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Your Guide to California's Hottest Attraction Death Valley National Park

Your Guide to California's Hottest Attraction Death Valley National Park

Discover the natural wonders of Death Valley National Park, explore its striking landscapes, and experience its unique charm. Team


3 min read

July 20, 2023

Enveloped by mountain ranges and filled with sculpted sand dunes, salt flats, colorful rocks, and rugged canyons, Death Valley National Park is an otherworldly oasis of natural beauty. This vast park is located in the eastern part of California, spanning into Nevada, and is the largest national park in the contiguous United States. It encompasses over 3.3 million acres of desolate wilderness, which is a haven for those seeking solitude and a taste of raw nature.

Death Valley was named by gold-seekers, some of whom perished from the harsh conditions in the winter of 1849-1850. Despite its ominous name, the park is a testament to life's resilience. The park's history as a national monument began on February 11, 1933, under President Herbert Hoover's orders. It was later designated a national park in 1994 as part of the California Desert Protection Act, which significantly expanded the protected area.

Death Valley National Park is a gorgeous desert landscape that showcases the natural beauty of the land.

When to Visit Death Valley

Spring (March to May)

Spring is perhaps the best time to visit Death Valley. The weather is comfortable, with daytime temperatures ranging from 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit. If the winter was wet, this is also the season to witness the rare phenomenon of wildflowers blanketing the desert floor.

Summer (June to September)

Summertime in Death Valley is not for the faint-hearted. With temperatures routinely soaring past 120 degrees Fahrenheit, the valley earns its reputation as the hottest place on Earth. If you visit during this season, plan activities during early morning or late evening hours, and always carry plenty of water. The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is air-conditioned and offers relief from the heat, with exhibits and films showcasing the park's natural and cultural history.

Fall (October to November)

Fall offers another window of relatively mild and comfortable weather, making it a great time to explore the park's hiking trails. This is also a fantastic season for photography, with softer light and long shadows enhancing the stark beauty of the landscape.

Winter (December to February)

In winter, the park's lower elevations enjoy mild temperatures, while higher areas may receive snowfall. The contrast between the snow-capped mountains and the desert floor creates picturesque scenery. This season also allows visitors to explore deeper into the valley, offering more hiking and camping opportunities.

Death Valley National Park is massive and requires some careful consideration when visiting due to the extreme heat.

Getting There

Death Valley National Park is remote, but it's accessible from major cities. From Los Angeles, it's about a 4.5-hour drive, while from Las Vegas, you can reach the park in approximately 2 hours. The closest airports are McCarran International Airport (Las Vegas) and Los Angeles International Airport.

There are several entrances to the park, including from the west via Highway 190, from the east via Beatty or from the south via Shoshone. There are no railway stations close by, so the most convenient way to reach the park is by car.

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Top 5 Things to Do at Death Valley National Park

1. Explore the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Situated close to Stovepipe Wells, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are a spectacle to behold and provide one of the most iconic sights in Death Valley National Park. Here, you can take an easy hike or an adventurous sandboarding experience down the dunes. Arrive early morning or late afternoon for the most beautiful lighting and cooler temperatures.

2. Visit Badwater Basin

At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America. Walking on the vast salt flats provides a unique, almost lunar experience. Be sure to follow the wooden path from the parking lot for about half a mile out into the flats, where the hexagonal salt patterns become more pronounced.

At the right time of day. Badwater Basin will provide an experience like no other available on Earth.

3. Hike the Golden Canyon

Golden Canyon is a favorite hiking spot in the park, featuring colorful, eroded sandstone formations. The most popular route, the 3-mile round trip to Red Cathedral, takes you through narrow canyons and up to incredible views of Death Valley.

4. Take a Drive through Artist’s Drive

Artist's Drive is a scenic 9-mile one-way drive that winds through multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills, showcasing an array of colors created by the oxidation of different metals. The highlight of the drive is Artist’s Palette, a section of the mountain with extraordinarily vibrant colors.

Artist's Drive in Death Valley National Park is a colorful natural area that will be sure to astonish.

5. Experience the Night Sky

Death Valley National Park is designated as a "Gold Tier" International Dark Sky Park. Its remote location, far from city lights, makes it one of the best places in the world for stargazing. Don’t miss the chance to see the Milky Way stretching across the sky on a clear night.

From the striking sand dunes and the spectacular salt flats to the awe-inspiring stargazing, there are countless ways to interact with the rugged beauty of Death Valley National Park. Whether you’re seeking solitude, adventure, or a unique encounter with nature, you'll find it here, in this vast wilderness of stunning contrasts and surprises.

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