Death Valley is an interesting destination and the perfect choice for a road trip. Where is Death Valley? This area is east of the Sierra Nevada mountains in the Great Basin near the border of Nevada and California. Death Valley National Park is mostly in Inyo County, California.
Death Valley weather fluctuates throughout the year. In the summer months, it can be hot with the mean temperature in July being approximately 116.5 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the temperature averages about 65.2 degrees Fahrenheit in December.
Visit the Visitor’s Center
The visitor’s center at Death Valley National Park is a must-see. It is open year-round for convenience. You can stop by between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. all days of the week. It is on California Highway 190 in the area of the Furnace Creek resort. Throughout the day, you can watch a 20-minute film about the park. Between November and April, the rangers provide a variety of presentations about the natural and cultural history of Death Valley.
Head to the Borax Museum
The building for the Borax Museum is Death Valley’s oldest house. Visitors can learn more about the area and the region’s history. It looks at the earliest settlers, as well as those who still reside in the area. Borax is credited with changing the history of Death Valley. There is both an indoor museum and different displays to see outdoors, such as an old locomotive from 1916 that ran until 1931. This museum is easy to find on Highway 178 at the Furnace Creek Ranch.
Spend the Day Hiking and Biking
Hiking and biking in Death Valley gives you a more intimate view of the scenery. There are trails allowing for both, as well as mountain biking options. It is easier to see the highest elevations when biking in January. For lighter traffic and cooler temps at night, consider a biking adventure between October and November.
The hiking is a major draw in Death Valley. There are multiple hikes to choose from, so it is a good idea to have a plan before you arrive. To see undulating ridges of orange, brown and gold earth, check out Zabriskie Point, which goes on for about 7.8 miles.
The Badwater Basin is a common place to hike. It spans about 200 square miles and is a salt pan. You can stick to the boardwalks to get a glimpse of what it has to offer.
If you want to explore the Amargosa Mountains, the Gower Gulch Loop is a good hiking option. You get to trek through the canyons for about four miles. You can combine it with your hike to Zabriskie Point or the Golden Canyon.
Hike to the Ubehebe Crater. It is a Maar volcano crater and the largest one in Death Valley. This is a relatively short hike, but be aware that certain parts of the trail are quite steep.
Explore the Area by Driving
Driving through Death Valley National Park allows you to see more in a shorter period of time. Once you get to the park, first stop at the visitor’s center to learn about the area. Some popular stops once you first arrive include the Natural Bridge, Devil’s Golf Course and the Sand Dunes located close to Stovepipe Wells. If you still have time in your day, check out Father Crowley Point and the Panamint Springs. There is also a ghost town to explore called Rhyolite.
Other Must-See Attractions in Death Valley
In addition to the attractions and destinations in Death Valley listed above, you might want to see these places:
- Scotty’s Castle
- Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
- Tea Kettle Junction
- Stovepipe Wells Village
- Old Stovepipe Wells
- Ashford Mill Ruins
If you want to camp out in your car or if you plan to stay the night, you can head to the Wildrose Campsite. There is no cost for admission for this space. It has a spigot outside if you need to get some water and there is an outdoor restroom to use.
Now you can surely see why a road trip to Death Valley needs to be on your must-do list. Use this information to make your plans and craft your itinerary to make sure you see some of the most exciting attractions and places in the area.