Death Valley National Park | Travel

Dante's View Horizontal | Alaina Ann Photography Death Valley National Park is one of the most desolate places I have ever been. As you might expect, entering and traveling through this park requires ample food, water, gas and a map/directions. Using a GPS is not recommended due to the number of obsolete roads no longer in service. October through April are the most desired months to visit the park. My September visit was a windy, 110* day!

My initial attempt to enter the park from the south was quickly detoured because of a flooded road. Due to this unexpected road condition and a two hour wait for my rental car, I started my day in Death Valley nearly four hours behind schedule. I rushed through the park, seeing as much as possible, during the remaining daylight hours. Many roads and areas of the park were closed due to water and road conditions. I am both excited and anxious to return for my second visit!

Inferno Floor Horizontal | Alaina Ann Photography

Recommended Hikes
  • Badwater Salt Flat - from the Badwater parking area, it is 1/2 mile to the edge and 5 miles across the salt flats. This is the lowest place in North America and the temperatures are HOT! It is not recommended to walk across the salt flats during the summer months.
  • Darwin Falls - a spring-fed waterfall in the desert, this waterfall flows year-round in a narrow gorge. The waterfall is located west of Panamint Springs, down a 2.5 mile dirt road. The 1 mile walk to the falls requires some rock scrambling and stream crossings.
  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes - the moderate hike to the highest dune is 2 miles. There's no official trail; parking is available in the Sand Dunes parking area. Morning, evening and full moon nights are the best time to hike.
  • Mosaic Canyon - this is a popular 1/2 mile to 2 mile hike (one way) through a narrow marble-walled canyon. Start hiking from the Mosaic Canyon parking area.
  • Natural Bridge Canyon - accessible from the Natural Bridge parking area, this easy hike is 1 mile to the end of the canyon (1/2 mile to the natural bridge).
  • Salt Creek Interpretive Trail - an easy 1/2 mile, round-trip trail from the Salt Creek parking area. There's a boardwalk along a small stream making this a great viewing area for the rare pupfish and other wildlife.
  • Ubehebe Crater - a large volcanic crater; 600 feet deep and 1/2 mile across. Walking to the bottom of the main crater is easy, with a more difficult hike back out. The rim of the crater is a 1 1/2 mile round trip hike.

Zabreskie Point Colors Horizontal | Alaina Ann Photography

Recommended Pullouts {Beautiful Views} and Stops
  • Artist's Drive - a nine mile drive through volcanic and sedimentary hills. The Artist's Palette is a great opportunity to get out of your car and get a closer look.
  • Dante's View - a breathtaking and vast view of the park. Dante's View is located on a mountaintop, 5,000 feet above the Inferno of Death Valley.
  • Eureka Dunes - located in the Eureka Valley, the Eureka Dunes sit at a 3,000 foot elevation. They are three miles wide and one mile tall, making them the tallest sand dunes in California.
  • The Racetrack - one of my most anticipated locations to visit! This dried lakebed is best known for the trails formed by moving rocks and small boulders. The drive to the racetrack is 28 miles, each way, and requires a high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle.
  • Titus Canyon - one of the most diverse canyons and most popular back-country roads in the park. This 27 mile drive requires a two-wheel-drive vehicle with high clearance and takes approximately 2 to 3 hours.
  • Twenty Mule Team Canyon - a 2.7 mile, one way, loop through the colorful badlands.
  • Zabreskie Point - this overlook is surrounded by eroded and vibrant colored badlands. This location is quite windy, with a collection of hats at the bottom of the overlook!

Have you ever been to Death Valley National Park or are you planning your first visit? If so, I would love to hear from you!