactus pilosus near the border between the United States and Mexico.

teeming with plants of all kinds which are certainly not limited to what we have told you about. Among the most curious plants is, for example, peyote (Lophorra Williamsii), a cactus very famous for its hallucinogenic effects, but which in the vast majority of countries cannot be consumed at all.

In terms of fauna, the Chihuahua desert allows you to find species that move over great distances, such as the pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), gray fox (Urocyon cinereoargenteus), jaguar (Panthera onca) and much more.

In flight are birds like the road runner (Geococcyx californianus), bow-billed mayim (Toxostoma curvirostre), step quail (Callipepla squamata), Scott’s oriole (Icterus parisorum) and many more.

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There is no shortage of endemic lizards, fearsome snakes, and a great variety of insects.

useful information

It’s possible Visit part of the Chihuahua Desert By participating in organized tours. However, the advice is to be very respectful of the area you cross: according to the WWF, Chihuahua is the desert with the greatest biodiversity in terms of species richness and endemism.

Unfortunately, the area is no longer what it used to be due to overgrazing and human interference. Suffice it to say that many other native grasses and species have been replaced by taller species, such as creosote and mesquite. Not to mention the once numerous Mexican coyote, which today has unfortunately completely disappeared from this corner of the world.

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