Death Valley National Park –The lowest, driest, and hottest

As of now, I have a new favorite park.  Death Valley was surprising to us in it’s scale and raw beauty. It is the largest U.S. National Park in the lower 48 states with 3.4 million acres. It is also different than some of the other National Parks we’ve been to because of the nearly 1,000 miles of paved and dirt roads that provide access to a wide variety of places.

Different types of sediment at about -120 feet below sea level

Different types of sediment at about -120 feet below sea level

Trust us - the colors and textures are amazing

We couldn’t capture the amazing colors and textures

The park’s geography is so diverse including  low valley floors (-279 ft below sea level) crusted with barren salt flats, rugged mountains rising as much as 11,000 feet, deep and winding canyons, rolling sand dunes, and spring-fed pools.

Recently the area experienced a rain event (2″ is the average yearly rainfall and they had it in one day) and many of the park roads washed out.  Many of the unpaved maintained roads were in rough shape too so we elected to stay on the main road, limiting our travel plans.

We did visit the sand dunes, visitor’s center, Immigrant Canyon and enjoyed the beautiful vistas along Highway 190.  Our inadequate camera could not even begin to capture the beauty of the different colored and textured geography.

We had fun climbing the dunes

We had fun climbing the dunes

It is a night sky park and we stayed in Immigrant Canyon in a tent only non-lit campground and the stars seemed close enough to reach out and touch.

My tip for this park is to study up ahead because there are so many places to see – many of the hikes are short to see some of the more interesting features so even if you are not a hiker it is a great park to visit.  The campgrounds are wide open with no shade and most have no hookups so a summer visit would be very tough.

One of the larger trees choked by sand

One of the larger trees choked by sand

We will come back in the future (rangers say the best weather is in November and February) and rent a Jeep 4 x 4.  There is a place in the park at Furnace Creek for about $200 you can rent a Jeep for a whole day of rental for exploring the park.  We have four wheel drive but with all the weight we carry, a rental would make sense for us since we wouldn’t be driving ‘back in’ to camp.  In the National Park you must camp in a campground.  On our ‘come-back’ list is Dante’s Peak, Mosaic Canyon, Badwater, Artists Palette, and Devils Golf Course.

Wagons used to haul borax and water

Wagons used to haul borax and water

Another Death Valley view

Another Death Valley view

 

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4 Responses to Death Valley National Park –The lowest, driest, and hottest

  1. we saw Death Valley for the first time this trip. We camped in panamint just outside Death Valley and found it to be a much nicer site than what we saw inside. There was elbow room, we were on the edge of the desert and easy walking down the washes. Free showers, flush toilets, hookups if you like, picnic tables and big fire circles. there were a variety of tenters, campers and large RV’s.

  2. We too were very surprised at Death Valley. Looks like you may not have made it to the Ubehebe Crater, which was our favorite sight in the Park. So much to see….

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