Death Valley National Park is an iconic U.S. park with over three million acres of unique natural landscapes. It straddles the states of California and Nevada and has everything from massive canyons to miles and miles of dunes. Not only is Death Valley the largest U.S. national park outside of Alaska, but it is also the hottest, driest, and lowest of all the national parks in the country.
We had an amazing trip and experienced some pretty spectacular places. The following is an overview of how we spent our fours days in Death Valley:
On our way to Death Valley, we drove into a little snowstorm, which was very surprising as we were expecting warm weather. We didn’t make many stops on the way there but were able to enjoy the Rainbow Canyon, which is also referred to as the Star Wars Canyon. This canyon is special as it is used by the US Air Force for low-level flight training, meaning spectators can look down at planes flying below. It was also used as the filming location for the fictional planet of Tatooine in the original Star Wars movie. Rainbow Canyon looked very different from what we had seen in photos because it was covered in snow when we visited. As we continued driving, within ten minutes the snow completely disappeared.
That night we also went to see the breathtaking Zabriskie Point, as it was only a three-minute drive from the hotel. Zabriskie Point is one of the most photographed places in Death Valley thanks to its stunning panorama views of the nearby badlands. It is also known for its rocky landscape that is the result of a lake that dried up over five million years ago.
We were planning to be up by sunrise every day, but because the weather was so cold we had to adjust our plans and decided to leave the hotel around 9 am.
Our first adventure of the day was Ubehebe Crater. It was extremely windy there which made it difficult to take photos in a dress. The climb back up the crater was tough as well, but we did it! Ubehebe Crater is quite a sight to see and was created by a powerful volcanic steam explosion. While you don’t have to hike to the bottom of the crater, it is recommended as it makes for a really unique perspective and experience. Although the weather wasn’t great we still really enjoyed the views.
The scenery while driving throughout the day was gorgeous as well, we even stopped to take photos in the middle of the road because the views of the mountains were unbelievable. The weather started to improve after 1 pm and the sun finally came out! We wanted to go back and shoot at Zabriskie Point, but it suddenly started to rain so we decided to check out Artists Palette, an incredible area on the face of the Black Mountains that has a variety of colorful rocks, it was absolutely beautiful!
We finished the day at the Stovepipe Wells Village and enjoyed an outdoor dinner at their Saloon, due to COVID-19 restrictions. They didn’t have the healthiest menu, but it was one of the few options in the area. I ordered a quesadilla and my husband tried one of their burgers.
We woke up to warm and sunny weather, so we went to Badwater Basin, and it was dreamy! Badwater Basin consists of a small area of salt flats that are more than 280 feet below sea level, making it the lowest point in North America. It is very spacious and therefore it feels like you’re the only person there! Badwater Basin is dazzling and the salt looks very similar to snow.
We then decided to go back to Artist Palette, so we could experience its natural beauty in better weather conditions, and it was totally worth it! Our next destination was Desolation Canyon where we went hiking. This is a lesser-known area in Death Valley and doesn’t draw in many crowds, making it the perfect place to relax and truly take in your surroundings. The top of the canyon boasts fantastic views and the trail is around 3.8 miles long. Our last stop of the day was Dante’s View, where we watched the sunset 5,000 feet above Death Valley. This is one of the primary lookouts in the park because it offers some of the best views.
Our final half-day in Death Valley began by us returning to Zabriskie Point where we took additional photos. We then visited the mesmerizing Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, which are popular amongst tourists and easily accessible. It was pretty crowded there, so we walked over half an hour one way to get away from the crowds, so we could shoot good content. We were able to get some wonderful shots!
Exploring the Death Valley National Park is a one-of-a-kind adventure that offers something exciting for every outdoor enthusiast. There are so many other things we wanted to do like visit Golden Canyon, Rhyolite Ghost Town, Twenty Mule Team Canyon, and Darwin Falls, but we didn’t have enough time to do it all. So we will have to be back!
Will you be taking a trip to Death Valley!?