Some Deserts to See

Some Deserts to SeeSome Deserts to See

There are about 50 deserts in Iran. Kavir or desert is usually a place with low annual rainfall, which is usually less than 250 ml. In deserts days are very hot and nights can be freezing. The drastic difference between day and night temperatures makes deserts hard to live in. Humidity rarely is more than 60%, while evaporation is very high. Scarce flora let the winds run fast and furious.

With the information provided by, a few of Iranian deserts are briefly introduced here. Nature enthusiasts are recommended to visit them, if they take enough precaution.

  Maranjab Desert

Maranjab is close to cities of Kashan and Abyaneh in Isfahan Province, and not too far from Tehran.

Maranjab is located in Aran-Bidgol county, north of Isfahan Province. Salt Lake, Abbasi Caravanserai by the ancient Silk Route, and sand dunes are among the attractions worth visiting there.

The Abbasi Caravanserai, about 50 km off the town, is among the most renowned destinations of Maranjab Desert. Amid the vast cruel desert, visitors can access water, fuel, and other amenities at the caravanserai, which is also called fort.


  Kavir National Park

At 60 km distance from Tehran, Kavir National Park is located west of Semnan desert. The park is famous for its huge salt desert.

Tehran – Garmsar Road lies to the north of Kavir park; Isfahan Province is located south; and the Great Salt Lake of Qom is to the west of the desert.

There are three convenient ways to get to the park. The first is to go to Garmsar from Tehran. Once in Garmsar, one can head for Qasr-e Bahram which is one of the most beautiful stone caravanserais dating back to Safavid era. Another 30 km on a mud track will get the traveler there. The road is miry in winter. The second way is through Tehran – Pishva Road. The road can be accessed from Varamin city, 35 km southeast of Tehran. The third route is from Maranjab. A 3-hour north-bound drive from Maranjab on a sand road will get the traveler to the park. It should be reminded that a sport utility vehicle is best for the road.

  Rig-e Jenn

To the south of Semnan Rig-e Jenn ‘sands of the jinn’ is flanked by the Great Desert in the east and Kavir National Park in the west. Due to high sand dunes, vast swamps, and scarcity of water, the desert is one of the most challenging hikes.

The desert is full of sand dunes, dry riverbeds, crystallized salt flowers, salt plains, rare vegetations and dried and cracked mud surface.

Rig-e Jenn is not a desert for beginners. Even seasoned trekkers must plan carefully before setting foot.

  Green Jandaq

Jandaq is a famous name among desert enthusiasts. For a desert town, Jandaq is surprisingly green. It is surrounded by vast deserts waiting to be explored.

The best way to get to Jandaq is from Shahrud in Semnan Province on Tehran-Mashhad road. From Shahrud, one can drive to Moalleman village, then to Jandaq in northeast Isfahan Province, some 6 hours away.

  Lut Desert

Lut desert (Persian Kavir-Lut) is located in southeast Iran. Somewhere between the provinces of Southern Khorasan, Sistan-Baluchestan, and Kerman, the desert is considered one of the least known places of Iran.

Lut desert is bound by districts of Nayband to the west, and Nehbandan to the east. From the south, it is close to Bam city.

The world’s biggest yardangs are in this desert. Yardangs are sharp irregular ridges of compact sand lying in the direction of the prevailing wind in exposed desert regions, formed by wind erosion. The yardangs near Shahdad District in Kerman Province attract lots of tourists.

But Lut desert, beyond the famous yardangs of Shahdad, is a dangerous place to hike; the trekker should not expect to find any water there; on should at least carry 3 liters of water and use it sparingly. Mega dunes in east-west direction are the reward for those who venture into the eastern part of the desert. At 700 meters, they are probably the highest sand dunes in the world.

  Haj Ali Qoli Desert

The desert of Haj Ali Qoli is located southeast of Damghan city in Semnan Province. It covers an area of 2,391 sq km, and has two main rivers: Damghan river in northwestern margin of the desert; and Hassanabad river in the northeast.

The lowest part of the desert is a salt-pan in the southwest, covering an area of 466 sq km; 60% of the salt-pan is covered by distinct salt crusts with average diameter of 125 meters.

There are two ways to get to Haj Ali Gholi desert. From Shahrud city one can drive to Moalleman village. The Chahjam - Kooh-Khers dirt-road then goes along the southern margin of the desert. The second option is from Damghan city; once there, one can go to Moalleman village, and take the dirt-road of Forat – Kuh-Khers.

  Miandasht Nature Reserve

Miandasht is among the famous habitats of Asiatic cheetah. Here, there is a slight chance to see the graceful cat, but a much bigger chance to see a footprint.

The southern part of Miandasht is covered by dry hills; and there is a vast green plain in its northern part. At 1,250 meters, Qolle-Khaje ‘summit of Khaje’ is the highest elevation of the reserve, located in southeastern corner. The lowest part of the desert is in northwest where waters flow.

With a high degree of biodiversity, the nature reserve is a paradise for the regional wildlife and those who appreciate a well-reserved niche of nature.

To get to Miandasht, one should go to Shahrud city and then to Jajarm town.