Sunday, November 10, 2019

8 top thing to do in Death Valley National Park

Explorer Lens

Don’t go by the name of this national park, because what you are going to witness here is far-far away from that. Death Valley National Park is home to one of the most dramatic landscapes I have ever seen in my life. With more than eight different colors of mountains, layers of salt crust forming the lowest point of USA, Sand dunes reaching upto 100 feet, volcanic crater and vast areas of desert, it is a place which will definitely mesmerize you and be in your memories forever.

Scattered in an area of 3000 square miles, this national park has huge variety of terrains to offer.
I have seen a lot of people giving more preference to Grand Canyon National Park and Antelope Canyons. No doubt, they are one of the natural wonders in the world, but Death Valley to me is not a penny less.

Yes, it is also one of the hottest places in the world, but if that doesn’t bother you, this is definitely a must visit place for anyone who is coming to Vegas and has time for a day trip, as it is just at 2.5 hours driving distance from Vegas.

Though there is a lot to see in Death Valley, but here are the top 8 must visit attractions that you should not miss :

1. Dante’s View
Start your exploration of Death Valley at an elevation of 5000+ feet from sea level.
      Yes, I am talking about one of the greatest photographic spots in Death Valley, Dante’s Point.
      From Dante’s Point, you get to witness the most breathtaking views of the entire valley, especially
      the entire Badwater Basin surrounded by mammoth mountains.

      It feels like you are over the edge of another world. There is a small hike from the parking to the
      north, which we will highly recommend.
      Though it’s a longer drive to Dante’s View, but the reward from the top is incredibly grand, so
      don’t miss it.

2. Badwater Basin
Though it is the lowest point in USA, but the views are highly mesmerizing.
     Whether you have a glimpse of the entire basin from the Dante’s point or drive down to the basin,
     the scenes are breathtaking.

     The basin consists of salt flats which are formed by the greatest evaporation in the entire USA and
     is surrounded by towering mountains. There are warning signs of high heat in this area, so make 
     sure to take pictures in the first 10 minutes of coming here, as your phone will show overheat 
     warning and will eventually stop working.

3. Devil's Golf Course
This is a different terrain altogether and definitely suits its name.
     Don’t confuse it with some golf course having lush green grass, as it is totally opposite of

     It is one of the interesting geological areas in Death Valley covered with sharp and crusted salt
     formations which are a bit bizarre in shape. There are jokes that only a Devil can play golf here,
     hence the name. The terrain is quite rough and hazardous to walk on, so be careful.

4. Artists Drive   
     It is an one-way 9 mile drive off the Badwater road into the hills on the east side of Death Valley.
     There are several turnouts on this road, most of which are quite tight, hence extra caution needs to
     be taken while driving.

     This drive is right out from some artist’s imagination. Definitely a magical drive with stunning
     colors all around. One of the spots on this drive, Artists Palate, according to me is one of the most 
     picturesque spot in the entire park. It is hard of believe how sand, wind and rocks can produce
     a natural paint palette consisting pastel shades of yellow, white, green and chocolate brown.

5. Zabriskie Point
After you have visited Artists Palate, you would be wondering if there is any other place in the
     park which is as beautiful and colorful as Artists Palate, well there is and it is known as Zabriskie 

     It is one the most popular spot of Death Valley and also one of the most photographed spot in the
     entire valley. You need to hike a little from the parking spot to a high elevation point from where
     you can witness rock formations and structures of striking colors and diverse landscape.

     To me it felt like I am not on Earth anymore but on another planet. Its really fascinating to see
     what all nature has in store for us. It is recommended to visit this place during sunrise or sunset, 
     when the colors appear to be more vibrant and are constantly changing.  

6. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
If you are wondering what else Death Valley has to offer apart from the stunning colorful rock
      formations and the bizarre salt crystals, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes will definitely surprise you.

Credit - Here

The dunes start out small and get much bigger the further you go in. The dunes are amazing and
      you can feel the solitude of the desert once you get to the quiet points.
      Unfortunately there are lot of footprints on the dunes in the starting which doesn’t turn out good
      in the photographs, but as you explore it further the panoramic views of the shifting sands 
      forming interesting shapes definitely appears magical.

      As the sand gets superhot in the day, do carry a lot of water and wear shoes instead of flip flops or

7. Ubehebe Crater
If you haven’t got enough of the alien world feel, this place will take it to another level.
      Ubehebe Crater is a large volcanic crater which is estimated to be formed around 2000-7000
      years ago.

Credit - Here

      You can get stunning views of the crater from the parking lot and also from the rim.
       It is an easy 60-90 minutes’ walk around the rim. You can also get to the bottom of the crater, but
       that walk is a bit strenuous.
       Do carry a lot of water, sunscreen and look out for scorpions.
       Definitely it is highlight of the Death Valley, hence shouldn’t be missed.

8. Furnace Creek Visitor Center       
I have seen a lot of visitor centers during my visit to national parks and other places in USA, but
      Furnace Creek Visitor Center is a gem.

      There is lot of information here regarding what all to see and visit in Death Valley.
      Also it has a great exhibition which gives you insight to the valley, in forms of pictures and
      interesting displays.

      Staff is quite friendly and knowledgeable. There are good restrooms and snack machines.
      Also you pay the entry fees - $30 of the park here which is good enough for 7 days. You get
      parking pass which you need to put on the dashboard.
      Would highly recommended to stop here before you start for the Sand dunes or the Crater.

Credit - Here
Racetrack Playa
One of the most interesting and intriguing points in Death Valley is Racetrack Playa.
It is a scenic dry lake famous for its mysterious sailing stones. Large rocks traverse through the rough terrain leaving trails behind them.
It is really mystifying to think how big rocks glide over the surface without any external force.

Though I couldn’t visit this point as the road to the racetrack is quite rough and there are warnings of flat tire, the tow cost of which is around $2000, but it will be always be on my bucket list to see a moving rock myself.

Some important points before you start your trip to Death Valley
1. Carry a lot of water, as the average temperature here is around 100’ Fahrenheit.
2. Sunscreen is a must if you plan to do some hikes and travel a bit far from the parking area.
3. Fill up the gas as there is only one gas station in Death Valley near the Furnace Creek Visitor
    Center, where the gas is quite expensive.
4. Carry lot of food and snacks with you, as there are not much food options at the Visitor Center.

Here is the map to all the must visit locations of Death Valley from Las Vegas.

Explorer Lens / Author & Editor

Traveler | Blogger | Photographer | Author | Co-founder | Social Influencer | For PR or business enqueries


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