Lut Desert (Dasht-e Lut) – Kerman, Iran - Atlas Obscura
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Kerman, Iran

Lut Desert (Dasht-e Lut)

The hottest, driest, and most scenic desert on Earth. 

The Lut Desert, also known as Dasht-e Lut, is an extreme landscape in more ways than one. The hyper-arid desert is one of the hottest and driest places on the planet. Those who brave a visit will soon discover the beautifully strange scenery that make this place one of a kind.

Iran’s Lut Desert is often called the hottest place on Earth—though that depends on how you’re defining “hottest.” To be precise, the Lut holds the record for having the Earth’s hottest surface temperature, which can climb as high as 159 degrees Fahrenheit (70 degrees Celsius). 

In any case, this scorching superlative is not the only thing that makes this region unique. The desert is speckled with gigantic rock formations, some of the tallest sand dunes in the world, salt plains, sinkholes, forgotten castles, and friendly wolves that roam around at night.

Camp outside under the stars and you will feel tiny between the surreal rock formations. Visitors, of course, are advised not to explore Lut Desert in the summer; however beware that in winter and spring the nighttime temperatures drop below zero. 

Lut is the Arabic name for the Prophet Lot. This is the same Lot of the Old Testament, and the Qu’ran, related to be the messenger sent by God to Sodom and Gomorrah.

 

Know Before You Go

Visiting the desert is easy. Either drive yourself towards Shahbad and then some more, park your car on the side of the road, and run around a little bit (not too far). The road goes straight through the desert. Or, even better, have one of the many guides in Kerman drive you there in a 4x4, so you can actually go deep into the desert.