December 09 2014
Written By
Josey Orr
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The Great 59: Part 15 - Death Valley National Park

The Great 59 is a series on America’s National Park Service.

Death Valley National Park

State: California, Nevada

Created: October 31st, 1994

Size: 3.373,000 Acres

Death Valley is located in eastern-California and is the Lower 48's largest National Park. It's also the hottest place in North America, with the record high reaching a staggering 134 degrees fahrenheit. The park protects part of the Mojave Desert and many other formations such as mountains, canyons, valleys, sand dunes, and salt flats. There is roughly three-million acres to explore in the park and due to its desolate nature, it's important for travelers to plan and pack thoughtfully.

Death Valley is a contradiction of the natural world. Its deadly heat is contrasted by snow capped mountains. It's dry and below sea level, yet the occasional rain causes wildflowers to bloom. Even its name is a contradiction as plenty of life and beauty exist here. 

What To Do:

Hike – There aren’t many marked trails here, but because it’s such a desolate landscape, you don’t really need much direction to hike. The best time to hike is from October – April, when the heat won’t be as brutal.

Backcountry Camp – There is only one NPS campground in the entire park and it’s called the Furnace Creek Campground. Everything else is wide open and you are on your own to rough it!

Biking – Death Valley has hundreds of miles of roads that can be biked, however bikes are not allowed on trails, closed roads, or the wilderness. 

Places Of Interest:

Badwater Salt Flats - Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the United States. It’s location is 280ft below sea level and the salt flats here are something to see!

Dante’s View - Go at sunset, the temperatures will be nicer and the light will be perfect. It’s usually very serene at this type of day and a great way to experience the vastness of Death Valley.

Zabriskie Point - Another amazing lookout point in Death Valley. This time, we recommend heading here for the sunrise; you’ll see the beautiful colors of the surrounding area from this dramatic viewpoint. It’s a must see!

Sailing Stones - A geological anomaly is happens in death valley, where large rocks move on their own and people have struggles to explain why and how this happens for years! Very cool stuff! 

The park is open all year long, but we’d recommend going in the winter season so you can beat the heat, sort of.


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