What to See in Death Valley National Park, California

According to usaers, Death Valley is the desert of extremes: hottest, driest and deepest. The superlative desert awaits with luminous sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, multicolored rock layers, water-flooded canyons and 12,000 km² of wilderness. It is home to the Timbisha Shoshone tribe, as well as animals and plants unique to this world of extremes.

Furnace Creek Area

Badwater Basin
is a surreal landscape of vast salt flats. A lake can form here during heavy rainfall. In hot weather you should not go on the salt flats! Located 85 meters below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America and one of the lowest places on earth.

Dante’s View : The finest vantage point in the park, 1524 meters above the Death Valley floor offers a magnificent panorama. The asphalt access road may only be used by vehicles less than 7.5 meters long.

Devil’s Golf Course: A vast expanse of rock salt eroded into jagged peaks by wind and rain. This incredible scalloped edge gave it its name because “only the devil could play golf on such a bumpy course.” The dirt access road is often impassable after rainfall.

Harmony Borax Works: An important site in Death Valley history within a short walk. The Harmony Borax operation is made famous by using 20 mule teams to haul borax from Death Valley to nearby communities.

Artist’s Drive: A scenic drive through multicolored volcanic and sedimentary hills. Artist’s Palette is particularly photogenic in late afternoon light. The 15 km long paved one-way street may only be used by vehicles less than 7.5 meters long.

Zabriskie Point: Surrounded by a maze of wildly eroded and colorful badlands, this is the most spectacular and famous lookout point in the park. Zabriskie Point is particularly popular with photographers during sunrise and sunset. The viewpoint is near the car park and is well signposted.

Scotty’s Castle Area

Ubehebe Crater: A massive volcanic eruption a few hundred years ago, caused by a mixture of lava and an underground spring, shattered the stillness of northern Death Valley. When the ash and dust settled, the 180 m deep crater remained. Although clearly visible from the paved road, hikers circumnavigating the crater rim can spot other smaller craters.

Scotty’s Castle:The lavish Spanish-style mansion is based on the whimsical story of con man Walter Scott, who persuaded his master, millionaire Albert Johnson, to invest in an imaginary gold mine in Death Valley and also build a country estate there. Johnson traveled to Death Valley and Scott showed him the area (minus the mine). The millionaire saw through the swindle, but was not angry with his servant, since the dry climate had a positive effect on his ailing health and he was enthusiastic about his subordinate’s wit. When the millionaire left in a good mood after a month, he did not stop making payments afterwards. Rather, the two remained friends and Johnson came to his castle once a year.

Stovepipe Wells Area

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: The dunes of Mesquite Flat rise gently to nearly 100 feet. In the late afternoon, the incoming light creates waves and patterns. Morning is a good time to see nocturnal animal tracks. The moonlight is almost magical on the dunes. Explorers who venture out at night should be very wary of rattlesnakes in the warm season.

Panamint Springs Area

Father Crowley Vista: A landscape of dark lava and volcanic ash that suddenly descends into Rainbow Canyon. The trail east of the parking lot allows for the best views of the northern Panamint Valley.

About Death Valley
For more information about Death Valley National Park, visit the official National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/deva .

What to See in Death Valley National Park, California