It’s hard to describe Death Valley in just one paragraph. The hottest, driest, and lowest national park in the U.S. features sand dunes, colorful mudstone cliffs, salt flats, spiky salt mounds, ghost towns, canyons, lush oases, historic displays, and probably a million other things. The climate here is harsh, so don’t visit in the summer unless you want to find out why it’s called Death Valley.
“Hottest, Driest, and Lowest National Park”
Death Valley is the largest U.S. National Park outside Alaska at 3.4 million acres. Nearly 1000 miles of paved and dirt roads provide access to locations both popular and remote. Even so, 91% of the park is protected as officially designated Wilderness. That wild country includes low valley floors crusted with barren salt flats, rugged mountains rising as much as 11,000 feet, deep and winding canyons, rolling sand dunes, and spring-fed oases. Whether you have an afternoon or a week, careful planning will help make your visit safe and enjoyable. The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is the main visitor information source for the park. It is open Daily from 8-5 and there is a fully staffed information desk with information on all aspects of the park and its operation. GPS Navigation to sites to remote locations like Death Valley are notoriously unreliable. The map is to the visitor center In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley. Death Valley: The name is forbidding and gloomy. Yet here you can find colorful badlands, snow-covered peaks, beautiful sand dunes, rugged canyons, the driest and lowest spot in North America, and the hottest in the world. On any given summer day, the valley floor shimmers silently in the heat. For five months of the year unmerciful heat dominates the scene, and for the next seven the heat releases its grip only slightly. Rain rarely gets past the guardian mountains, but the little rain that does fall is the life force of the wildflowers that transform the desert into a vast garden. Despite the harshness and severity of the environment, more than 1000 kinds of plants live within the park. Those on the valley floor have adapted to a desert life by a variety of means. Some have roots that go down 10 times the height of a person. Some plants have a root system that lies just below the surface but extends out in all directions. Others have leaves and stems that allow very little evaporation and loss of life giving water.
Just came back from a quick trip to DV (Mid-May) and was completely blown away by the awesomeness. The weather was surprisingly mild and it actually rained while we were touring the salt flats.
For cheaper accommodations I'd recommend staying in Beatty, NV and heading out to the Valley from there. The Motel 6 there is pretty nice (rooms have been updated), fairly cheap ($60-70) and is right next to a gas station (fill up before hitting the desert!!). It's also next door to a Denny's that's nestled inside a casino.
On the way to the National Park you can make a pit stop at Rhyolite - a pretty neat ghost town with building ruins. Be sure to stop by the graveyard that's hidden down a dirt side road!
All in all, Death Valley is well worth a trip out west. Beautiful views, open skies and of course... The dry heat ;)
I've been here a few times and am always amazed at the diversity of the park! You can go from over 100 feet before sea level to over 5000 in a matter of a half hour drive! I really wanted to see the sailing stones at the playa but you basically have to rent a vehicle and its a 4+ hour drive one way which makes it nearly impossible unfortunately. Oh.. Also be careful in the summer cause it can get HOT!! like 120 degrees hot!
Camped in Furnace Creek Campground during what was a mild day for August. Seeing the sunset and sunrise in this place was something I'll never forget. If you are able to be here at night, the stars in the sky were like nothing I've ever seen. A shooting star every few minutes. Yes, hot as can be, but not to miss. Also, cool in the mornings so head in before dark and explore the park empty and mild in temperature.
We came into Death Valley the back way from inyo. It was amazing and the Joshua trees were better than the ones I. Joshua tree park! We saw racetrack playa, crankshaft junction and teakettle junction plus a huge crater and bad water basin, it was so cool and otherworldly!
Ive been to tons of national parks in the southwest. This is my favorite. Diverse views like no other park can offer. And there arent a whole lot of people! Best memory i have is of walking on the salt flats for miles away from any people and spending the night out there. Dantes view is also pretty cool, and so is Zabriskie point for sunrise! Just so much to do there! Clearly a park for the winter
Artists Drive is incredible, and the dunes awesome. I'd recommend going up to Scotty's castle to cool off in the afternoon, they have a lot of really dedicated tour guides who wear period costume. I had a great time on my trip there just be sure to drink lots of water!
I've never seen anything like Death Valley before. The land is stunning, awe-inspiring and bleak all at once. For you Star Wars buffs out there, several of the movies were shot here and you can follow a self guided tour through the park using this guide http://www.panamintcity.com/exclusives/starwars.html
Hot. Hot. Hot.
I traveled to vegas and rented a car to see the place. Its so beatiful as well as the road to there.
amazing amazing land! !
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Death Valley National Park
- Sun - Sat: 12:00 am - 11:59 pm
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Good for hiking, stargazing, and 3 more activities. Has a Scenic vibe.
Credit Cards Accepted
- National park
Campground, Parking, Dining