Ever thought about what one of the hottest places on earth would look like?
The hottest air temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134 degrees on July 10,1913. Most recently DV experienced its hottest month recorded with 4 days straight of extreme heat reaching 127 degrees. With 38 moderate trails In Death Valley NP ranging from a 0.4 mile trail (Harmony Borax Works) to a 14-mile trail (Telescope Peak), you will certainly find a great adventure.
If you are traveling from Las Vegas, NV its relatively close:
The fastest route from Las Vegas is through Pahrump, Nevada. From Interstate 15 take NV 160 to Pahrump. Just north of town, turn left on Bell Vista Road. Take Bell Vista (becomes Stateline Road in California) to Death Valley Junction and turn right on CA 127, then a quick left on CA 190 to Death Valley.
Traveling from California:
South of the park, Interstate 15 passes through Baker, California on its way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. State Route 127 travels north from Baker to Shoshone and Death Valley Junction with connections to the park on State Route 178 from Shoshone and connection with California Highway 190 at Death Valley Junction.
Favorite things about Death Valley National Park
Location: From Furnace Creek, drive seventeen miles south on Badwater Road. The parking area for Badwater Basin will be on the right.
Badwater Basin is probably one of the most visited places in the entire park, and for good reason! It is the lowest point in North America at 282 ft below sea level. Covering about 200 square miles, the salt flats are mostly composed of sodium chloride along with calcite, gypsum and borax. This place is so unique, at first look you are not sure if it is snow or salt. Once you walk about 1 mile onto the salt flats, the hexagon formations start getting larger and more defined.
Twenty Mule Canyon Drive:
Location: From the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, drive 6 miles east on CA 190. The entrance to the one-way Twenty Mule Team Canyon Drive will be on the right.
Want to take a drive? Take a drive through Twenty Mule Canyon drive to enjoy some insane unique rock formations and beautiful colors. This is about a 15–20-minute drive and the one-way dirt road is suitable for most vehicles. There are some small areas to park in if you are looking to scale one of the mountains, explore or get a better view and lots of photo opportunities!
Mesquite Sand Dunes:
Location: Located in central Death Valley near Stovepipe Wells, access is from Hwy. 190
Another very cool interesting area to explore is the Sand Dunes, plan to walk at least 1 mile in to get the best view. The farther out you hike, the taller the dunes get, plan to get there early to beat the crowds!
Places to lodge at Death Valley NP:
The Ranch at Death Valley
The Inn at Death Valley
Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel
Places to Eat or Get Food
You should definitely pack plenty of water and bring some snack for the day. When you are ready for that real meal, here are a few options:
Badwater Saloon – American plus a full bar.
The Inn at Death Valley – American, Vegetarian Friendly plus a full bar.
The Ranch’s General Store – located at The Ranch Inn
Watch out for
Avoid hiking at the park during the hotter months, but you can always opt for sunrise hikes which make for some amazing photos!
Be sure to bring some sunscreen! I’d recommend a non-scented lotion with an SPF of 30 or higher, if you need to purchase some there is a general store inside the park at The Ranch.
Always carry plenty of water with you! It is generally recommended to drink half liter per hour of moderate activity in moderate temperatures.
If you want to read about more desert locations, head over to this article about a road trip starting in Zion