Desert or Mountains?

Desert or Mountains?

  • Total voters


I like to go outside.
May 31, 2015
I'd probably pick mountains 75% of the time. I love the views, the smell of the pines, the wildlife, and having a bunch of water sources nearly always accessible. I often see the desert as how I get backpacking/camping/hiking in when it's too snowy and cold for a regular mountain trip, but I've come to enjoy it a whole lot. It really helps that the optimal seasons for both, as far as I'm concerned, don't overlap a whole lot.

I'm saying this after several months of not backpacking in the mountains though, so maybe my current views are skewed. Often, by September and October, I'm longing to spend some time in the desert and enjoy its loneliness. So maybe I'm not so sure.

Anyway, that this is even a question really highlights how fortunate many of us are to be frequently faced with a realistic choice between the two.


Ready For More
Jul 23, 2013
Ha! Should have figured this was coming. I was going to make this comment on that thread, but I'll put it here instead. I embrace both. I love the change of seasons and the diversity and contrast between the two. Whenever I'm down in some uniquely textured winding and twisting desert canyon or roaming along a rim or ledge overlooking such a canyon and what not, I think to myself..."I love the desert. Maybe I really am a desert rat because there's no place I'd rather be."

Then when I get into a beautiful alpine basin later in the summer, I think to myself again..."There's no place I'd rather be." If I could cut myself in half to be in both places at any one time, I would. But if really forced to choose, in the interest of surviving, I'm at a point now where I'd have to just flip a coin. For now though, I voted desert, only because it's that season now. That vote would be different if it were now summer.


Jan 24, 2017
I would say this is a tough choice honestly. I think no opportunity to hike should be turned away whether it is desert, mountain or winter/summer. To me its year round fun! Though no way I would be headed to too many desert locations in summer lol. However, mountains will drag me in year round. In some ways I enjoy winter more there...


Jan 17, 2012
I'm definitely a desert rat.....which is the reason I moved to the Colorado Plateau in the first place! Don't get me wrong, I definitely enjoy the mountains in the summer (when the desert is too hot anyway), but I spend most of the rest of the year in the desert.


Sep 22, 2016
484 one time it would have been "Mountains" without even thinking about it. Because skiing. That was before my first desert trip in the early 2000's. Lately however, as winter makes it's approach I often have the urge to extend our annual October desert trip through the winter at least once, just to see how it goes. I have sometimes posed a similar question to myself and others:
"If you had to choose between living somewhere with prime mountain biking but only marginal skiing, or the opposite-what would it be?"
I would pick the location with great MTB for sure.
Realistically though- because I still ski at least 60 days of cross-country and backcountry a season, and the mountains rule in summer- that's where my vote went.


Formerly Cuberant
Aug 8, 2016
The mountains are a part of my soul and I would prefer to be there than in the desert. I have always liked to look at the desert when others would find "nothing to see here". Having said that I gained a new found appreciation for the desert when I went to Capitol Reef NP late last spring to do some hiking... and I want to go back for sure!


Oct 12, 2015
Mountains, no contest.

I say that mostly because I was born in Montana, spent most of my life here. I did spend a few years living in the California desert, but I really wasn't into backpacking or hiking much yet, so never really learned to appreciate it I guess. The few times I did hike while living there always seemed to be in the mountains nearby anyway.


Aug 9, 2007
Well let me think about this...


More bugs
More likely to die of hypothermia, exposure, moose trampling, bears, etc.
Have to wear more clothes
Harder to walk through (hello, passes!)
Have to carry more stuff to keep warm and protect from bears, etc.
Trees blocking the views too much

Less bugs
You can practically walk around naked
You don't have to carry much
Not as many things are trying to kill you
Less trees = more views

"Strolling on, it seems to me that the strangeness and wonder of existence are emphasized here, in the desert, by the comparative sparsity of the flora and fauna: life not crowded upon life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity, with a generous gift of space for each herb and bush and tree, each stem of grass, so that the living organism stands out bold and brave and vivid against the lifeless sand and barren rock. The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life-forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom.” - Edward Abbey

"Back to the earth, back to who I am and who I am not, back to my kin, the sandstone in my veins." - Katie Lee
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