Death Valley National Park is much more than just a ruggedly picturesque vastness, as it may appear at first glance. Spread over an area of 13,650 square km spanning Eastern California and Nevada, the Park is a natural wonder of the world in its diverseness and raw magnificence.
This awe-inspiring desert environment is a treasure trove of whispering sand dunes, colourful badlands, honeycomb patterned salt flats, lowest valleys and canyons on the continent, rugged mountain trails, saltwater creeks alive with small fish, carpets of wild flower across open fields and a surprisingly abundant wild life and plant species, some of them extremely rare.
It is a great drive-to, drive-through, and detour destination attracting history lovers, explorers, adventure seekers, passersby, hikers, joggers, bikers, painters, scientists, and bird watchers – to name a few.
The Park boasts a convenient network of paved roads to major attractions and points of historical significance such as the Badwater Road, the Scotty’s Castle Road, and paved roads to Dante’s View and Wildrose.
In addition, there are 350 miles of unpaved roads and 4-wheel roads leading to the wilderness and ideal locations for hikers, campers, stargazers, and adventure buffs.
Just five miles into the Park will take you from an elevation of 6,500 feet to below sea-level – some of the lowest points in the country.
If you are looking to explore the length and breadth of the Park, which the place is certainly worthy of, make sure to travel well-equipped in a reliable 4-wheeler with at least 2 spares and have at least a week in hand; even then, you may have to miss out on a few attractions – that’s how vast the place is!
It is because of Death Valley National Park’s immensity and diverseness that describing it as a single entity is practically impossible – one would not be able to do justice to the place. With this in mind, we have selected some of the top tourist attractions and must-see points in Death Valley that may serve as a useful visitor’s refer-to – especially for those making a quick trip.
Death Valley National Park Attractions
Aguereberry Point is a promontory and tourist viewpoint in the Panamint Range offering views of the surrounding Panamint Range extending to the north and south; Death Valley to the east, with Furnace Creek and the salt flats of Badwater Basin to the southeast; and Mount Charleston in Nevada far to the east.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge
The Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife-viewing protected area with more than 24,000 acres of boardwalk-accessible wetlands & desert.
A local guide Torrance Amie has so correctly remarked in a Google review:
“Most people just pass by this wonderful park on their way to “Death Valley”. So they miss out on the beauty of this well-maintained park. It has water, picnic areas, hiking, a board walk, and the “Devils Hole”.
By all means go to Death Valley check it out, and spend the $20 dollars on the entrance fee. But if you have the time to see this oasis in the middle of the desert, you will be rewarded with a nicer experience than Death Valley. And it’s free.”
Badwater Basin is located in the Death Valley National Park in Inyo County, California, and at 282 feet below sea-level, it is the lowest point in North America.
Located at an elevation of 5,476 feet on the north side of Coffin Peak along the crest of the Black Mountains, overlooking Death Valley, Dante’s Peak is an excellent spot for viewing and photographing the breath surroundings.
Darwin Falls is a waterfall located on the western edge of Death Valley National Park near the settlement of Panamint Springs, California. Although there exists a similarly named Darwin Falls Wilderness adjacent to the falls, the falls themselves are located in and administered by Death Valley National Park and the National Park Service.
Dumont Dunes is an area of the Mojave Desert containing large, ever-changing shapes of sand dunes, located approximately 31 miles north of Baker, California on California State Route 127.
Father Crowley Point
Father Crowley Point is a scenic vantage point offering brilliant panoramas of the Panamint Valley in the Park named in memory of Father John Crowley, Padre of the desert 1891 – 1940.
The inscription on the monument reads:
“From the snowy heights of the Sierras beyond the deep shadows of Death Valley beloved and trusted by people of all faiths he led them toward life’s wider horizons.”
Furnace Creek is home to the headquarters of the Death Valley National Park, the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, museum, and a number of the Park’s convenient public camping grounds surrounding the village.
Two of the Park’s major tourist facilities, the Inn at Death Valley and Ranch at Death Valley, are also located here.
Goldwell Open Air Museum
The Goldwell Open Air Museum is an outdoor sculpture park near the ghost town of Rhyolite in Nevada. It boasts an idiosyncratic collection of outdoor sculptures by Belgian artists and a features a gift shop, as well.
Harmony Borax Works
The Harmony Borax Works is located in Death Valley at Furnace Creek Springs, previously called Greenland. It is now located within Death Valley National Park in Inyo County, California. It features on the National Register of Historic Places.
The site was a center for borax mining on a large scale from 1883 to 1889. Large Twenty-mule teams and double wagons used to haul the mined borax over the long overland route to the closest railroad in Mojave, California.
Located at an elevation of 3,714 feet, the Racetrack Playa is a surreal dry-lake featuring “sailing stones” that move, unaided by human or animal, across the Playa leaving linear “racetrack” marks across the patterned lakebed. The stones move because of the forces of nature acting between the rocks and the surface of the lakebed on which they stand.
Rhyolite Ghost Town
The Rhyolite is a 1905 ghost town from the gold-rush era – a Hollywood movie set and a historic site with art installations.
The Grandstand is a natural rock monolith located near the northerly end of Racetrack Playa, north of Death Valley in the Cottonwood Mountains of Death Valley National Park, in Inyo County, California.
This large volcanic crater is a geological beauty loved by scientists, hikers, and nature lovers who come to marvel at this awesome wonder of nature.
Zabriskie Point is a part of the Amargosa Range located in Death Valley National Park. The eroded landscape is a great vantage point for viewing the undulating badlands and spectacular sunrises and sunsets.
Source: Wikipedia, digital-desert