Famous for its striking contrast of landscapes, scorching temperatures, and breathtaking landmarks, Death Valley National Park is all about extremes!
|Park||Death Valley National Park|
|Things To Do||Picnic, Drive, Discover|
|Hotels Near Banff National Park||Panamint Springs Resort, Ranch at Death Valley, Many More|
|Price||$15 to $30|
|Camping Location||Multiple Locations|
Death Valley National Park may look like a barren desolate land, but there’s a lot more to it than just sand, salt, and scorching temperatures.
In this article, we’ll share some wonderful things to do there that may surprise you.
Plus, we’ll be sharing some important tips and suggestions on how to plan your visit to make the most of it. Let’s get started!
Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the continental United States and one of the hottest, and driest in the entire world.
Located in both California and Nevada, the park covers 3,000 square miles.
Death Valley is one the most underrated national parks in the United States due to its remote location and forbidding landscapes but the extreme conditions make visiting Death Valley one of a kind adventure.
Death Valley is more than just a land of barren salt flats, mysterious canyons, and shifting sand dunes and boasts stunning panoramas, snow-capped peaks, lush wildflower meadows, and some of the best scenery in the Southwest that will keep you captivated for days.
The Park also has a wide variety of unique wildlife such as coyotes, kangaroo rats, bobcats, cottontails, and nine bat species.
History of Death Valley National Park
Despite its challenging landscapes, Death Valley had residents for thousands of years, who were the ancestors of the Timbisha Shoshone, the only tribe community found in the park.
From 1949 to 1850, a group of emigrants got lost in the area, only one of them died but that incident was so deadly that they give it the name “Death Valley”.
In the early 1900s, the mining boom bought many in the Death Valley, and their legacy left behind several ghost towns that are still to be explored today.
In 1933, Death Valley was designated as National Monument by President Hoover.
In 1994, the desert Protection Act was passed to preserve the land, and Death Valley National Park was created.
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Things to See in Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park offers a plethora of things to do. Here are the top 5 must-do things in the park:
Climb the Dante’s Viewpoint
Among many things to do in Death Valley national park, climbing on the top of Dante’s view will give you one of the most photographic overlooks of the park.
It is one of the best viewpoints in Death Valley at an elevation level of 5575 feet high that offers spectacular views of Bad Water Basin and the Black Mountains.
The high elevation makes Dante’s view cooler than the valley floor and the perfect place to get a break from the scorching sun.
Despite its hardest climb visitors love traveling to Dante’s view to enjoy a beautiful sunset.
Enjoy a Sunrise at Zabriske Point
Zabriske Point is one of the most iconic vantage points to catch the most amazing sunsets and truly amazing scenery in Death Valley.
The yellow and brown hills allow you to see for miles in every direction and click some of the stunning photos of Panamint mountains, Manly beacons, and unique salt flat formations.
Zabriske Point affords an elevated vista from which visitors can marvel at the badlands below.
Hikers can pick up a Badlands loop trail at the Zabriske Point parking lot.
Explore the Bad Water Basin
One of the most iconic places to see in Death Valley is Bad Water Basin. Located 282 feet below sea level, it is the lowest point in North America.
The ground is covered in thick chunks of salt flats in mesmerizing geometric formations. The hike to the bad water basin starts right from the parking lot.
An easy one-mile hike will take you to the edge of the salt flat where you see some amazing formations of salt crystals that spread endlessly across the basin.
Make sure to lather up sunscreen as the baking hot sun combined with brilliant white is a recipe for sunburns.
Hike the Sand Dunes
Thanks to millions of years of wind, weather, and erosion you can find a few different dunes in Death Valley National Park.
Eureka, Mosquito, Eureka, Ibex, Panamint, and Saline dunes are the five main dune systems in Death Valley National Park which are excellent places for nature study and recreation.
Mosquito dunes are the easiest to access while Eureka Dunes are the tallest dunes in North America. All the dunes are protected as wilderness.
Take a Ride on Artists Drive
If you’re not in a mood to get out of your car, an excellent alternative is a scenic ride on Artists Drive.
This 45-minute-long stunning drive is located on Bad Water Road between Devil’s golf Course and Furnace Creek.
Along the way, you’ll encounter colorful canyons and mountains.
There are many places to stop and click photos, but if you only stop at one, it would be Artists Pallet, which is a vividly colored section of the mountainside as a result of oxidation.
The pink, purple, and aqua colors contrast the desert earthy tones and look incredible.
Best Time to Visit Death Valley National Park
The best time to visit the Death Valley National Park is either Spring or winter. Both seasons bring pleasant temperatures with comparatively fewer crowds.
From March to early May, temperatures are most pleasant and the desert is filled with see gorgeous spring wildflowers which is a rare sight to witness.
Winter months from December to early February bring beautiful snowfall with daytime temperatures still warm and sometimes hot, ideal for hiking and exploring without getting burnt.
Death Valley National Park map is an essential tool for the best experience in the park.
Visit the official site of nps.gov to download the park’s map, visitor guide, and hiking routes.
You can also get a map from Harpers Ferry Center or visit California.com state regional maps to get access to the routes of Death National Park.
Hotels Near Death Valley National Park
The Park has plenty of loading options in and outside of the park. During summer, it’s better to crash one of the hotels located near the park.
Here are the top five accommodation options you can consider:
- Panamint Springs Resort
- Ranch at Death Valley
- Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel
- Inn at Death Valley
- Amargosa Hotel
There are nine campgrounds in the park, four of which are free, with others stating $14 per night.
All the campgrounds are open for reservations from October to April and May to September. Only 8 people and 2 vehicles are allowed on the campsites.
Reservations are first come first served based and can be made via recreation.gov. Check-out time for all campgrounds is 12 pm.
The weather at Death Valley Park is pretty predictable. it is one of the hottest places on earth with a record highest temperature of 57°C.
During Summer, the daytime temperatures can go up to 49°C with overnight lows dipping into the 30°C. The winters and Spring are most pleasant with mild day temperatures and cool nights.
The average rainfall is less than 2 inches and sunny skies are the norm in Death Valley National Park.
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Death Valley Entrance Fees & Passes
The entrance fee is $30 for one single private vehicle, $25 for a motorcycle, and $15 per individual.
If you wish to visit the park multiple times, there’s a Death Valley Annual Pass that provides free entrance for the next 12 months for just $55.
Passes can be purchased online at Recreation.gov or in person at the park entrance.
Death Valley National Park is the hottest tourist destination in the entire world. Here are some essentials you must-have for a good and safe experience in the park:
- Comfortable backpack
- Moisture-wicking Clothes
- Hiking Shoes
- Sun protection gear
- Waterproof Jacket
- Hiking Boots/ Trial runners
- Binoculars/ Camera
- First-aid kit
- Plenty of water and food
- Pocket knife
- Park’s Map & Compass
- Spare Tires
Is there any free entry in Death Valley National Park?
Park allows free entry for military veterans and Gold Star Families. 4th graders also get a free pass to all the federal fee areas.
Are there any human residents in Death Valley National Park?
Approximately 300 people of the Timbisha tribe live in Death Valley. Many of them work for resorts and local organizations.
Is Death Valley National Park pet-friendly?
Pets are permitted in the developed areas where cars can go, but not on the hiking trails or wilderness.