The Mojave Desert is a rain shadow, mostly high desert area, that occupies a significant portion of southeastern California and smaller parts of central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah and northwestern Arizona in the United States. The Mojave Desert's boundaries are generally defined by the presence of Yucca brevifolia (Joshua trees), considered an indicator species for this desert. It is the driest of the North American deserts. The desert is believed to support between 1,750 and 2,000 species of plants.
The Mojave Desert is one of the most popular tourism spots in North America, primarily because of the gambling destination of Las Vegas. The Mojave is also known for its scenic beauty, with three national parks – Death Valley National Park, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Mojave National Preserve. Lakes Mead, Mohave, and Havasu provide water sports recreation, and vast off-road areas entice off-road enthusiasts. The Mojave Desert also includes a California State Park, the Antelope Valley California Poppy Reserve, located in Lancaster. Hoover Dam is a popular tourist destination. Visitors get a chance to see the structure, the hydroelectric power plant, and hear the history of the dam's construction during the Great Depression.