You then follow the wash down to Gower Gulch, passing the remnants of old borax mines. They are in my opinion, this national parks highlights which you can not miss! If you only have time for one moderately long hike on your visit, make it the Golden Canyon-Gower Gulch loop trail. There’s even a parking lot big enough for buses and RV’s. The volcanic crater is 0.5 mile in diameter, and about 600 feet deep. You start by walking up the Golden Canyon towards Manly Beacon. What to Do in Death Valley in the Fall. The park contains an amazing variety of terrain, historic sites, plants and animals for outdoor adventurers to explore. The marble walls, made of Noonday Dolomite, are beautiful as well. In the distance, you can see the Panamint Mountains to the west. In other years, although bloom may not be as prolific, you will still see wildflowers in the spring. There are mesquite trees in this part of the park, and you may see birds or wildlife, especially at dawn and dusk. About the Campground: Furnace Creek is the most popular and developed of the park’s … Salt Creek. Artists PaleTte and Artist's Drive. Check to see if it’s being offered as a ranger-led hike when you visit: we learned a lot by doing it as a guided hike. Located near Stovetop Wells, the dunes can be accessed from California SR 190, the main road through the park. The Inn at Death Valley is a beautiful historic inn housed in a Spanish Colonial Revival style building right off California SR 190 at Furnace Creek. Sunsets are gorgeous too, especially when the skies change to orange and pink after the sun sets. In fact, it is the largest national park in the contiguous United States! Get yours now! It's in the Mohave Desert. As an AirBnB associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. Keep an eye out for wildlife! But if you think Death Valley is completely flat and arid, think again! L… In fact, December is the best month to visit Death Valley National Park, as the temperature is significantly cooler. Zabriskie Point It is a Maar volcano, formed by the explosion of steam and gas, and is believed to have been created only about 300 years ago. We find ourselves craving to visit time and time again as it’s easily one of our 8 Best Desert Spots in Southern California. From Las Vegas: Enter on CA-190 westbound from Death Valley Junction. In winter, you can see the snow-dusted peaks of the Panamint Range from many spots in the park, and there is even a waterfall at the western edge of the park. The trail is accessed via a dirt road that is described as generally appropriate for sedans. Periodic rains create a thin sheet of standing water on the salt crust, and when the water dries up, the crust cracks into the polygon shapes. Some of the best areas in the park for stargazing include Harmony Borax Works and Ubehebe Crater. There’s so much to do in this three million acre park; make sure you set aside plenty of time to see all you can when you drive through the valley. The mosaic formations, which are the one of the coolest sights along this trail, come up near the start, so you can walk into the canyon (it’s flat and easy at the start), see the mosaics, and head back out if you choose. Mosaic Canyon is one of our favorite hikes in Death Valley National Park. If you’re looking to do multiple hikes in a day, be sure to check out the easier ones. Here’s my list of the 7 best things to do in Death Valley National Park: #1 Watch the rising sun paint the landscape at Zabriskie Point Without question, Zabriskie Point is stunning any time of day. One of the most beautiful sites and most photographed landscapes in Death Valley is the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, just east of Stovepipe Wells. Once the ice melts, only the rocks and the mysterious tracks are left! The place apparently got its name because “only the devil could play golf” on such a rough course. Nature & Parks 2. You have to drive about 13 miles from California SR 190 to get to the viewpoint, but once you are at the top, you will agree that the views are worth the detour. The last couple of miles of road leading to the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns are gravel, but typically passable in a sedan. A close look at the Mojave Desert will reveal its natural beauty, especially at dusk or dawn when the desert comes alive with color. With on-site dining, comfortable rooms, and a pool, the Ranch is a great choice. 17 Magical Things to Do in Mendocino, California! Also, some links on this page may be affiliate links. The Desolation Canyon hike is very cool, but stay in the main canyon: it’s easy to get lost if you venture into the many side canyons you’ll see along the route! At 3.3 million acres, Death Valley is enormous. Read on to discover the most exciting things to do in Death Valley National Park: the must-visit Death Valley attractions and points of interest you will not want to miss! A vast area of jagged crystallized salt spires along Badwater Road, the Devil’s Golf Course is one of the more unique Death Valley points of interest. Created by the forces of erosion over millions of years, the badlands form a dramatic and very unique landscape. When the lake bed fills with water in the winter, the water freezes at night. If you don’t own an RV, but you are considering renting one for your visit to Death Valley, check out Outdoorsy to find the perfect vehicle for your trip! Death Valley became a national park on October 31, 1994, making it one of the newest additions to the growing list of US national parks. