Death Valley National Park – A Land of Extremes

.

.

Death Valley. Sounds like a real welcoming place doesn’t it? However, while

the name might sound like the last place you will ever venture, there was a

surprising lack of anything dead in the park when I visited. In fact, I actually

saw quite a diverse amount of plants and wildlife while I was there! This is

definitely a land of extremes being the hottest, driest, and lowest national

park in the country and I can guarantee it is a place you will never

forget. Read all about my visit below!

.

Outside the visitor center is this board with the current temperature on it. As you can see it really wasn’t all that hot while I was there!

.

After the visitor center I made my way to the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail.

Trail NameLength Estimated Hike TimeTrail Difficulty
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail0.5 miles30 minutesEasy

.

The whole trail you will be walking on this sketchy, sounds like it is going to fall apart, boardwalk making it super easy to traverse. 

.

Well that’s one thing I never thought I’d find in Death Valley…..water.

.

Pupfish!

.

Also saw this lil guy!

.

I did choose to venture off the boardwalk and follow this little narrow trail for a little while at the suggestion of some ladies on the trail. It did offer some pretty nice mountain views. 

.

.

After the Salt Creek trail I drove to the Mesquite Sand Dunes. I opted not to go out hiking in the dunes (however there is a trail you can go on), but they did remind me a lot of the dunes in Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. 

.

Trail NameLengthEstimated Hike TimeDifficulty
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes2 miles1.5 hoursEasy to Moderate

.

.

From there I drove to Darwin Falls. 

Trail NameLengthEstimated Hike TimeDifficulty
Darwin Falls2 miles1.5-3 hoursModerate

.

Well at least that was the plan. I missed the turn for the trailhead and

instead ended up at Rainbow Canyon. However, before Rainbow Canyon I

decided to pull over and do something I have always wanted to do, have

a photoshoot in the middle of the road! 

.

.

Rainbow Canyon can be seen from the Father Crowley Vista Point and has

been nicknamed “The Star Wars Canyon” by fans due to the military test

flights that can be observed happening in the canyon. This is actually part

of one of the largest military aircraft training areas in the US. 

.

If you are going to visit the canyon I recommend getting there in the morning so the sun is shining into the canyon instead of behind it. 

.

.

After Rainbow Canyon the sun was making it’s quick descent so I drove

back through the park and to my hotel for the night.

.

.

The next morning I woke up before the sun and drove back to Death

Valley for a sunrise photoshoot in the lowest place in the US, Badwater Basin.

.

As you can see that little white sign marks sea level so you can see just how low you are.

.

 Badwater Basin is one of the best places to see salt flats in the park and

I was lucky enough to have them all to myself that morning. I hiked out

onto the flats trying to find an area with white flats, but eventually I gave

up and set up shop about halfway between the parking lot and mountains. 

.

.

I was out there in the cool morning for about an hour taking pictures and

enjoying having the area all to myself.

.

.

Trail InformationLengthEstimated Hike TimeDifficulty
Badwater Salt Flat1 mileHowever long you want!Easy to difficult depending on length

.

Where I Stayed:

There are options to stay inside of Death Valley National Park, however, they

were a little pricey for my budget so I opted to stay outside of the park

at the Longstreet Inn and Casino. I wasn’t a huge fan of staying in a hotel

with a sketchy casino, but the room was clean, the price was right, and

the proximity to Death Valley was enough to make it a place I would stay again. 

.

Death Valley Tips:

Fuel up before you enter the park. Death Valley is the largest national

park in the continental US so you will be doing a LOT of driving while

you are here. There are gas stations in the park, but you are looking

at $5/gallon minimum if you stop there so I definitely recommend

filling up before the park if you can.

.

Bring lots of water. Death Valley is known as one of the hottest and driest

places on earth so having enough water is a very important thing

no matter what time of year you visit. 

.

Start your days early. There is a lot to see and do in Death Valley so starting

early will not only ensure you see everything your heart desires, but also will

probably mean you will beat the crowds. One of my favorite times in the park

was when I visited Badwater Basin for the sunrise and had the

area all to myself. It was so peaceful.

.

.

I had a great time in Death Valley driving all over the park, hiking, taking in

the sights, and even doing a couple of photo shoots so if you ever find yourself

near this park I highly recommend you make a stop!

.

.

.

One thought on “Death Valley National Park – A Land of Extremes

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: