Death Valley National Park is one of 58 National Parks in the USA. Not sure what to expect, we made the two hour drive from Las Vegas to check it out on our way to Yosemite National Park – and I am glad we did. There are a few routes you can take from Vegas – some more scenic if you have the time, check them out HERE.
The park itself spans more than three million acres – but have no fear, you can see the more popular areas of the park in a day and get a pretty good idea of what it offers.
It’s a long day of driving between the sites, it’s scorching hot, and it’s absolutely worth the trip. Check out our plan of attack below.
One of the more popular stops in DVNP, Dante’s View is a great place to start the day. We drove straight to the top of the viewpoint (5,476 ft) for the amazing view of the valley. It was almost like an introduction to the what we would see throughout the day.
//TWENTY MULE TEAM CANYON
Twenty Mule Team Canyon is a 2.8-mile one-way dirt road through a picturesque canyon. The terrain is pretty fun to drive through (especially in a convertible) and you can see the old borax mine shafts along the way.
Zabriskie Point is another popular viewpoint in the park and a perfect place to see the landscape en route to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center (where you will need to pay your park entry fee FYI).
//GOLDEN CANYON TRAIL
Having sat in the car for hours, we decided that we needed to stretch our legs a bit. The Golden Canyon Trail is a very easy, 3 mile round trip that allowed us to do just that.
There are other hikes that are available in DVNP – check them out HERE. If you decide to take one of these be sure to bring lots of water. It’s hot out here.
//ARTISTS DRIVE & PALETTE
As we continued onwards towards Badwater Basin, we found this scenic 9-mile drive through a funky multi colored canyon. The highlight of the drive is Artist’s Palette – where the sediment’s colors really come out. The road is paved and very easy to drive. Tip: Be sure that your car isn’t longer than 25 feet long or you wont get through.
These vast salt flats are a sight to see. At 282 feet below sea level, this basin is the lowest point in North America. Any bit of water that the basin receives is quickly evaporated, leaving behind mineral deposits that create formations and a snow-like effect.
//MESQUITE FLAT SAND DUNES
These 100-foot high sand dunes are impressive – and if you decide to walk along their ridges keep your eyes peeled for rodents and rattlesnakes. We opted not to walk across the rippled sand dunes and simply drove by them.
There are plenty of other things to do and see within DVNP but we opted to continue westward for some grub and to head onwards to Bishop, California – our stopover before we headed to Yosemite National Park. It just means that we’ll have more to look forward to should we find ourselves in the area again.
For the most up to date information on other stops be sure to check out DomOnTheGo // Destinations.