Take a hike inside the San Andreas Fault zone

In California, when you think of tourist attractions, the San Andreas Fault is probably not one of them. And it's definitely not a place anyone wants to be near during a major earthquake.

But there's an unknown area where you can actually hike inside the fault zone, CBS News correspondent David Begnaud reports.

Deep in California's Palm Desert -- three hours east of downtown Los Angeles -- is some of the state's most spectacular scenes. It's also in the middle of one of the deadliest earthquake zones in the world.

"This is the San Andreas Fault zone. This is the where the rock breaks and moves, and moves the earth," said tour guide Morgan Levine. "It's incredible to be in here. It's the bones of the earth exposed, right here."

Levine traded a 20-year career as a fine art appraiser to become a tour guide, driving people through an area as potentially dangerous as it is perfectly breathtaking.

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Canyon in the San Andreas Fault
CBS News

"It's so dramatic," Levine said. "It's such a tortured landscape because of this movement. ... This is definitely art. Definitely just the greatest artist, Mother Nature. You're looking at the skeleton of our planet. You're seeing plate tectonics happen."

Each year, thousands of tourists experience this earthly marvel. Desert Adventures offers a guide, a jeep and an excursion through one of Earth's greatest forces.

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Desert Adventures jeep traverses the Fault
CBS News

"You're expecting a crack and what you're going to see is the fault. But it's the fault zone, and it's not just a crack," Levine said.

One of the most popular spots on the tour is Slot Canyon. You can walk through it, though it is incredibly tight. On one side you have the North American plate. On the other side is the Pacific. And this is evidence of millions of years of movement and pressure between two plates that have now created this incredible landscape.

"You don't see things like this is Los Angeles because there's buildings on top of the fault lines," Levine said. "The City Hall in Los Angeles has moved 10 feet from the day it was built, you just don't see it creeping and moving."

But in the desert, the grinding and colliding of tectonic plates has lifted layers of rock that Levine says dates back 2 million years.

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Desert rocks in the San Andreas Fault
CBS News

"Every layer that you see in these walls, it is a flash flood," Levine said. "And now the floods, where they've laid down rocks, are being tilted and lifted by the energy of the Earth."

Some of these rocks are up to 300 feet high.

"I tell them [visitors] they're going to see some of the most incredible landscape they're going to see in their life and probably something they've never seen in their life," Levine said. "It'll take your breath away as much as the sculptures by Bernini or Michael Angelo. It's absolutely the greatest artist in the world. This is Mother Nature. She's got a great palette here."

You might call the forces behind these massive quake sculptures the art world's biggest movers and shakers.