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions. Wear bug spray: you may encounter biting flies, especially in warm weather. It’s a quick stop but it has an interesting history. In the morning and late afternoon, when the sun hits the sculpted dunes, creating long curving shadows, the views are fantastic. When we were planning to visit Death Valley for the first time, I researched photo spots in the park and came across the Racetrack and its curious “sailing stones.” A playa is a dry lake bed, and Racetrack Playa, with its cracked surface, makes for spectacular photos. It’s a fairly popular spot among photographers and one of the most amazing things to do in Death Valley if you want to snap a cool shot! It's an easy walk from the parking area on a 1/2-mile-long boardwalk to see it. Visit at sunrise for photo ops, or after dark for stargazing. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is another popular stargazing spot, although you might get some light pollution. Your photos of the dunes will be best at these times of day as well. The colorful badlands look even more beautiful in the mellow light of early morning or late afternoon. Once at the top, you can either just take in the views from the area next to the parking lot, or you can walk the trail along the ridge at the top to take in the views from the opposite end! Find what to do today, this weekend, or in December. What are the top attractions to visit in Death Valley National Park? Palms to Pines Scenic Byway: A Fun Short Southern California Road Trip! 18 Marvelous Things to Do in Morro Bay, California! If you click an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Follow the trail out of the canyon and across the desert back to the parking lot. Here’s an epic list of things to do in Death Valley National Park. While you can enjoy stargazing and photographing the night sky year round, the park holds special dark sky events in the winter and the spring. Death Valley has been home to many native people as far as 10,000 years ago. While any time of day is wonderful to marvel at the views here, head to Zabriskie Point at sunrise for amazing photos. Less visited because of its distance from other popular sights, Ubehebe Crater is still one of the most stunning places to see in Death Valley if you have the time. Badwater Basin. Badwater The bridge comes up about 0.5 mile from the trailhead, but it’s worth going beyond to see the rock formations and the dry falls, if you are okay with a little rock scrambling towards the end. See 14 Experiences If you get a really early start in the morning, you could possibly see everything in one day but if you have the time, you should spend an extra day here if not more to fully explore the area. Through this blog, we hope to inspire you to roadtrip the beautiful state of California in search of unforgettable travel experiences. Commentdocument.getElementById("comment").setAttribute( "id", "abdf105fcceac003bb591f51e13ca2b8" );document.getElementById("b8f3a22ea7").setAttribute( "id", "comment" ); Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Although the canyon is named for the twenty mule teams that transported borax out of the valley, they reportedly didn’t travel through this particular canyon. We made it to the trailhead and back in a sedan, but it was not fun. The park’s landscapes, dark skies, spring wildflower carpets, and diverse wildlife make it worthy of any Southern California itinerary. See 12 Experiences Please check the websites of destinations you plan to visit beforehand if you decide to travel. The road to the Racetrack is extremely rough and bumpy and the location is remote. See Tripadvisor's 19,678 traveller reviews and photos of Death Valley National Park free attractions With so many world-famous sites and attractions to visit, deciding on the best things … Natural Bridge Canyon is a short hike through the narrow canyon that features one of the park’s natural stone arches. Do you have your National Parks Pass yet? Unless you visit at mid-day, you will even have shade once you enter the canyon. Another prominent feature of the hike is a dry waterfall that was formed by rain waters flowing down the rock. The tallest dune in the field is only 100 feet tall, but the dune field is large in size. The best time to do this trail is in the spring, when the pupfish are in spawn, but you may see them at other times of year as well. We spent 14 days climbing sand dunes, hiking canyons and stargazing in Death Valley National Park. Most of these … Borax was found in the area in 1881, and the Harmony Borax plant started processing borax ore in 1883. Death Valley is a BIG place with multiple entrances/exits. You can actually see several of the parks … But if you have time constraints, don’t worry. Top Attractions in Death Valley National Park 1. Here you can choose to do an extra spur to the Red Cathedral and back. The Mosaic Canyon Breccia looks gorgeous, with bits of different types and colors of rock embedded in the natural cement. With her husband Kishore, she has done numerous road trips in the state in every season. The road is a dirt road listed as suitable for most vehicles. Did you like this article? Overlooking the surreal landscape of Furnace Creek, the badlands are most spectacular at sunrise and sunset when they are illuminated in colors of orange, gold, and brown. As an Amazon associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. The salt flats at Badwater Basin are yet another of Death Valley’s fantastic sights. From all-day nature excursions to thrilling dune expeditions, there are a bevy of things to do in Death Valley National Park. Get it at REI. This is the lowest point in all of North America. Having 2 or more days to explore will give you plenty of time to really take in each spot. The Keane Wonder Mine operated in the first part of the 20th century, a time when the area was a destination for prospectors that came west to make their fortunes. Located in the northern part of Death Valley, Ubehebe Crater is magnificent. When you think of Death Valley National Park, you think of hot and dry (especially when you read the facts