As the name suggests, it is a large yellow desert and it has Egyptian caverns. As players must avoid spike pits, they must also give thought to how they are to avoid the spikes that fall from the ceiling.
A good reason to play as Knuckles the Echidna: a good way to avoid the top and bottom spikes is to get on the mid-floating platform. When a spike falls from the ceiling, the player should jump off and simply glide back on. Although using Sonic's double jump would also be a good idea, using Knuckles' glide is better; although not as much height is gained, Knuckles will fall more slowly, so the player can get back on the platform more easily. If the player gets hit by a falling spike, they should have more than ten rings and/or stand near the left or right side, because dropped rings cannot be recollected and if the player is caught with ten rings or less, they will most certainly die unless they are near one of the spike pits' ends. There is one way around this, however. If Knuckles is near one of the ends, he can glide safely to the other wall. This may not always work, though.
This zone is somewhat similar to Sandopolis Zone from Sonic & Knuckles. However, only about one-third of Sandopolis Zone takes place in caves, while about 90% of Yellow Desert Zone takes place in caves and has no labyrinth-like areas like the ones in Sandopolis Zone.