In the high desert of L.A. County, a number of wildlife sanctuaries and open lands let you walk undisturbed, gaze at desert plants and animals, or just enjoy the silence. Butte Valley Wildflower Sanctuary is one of the prettiest of these open spaces. Perched on a plateau above Saddleback Butte State Park, this 350-acre parcel is surrounded by a lush forest of Joshua trees, with trails that lead more or less nowhere. In springtime you can see a wide array of colorful California wildflowers. Travel a little further north, and you'll come to a cliff with views of Edwards Air Force Base; drive along nearby avenues to find two widely used professional movie sets decorated as vintage roadside stopovers, Club Ed (on 150th Street East) and the Four Aces (14999 E. Avenue Q in Lake Los Angeles). —Suzy Beal
Avenue J between 190th and 200th streets East, Lancaster, 93534. (661) 944-6881, parks.lacounty.gov.