above). It was bumpy going in our sedan. Zabriskie Point Plus, Death Valley is one of few national parks to allow free-camping, with some caveats (see below). Visit early or late in the day to avoid the heat: even when we visited in December, it was very warm at Badwater Basin in the early afternoon. The Desolation Canyon Trail is 3.6 miles out and back, and rated moderate to difficult. If you are looking to stay inside Death Valley National Park (which is the wise thing to do if you want to maximize your sightseeing time in the park), and you don’t want to camp, there are three hotels from which to pick. The yellow and tan colors of the badlands were layers of sand at the bottom of the lake. If you enjoy history, walk the short interpretive trail at Harmony Borax Works, located near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center along the main road. And when you visit this amazing park, you will be visiting the hottest, driest, and lowest national park in the country! Wear sturdy closed-toed shoes as the terrain is not even. Walk on the Sand at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Step Inside the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Drive through the Twenty Mule Team Canyon, Peek into the Past at Harmony Borax Works, See the Strange “Moving” rocks at Racetrack Playa, Recall Tatooine from Star Wars at Desolation Canyon, Where to Stay in Death Valley National Park, Read Next The Best Places to stay in Death Valley, Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette in Death Valley, 25 Stunning California State Parks You Must Visit (+ Map! Easily accessed from California State Route 190, the main road running through... Admire the Panoramas from Dante’s View. For a more strenuous hike, opt to complete the 7.8-mile … Easily accessed from California State Route 190, the main road running through Death Valley National Park, Zabriskie Point is the most famous scenic overlook in the park. Visit Furnace Creek Visitor Center Few people know that Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in mainland USA. The Artist’s Palette features colorful mineral deposits in yellow, orange, rust, pink, lavender, blue, and green. According to the tradition, you are supposed to leave a kettle of your own when you visit, and take away one of the existing kettles. The trailhead is accessed via a 2-mile dirt road near Stovetop Wells, and the 4-mile out and back trail is rated moderately difficult. Book your tickets online for the top things to do in Death Valley National Park, California on Tripadvisor: See 19,841 traveller reviews and photos of Death Valley National Park tourist attractions. Flat tires are the norm rather than the exception on this drive, and the towing bill is shockingly high. A 0.5-mile boardwalk loop trail, the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail is a draw because the creek contains a species of pupfish, tiny little fish that dart in and out of vegetation by the side of the water. If you visit Death Valley National Park in the spring of a superbloom year, you’ll be treated to expansive carpets of yellow, white, pink, and purple as wildflowers put on a spectacular show. In fact, it is the most famous viewpoint in the park! No wonder there are so many things to do in Death Valley! Mountains rise up on the horizon providing the perfect backdrop. A clear, no-moon night offers the best stargazing conditions. Eureka Dunes, which the park states you can access in most standard vehicles, are located in the north of the park, about 45 miles from Ubehebe Crater. Warmer weather then causes the ice to melt, and wind carries the sheets of ice around, pushing the rocks with them. Anyway, below you will find our top 10 things you must see in Death Valley National Park. Isn’t that cool? Salt Creek is one of the wettest places in the arid Death Valley landscape. Located near Beatty in the northeast section of the park, the Keane Wonder Mine can only be accessed in a 4WD high clearance vehicle with good tires. Attempt this hike only in the cooler months of the year. On the way back out, enjoy beautiful views of the salt flats and the mountains in the distance. Access to the parking area for the Devil’s Golf Course is via a 2.6-mile dirt road off Badwater Road. At 282 feet below sea level, this basin of salt crystals is one of the main ... Devils Golf Course. A 3.7-mile gravel road generally passable to sedans leads from Badwater Road to the trailhead. Look for colorful mineral deposits on the hills: although not quite as bright as Artist’s Palette, they still look beautiful. Rooms are comfortable and some rooms feature views of the Mesquite Flat sand dunes. The rest of the drive is beautiful as well, and you can pull off the road in some spots to explore the canyons. Be sure to check out the Red Cathedral (3 miles round trip). At the lower elevations of the park, expect to see blooms between mid to late February and mid April. A few facts about Death Valley. Visit in the morning or evening for shade. Death Valley has so many other things to offer, we’ve barely scratched the surface. This location is the most famous viewpoint in Death Valley. Types of Things to Do in Death Valley National Park Nature & Parks (36) Sights & Landmarks (27) Outdoor Activities (18) Tours (4) Shopping (1) Museums (1) Traveller Resources (1) Commonly Searched For in Death Valley National Park Worth the easy walk. Valid for one full year from the month of purchase, the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass costs USD 80.00 and offers admission (one vehicle or 4 persons) to over 2,000 Federal recreation sites, including national parks, national forests, and more! Best things to do in Death Valley National Park. Make sure you are wearing sturdy, closed-toed shoes if you step out. 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