Top 7 Must Do's in Death Valley National Park
Located two hours West of Las Vegas in the Mojave Desert and surrounded by two mountain ranges lies the largest U.S. National Park not located in Alaska...Death Valley National Park!
I have been there on two occasions and while I have plenty more to explore there have seen my fair share of the park. I have been to 34 of the 59 National Parks as of the writing of this piece and I would put this at number five!
Today I share my top 7 Activities to do in Death Valley!
7. Bag a peak! Death Valley is not just desert, it has the Panamint Mountain Range and four other mountain ranges within the park. This is the top of Jubilee Peak which I only recommend for seasoned hikers. Telescope Peak and Wildrose Peak start from the Charcoal Kilns (check these out while you are arriving!) and are a great summer alternative to the bottom of the basin where it gets really HOT in the summer. In fact most recommend a Spring/Fall/Winter Trip to the park. Both of mine have been added on to a business trip to Vegas in January!
6. Get low! Walk the lowest point of the Western Hemisphere at Badwater Basin. Take the Badwater Road in from Shoshone California or Furnace Creek Entrance to the park and head left.
Then you get to walk these amazing salt flats as little or as much as your heart desires. It's an amazing place to be at, I can't describe the euphoria I have felt both times walking around the basin.
5. See the sights! There are tons of great spots that are easily accessible from the main road and either viewpoints or short day hikes. This one is Natural Bridge and it's a great short hike.
What other easy sights should you see? Devil's Golf Course, The Salt Marshes, Zabriskie Point, The Harmony Borax Works, and Hidden Canyon come to mind. Find out more info HERE!
3. Head to the Racetrack (where the rocks move b/c of the wind!) and a few other off road areas with your 4x4 or by renting a Jeep. The Racetrack is an all day trek of 27 miles off road each way from the Crater. Which is also way off the beaten path but paved! Some other great spots would be Titus Canyon, Mosaic Canyon (though I accessed without it and you can if you have a Mid-Size SUV), Eureka Dunes, and Darwin Falls. I haven't done this yet but it's my plan for my next trip.
2. Ubehebe Crater. I was blown away by this crater. Part of it is because it is only 2,000 years old, which is very young for a volcano eruption (and something that shows us that the world is still changing!) A rim hike and a hike to the bottom give you a great workout in the middle of nowhere and an understanding of the vastness and desolate nature of this park. The crater is located approximately 1 hour from Stovepipe Wells or Furnace Creek and the road is all paved!
1. Explore! I haven't seen this whole park and I've been there twice. I stayed overnight in Stovepipe Wells and saw amazing stars and constellations. Scotty's Castle and Grapevine Canyon are wonderful locations that are closed until 2020 that are definitely worth seeing. Bottom line is my top recommendation is don't just rip through the park, take a few pics, and cross it off your bucket list.
Stay overnight, read some of the amazing stories of miners and gold rushers who came to this desert, and find something that is not on this list. There's plenty more to see!
Have you been to Death Valley? What's your favorite hike or activity there?
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Because Adventure Travel Feeds the Soul,
MIke R and the Hashtag 59 Team