Are you an explorer who heads out in the wild to witness the otherworldly landscapes and discover the untouched beauty? Does the diverse environment of salt flats, technicolor canyons, and rare wildlife fascinate you to discover the one-of-a-kind desert valley? If curiosity is uncontrollable, Death Valley National Park is your place to visit.
The land of extremes, spread over an area of 5,260 square miles, is situated on the eastern border of south-central California, bordering the Great Basin Desert. Apart from being the hottest, driest, and lowest national park, Death Valley is also the largest preserved area in the contiguous United States.
From strenuous hikes and dune drives to lowest elevation golf courses and campgrounds, there are lots of adventures to complement your trip to namely-morbid valley. Right before you book your tickets, run through our-must-not miss guide to know what awaits in the uniqueness of North America.
Let's begin from the lowest point of Eastern Hemisphere, the home to dazzling geometrical shapes of salt flats. The boardwalk trail guides you in the unworldly bed of salt carpets surrounded by snow-peaked mountains in the distance.
The trail of the badwater basin is an easy one, but due to extreme temperatures, it is advised to visit the place during Spring or Winter season. Immerse in the peace and isolation of salt beds while marveling at the unique landscapes.
Pro Tip: Wait till the sunset to witness the natural picturesqueness and light turn colors across the vast lands.
The multi-hued badlands, wrinkled and folded by the force of water, grab the most visitors to witness the varying gold shades of the Grand Canyons. Known as the most photographed spot of the national park, the badlands of Zabriskie Point never fail to fascinate you with miracles of nature.
You can either drive your way up to the point to get a panoramic view of the Golden Canyon or you can take the 3.5 miles moderate trail to closely experience the colorfully banded rocks. Complete your experience while discovering Gower Gulch and Red Cathedral on your hike to Zabriskie Point.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
The exploration of Death Valley is incomplete without a visit to 30-meter high yet easily accessible Mesquite Flat Sand dunes. Walking on the trail featuring unique wildflowers and rare desert wildlife adds to the spectacular views of contoured rippled dunes.
The best time to experience the beauty of Mesquite Flat is from November until March.
Pro Tip: Full-moon nights and stargazing on the dunes is a unique and rare sight. Explore this beauty while watching out for desert reptiles, especially during the hot seasons.
At a 45-minute drive from Furnace Creek, located on the ridge of Black Mountain is Dante’s Viewpoint, a spot offering the visitors an unparalleled view of white salt flats of the Death Valley and the Panamint Range in the west.
5,575 ft above Badwater Basin, this viewpoint offers a panoramic view of Death Valley’s extreme elevations in a single glance. Make your way to the top near the sunset to witness the gleaming sun set below tall peaks. Carry along a telescope and experience the breathtaking view of the Milky Way during a new moon or glistening white sand on a full moon night.
Devils Golf Course
Your must stop between Badwater Basin and Furnace Creek is the Devils Golf Course, a barren landscape with jagged salt pieces portraying nature's forces. The landscape is dominated by sharp and uneven halite salt crystals, a plain so tough that “only the devil could play golf here” as explained by National Park Services.
This unique terrain of Death Valley can be accessed by car. It is advised to not walk barefoot on the land.
This unique spot is a result of maars volcano explosion resulting from phreatic eruption some centuries ago. The 600 feet deep crater in the north end of the Death Valley National Park can be viewed aerially through the parking lot.
To closely explore the area and reveal interesting erosions, you can also take a route from the three hiking trails all demoting through the parking lot.
Our personal favorite is the classic hike to the highest summit in the Death Valley National Park. The Telescope peak is a snow-capped edge accessed through a 13 mile trail from Mahogany Flat Campground.
Cap off the spectacular views of death valley through the steady trail surrounded by the rich Bristlecone Pine forest until you reach the peak to enjoy the solitude of silent valley and surrounded by Sierra Nevada mountains.
Now on the list is something that shouldn’t belong to the death valley! Don’t worry, we’re getting it right. Start with the familiar looking steady trail from the west of death valley until you discover creeks and shrubs hugging the amid dry mountains. Continue walking as the tropic-like will guide you to the only source of water amidst the barren-dry land of Death Valley.
Being the only lush oasis in the driest land of the region, it is surrounded by chirping birds, colorful dragonflies, and hanging trees. The out-of-scene greenery obscured by cottonwood and willows make this spot a must-visit for an unlike the death valley experience.
Goldwell Open Air Museum
Off the way leading to Death valley, Nevada hosts a spectacular ghost town owned by a group of Belgian Artists who aim to create a live art situation for everyone who wishes to visit one of the most unique art towns. Goldwell Open Air Museum houses 7 colossal sculptures with each piece designed within the context of the landscape.
It is open 24/7 and during all seasons for visitors' unusual experiences.
Golden Canyon Trailhead
Concluding our list with Death Valley’s most famous hiking trails, showcasing the unique geology and stunning views. The Golden Canyon trailhead is a moderate slope and easily accessible path for you to engulf in ever changing hues of the Golden Canyon.
The 1.5 hour long trek takes you to the top to amaze you with never ending stretches of salt desert. Continue your trek on the same trail to reach Manly Beacon, giving you a viewpoint for surrounding cliffs and water carved canyons.
Spend your time discovering the surprises this extreme land holds for you on every stop, spend your days elevating the viewpoints and nights watching a sky full of stars.