Death Valley

When to visit

  • Very Favourable
  • Favourable
  • Unfavourable

What to do

  • Noteworthy
  • Worth the detour
  • Must see

Death ValleyDeath Valley... Despite its morbid name, you will be charmed by this mysterious place with its mountains, canyons, sand dunes and salt pans.

Summer temperatures can rise above 50 degrees Celsius. The world record highest air temperature of 57o Celsius was recorded here in 1913!

Surprisingly, Death Valley is home to 1,000 species of nocturnal plants and animals. It's not easy to survive with an average of just 50 millimetres of rain per year!

Death Valley also contains the lowest point in North America, Badwater Basin, at 86 metres below sea level.

Star Wars fans will be interested to know that dozens of scenes were shot here. Filming locations include Artist’s Palette, Golden Canyon and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
 

Season: Open year-round, 24 hours a day.

Visitor Center: The Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Museum is open daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Entry fee: $35/vehicle including occupants, or $20/person (age 15 and under free). Valid 7 days. Purchase the America the Beautiful Pass for $80 if you plan to visit more than 2-3 parks.

Shuttle service inside the park? No


THE OASIS AT DEATH VALEY

This lush resort is an oasis in the middle of the desert. It has a hotel, a ranch, restaurants, shops, a gas station, campsites, a golf course, and even a small airport.

Death Valley National Park,
Highway 190, Death Valley / 760-786-2345
www.oasisatdeathvalley.com



DANTE’S VIEW

Death Valley-Dante's ViewDante’s View outlook soars more than 5,000 feet above the valley floor, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the valley with the Panamint Mountains in the distance. The paved access road is open to all vehicles under 25 feet in length and begins at Hwy 190 just east of Furnace Creek.



ZABRISKIE POINT

Zabriskie Point is located just east of Furnace Creek on Hwy190. It offers a stunning panorama of the badlands near Furnace Creek and is one of the most beautiful places to see a sunrise or sunset. A short walk up a paved hill from the parking lot will take you to this amazing vantage point.



BADWATER ROAD

Badwater Road is actually Highway 178 between Furnace Creek and Shoshone. It is the starting point for several of the park's most beautiful viewpoints.



ARTIST’S PALETTE

Artist’s Palette is an area on the face of the Black Mountains noted for a variety of rock colors (red, pink, yellow, green, purple) worthy of an artist's palette. The colors are produced by the oxidation of the different metals in the rock, and the result is uniquely beautiful, especially in the late-afternoon light.

Artist's Palette is reached via Artists Drive off Badwater Road, a 9-mile (one-way) paved road which, once again, is only accessible to vehicles under 25 feet in length.



BADWATER

Death Valley-Bad WaterThis is the lowest point in North America, at 86 metres below sea level. Badwater Basin is a vast surreal landscape of salt flats. Heavy rains (flash floods) periodically create temporary lakes here that quickly evaporate. Note that it is important not to walk on the salt flats in hot weather.



DEVIL’S GOLF COURSE

Devil’s Golf Course is a vast barren landscape of large salt formations created by the evaporation of a lake 2,000 years ago. The deposited minerals have been eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. It was named after a line in the 1934 Death Valley guidebook, which stated that "only the devil could play golf on such a surface". It is reached by a small road off Badwater Road that is often closed after it rains.



SCOTTY’S CASTLE

Death Valley-Scotty CastleGold prospector Walter Scott (known as Scotty) boasted that he built this Spanish-style villa with money from his fictitious gold mine. In reality, it was the 1920s vacation home of his wealthy friends, the Johnsons. Today, park rangers dressed in 1930s style clothes lead guided tours inside this richly furnished 25-room villa that is vibrant with history.

Closed temporarily due to flood damage in 2015.



RHYOLITE

Death Valley-Rhyolite

Rhyolite sprung up in 1904 during the gold rush and just as quickly declined in 1908 for economic reasons. Today it is a ghost town whose old stone building are now crumbling ruins. It is hard to believe that in its heyday the town had 10,000 inhabitants, banks, restaurants, hotels, stores, theatres and all the conveniences of a large town of the time.

Rhyolite is 35 miles north-east (less that an hour) from Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

AUTHENTIK ADVICE

  • Plan your activities early in the morning or at the end of the day (avoid midday, especially in July-August).
  • Wear a lightweight cotton long-sleeve shirt to keep sun off the skin: it will be cooler than a T-shirt.
  • Bring appropriate sunscreen with a higher SPF than you normally use, a wide-brimmed hat, and don't forget your sunglasses!
  • Drink at least 4 liters of water per day to replace loss from sweat. Be aware of balancing fluid and electrolyte levels (bring salty snacks or sports drinks).
  • Carry extra drinking water in your car in case of emergency: you may need it for your radiator or yourselves if your car breaks down!
  • Ensure that your vehicle is in good working order with good tires and monitor the engine temperature. If your engine overheats, you can pour water directly onto the radiator (never on the engine) to lower the tem­perature. Radiator water is available from storage tanks along the park's roads.
  • Drive only on paved roads. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes.
  • Keep your gas tank full because distances are long inside the park and fuel is only available in Furnace Creek Ranch, Stovepipe Wells Village and Pana­mint Springs Resort.
  • Do not hike in low elevations when temperatures are hot.
  • If you experience dizziness, nausea or a headache, immediately find shade and drink water or sports drinks. Dampen your clothing to lower your body temperature.
  • Never place your hands or feet where you can't see them. Rattlesnakes, scorpions or black widow spiders may be hidden there.
  • Car accidents are the main cause of death in Death Valley. Follow the speed limits, slow down on steep downhill grades, and wear your seatbelt.
  • Your cell phone may not work here. The same goes for your GPS.

Where to eat

  • $ Inexpensive
  • $$ Moderate
  • $$$ Upscale
  • $$$$ Fine dining

Armagosa Cafe ($$-$$$)

This new and popular little restaurant serves delicious home-cooked farm-to-table meals and great coffee! The lunch menu offers a selection of sandwiches and salads. Armagosa Cafe is in Marta Becket’s Armagosa Opera House and Hotel (across from the theatre), at the corner of California Highway 127 and State Line Road in Death Valley Junction.

Open Friday to Monday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.



THE INN AT DEATH VALLEY DINING ($$$- $$$$)

This restaurant at The Oasis at Death Valley resort is probably the best you will find in the park! The Inn Dining Room offers fine dining at breakfast, lunch, and dinner with stunning views of the desert salt pans and the majestic Panamint Mountains. The eclectic menu is inspired by classical, continental, southwest, and Pacific coast cuisine. There is also afternoon tea, a tradition since 1927, and Sunday brunch. Please note that there is a dress code for dinner (no shorts or T-shirts). Reservations required.

TIPS:

Meals and groceries are costly inside the park because of its remote location. If possible, bring a cooler with snacks, sandwiches and beverages. Ice is easy to find and you will be able to keep everything cool. Also, be aware that the restaurants in the park are nothing exceptional, but they will meet your needs.

Location

Climograph

  • Very Favourable
  • Favourable
  • Unfavourable

Authentik Travel Blog