How to visit Death Valley in California

How to visit Death Valley in California

Guide to Death Valley National Park (Death Valley) in California – The Park more alive than dead

Death Valley National Park, in central California, is one of the hottest, driest, lowest, and in my opinion, most beautiful places in the United States.

Between canyons, sand dunes, endemic wildlife, including mountain lions and desert sheep, and a starry sky, this area of Mojave Desertgives road trippers a trip to another planet.

The Death Valley valley, which among other things reaches Badwater -86 above sea level, is closed between two high mountain peaks: the Amargosa mountain range to the east and of the Panamint mountain range to the west, where the highest point of the park is located – Telescope Peak – which in winter is often covered in snow.

Although the name makes it seem as if the National Park is devoid of life, in truth it is more alive and well than you might imagine.
Perhaps the term “death” is more for the men who have to endure the heat which becomes unbearable in summer, rather than for its fauna and animal species.

In fact, within the park there are more than 1,000 species of plants, from cacti and creosote in its lower part to junipers and pines at the top.

Death Valley is actually very hot, temperatures in summer can reach 54 degrees, recording the highest temperatures in the world, vast and remote.
If the heat doesn’t scare you, then the wonderful park absolutely must be part of your travel itinerary, even in summer.

I am often asked how many days to stay? When to go? What see? I answer these and other questions in this post, hoping to help you better plan your trip to California’s Death Valley!

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Read also: How much does it cost to enter Death Valley National Park in California

Devil’s Hole Pupfish – The fish that lives in 90 degree water

This little fish lives in hot springs at 90 degrees inside a limestone cave located outside of Death Valley.
The little fish is one aquatic wonder which manages to live in a rather small hot spring which denies it the possibility of migrating upstream or downstream.
In spring, the small fish climb up to a small shelf of rock, just below the surface of the water, to feed and reproduce.
The forty acres around the spring, which is actually not within the official boundaries of the Death Valley National Parkbut rather to the east, have been protected areas since 1952.

How much does it cost to enter Death Valley National Park

Entrance to Death Valley National Park costs US$30 per car and is valid for 7 consecutive days.
For more information on costs, free days and passes to visit Death Valley read the post: How much does it cost to enter Death Valley National Park.

Best season to visit Death Valley

The best months to travel to Death Valley are spring and autumn.

And March to the beginning of May the climate is excellent, ideal if you want to go trekking and want to witness the flowering which usually happens at the end of March.
It is also the best time to see the Devil’s Hole Pupfish. Since it is the most popular season, I advise you to reserve your hotel well in advance.

Yes, yes November to February they are the coolest, it’s still hot don’t worry but in the evening you can feel the temperature difference. It could snow at high altitude
Even though Death Valley is rather dry, it may rain during these months, be careful that due to the topography of the area, heavy rains could prove dangerous. Flash floods hit the park in 2015, trapping visitors and damaging infrastructure (look at the photos and read what happened)

Summer, actually the months from May to Octoberit is the season for masochists or those who are not afraid of temperatures that can reach 50 degrees.
In these months it is recommended to visit high altitude areas and stay in the car (with air conditioning) as much as possible. Many campsites are closed and activities such as trekking and walking are not recommended.

Where to sleep in Death Valley

In Death Valley there are not many accommodation options, for this reason if you intend to sleep in the park I recommend booking well in advance. You can choose whether to sleep on a campsite or in a hotel.


The park has nine campsitesfour of which are free, while the others cost starting from US$14.
All campsites are “first-come, first-served” or subject to availability and without advance reservations, with the exception of Furnace Creek which accepts reservations between October and April.

For a list of campsitescosts and opening and closing dates this on official and updated link.


During the warmer months it is advisable to avoid camping because it is too hot. In the national park they are found only 4 hotelsfor this reason it is highly recommended to book well in advance, especially if you are traveling during Spring Break.
The hotels in the National Park are:

Obviously the costs of these hotels inside the park are quite high.

Alternatively you can consider driving to Beattythen entering Nevada, where the historian is located Amargosa Hotel and the Longstreet Inn Casinowe are in Nevada and there are casinos more or less everywhere, and not far from Rhyolite Gosth town.

Death Valley

How to get to Death Valley from Las Vegas and Los Angeles

Death Valley is located in central California very close to the border with Nevada.
The closest airport is Las Vegas about 1.5 hours drive from Death Valley Junction.
And The Angels instead you have to drive for about 2 and a half hours.
If you want to drive directly I recommend you take the Panoramic Route 395approximately 3.5 hours of driving, entering the park from the western entrance of Panamint Springs.
If you are coming from Los Angeles I recommend you dedicate a few days to reach the park and make some stops Salvation Mountain e East Jesus ed a Joshua Tree National Park.


Both in this park and in all the others, always stop at the Visitor centerthe information given is always excellent, you will find lots of maps and, especially if you have little time, a chat with the rangers or managers will help you choose the best routes for your needs.

What to see in Death Valley – Activities and places not to be missed

Death Valley is a park full of attractions, panoramic points and even trekking routes.

Generally 3 days are recommendedmore if you want to do extra trekking routes, but if you have little time, as often happens on a road trip, it is possible to see the main places even in just one full day.
For this reason it is best to sleep two nights in the park and have a full day to visit it.

Like all parks in the United States it is very simple to get around the park, I recommend stopping by visitor center di Furnace Creek and take a detailed map which is essential once you start driving in the park. If instead you want to combine hiking routes here you will find the map with the routes.

You can just drive, if you wish, or you can combine excellent trekking and walking with beautiful mini-road trips.

The places you absolutely must see inside the park are the following:

  • Badwater Basin – Here you get to – 86 m above sea level and is one of the lowest places in the United States. The visit to this salt pan gives its visitors a wonderful experience, from making the walk of about 400 meters up to polygonal salt formations
  • Tour Artists Drive – A beautiful nine-mile scenic drive through colorful, wind- and water-eroded hills. Stop atArtists Palette for a view, if you want you can also do a little hiking, incredible colorful mountains. The best time to drive along the road is in the afternoon.
  • Devils Golf Course – A gigantic area of ​​rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged, serrated spiers, so sharp that only the devil could play golf here (hence the name). If you put your ear close to the ground you will hear noises created by billions of salt crystals exploding, expanding and contracting in the sun
  • Golden Canyon – A labyrinthine landscape of golden hills and narrow canyons from which many trekking routes of different levels start. If you want to do some walking here, you can combine several routes together, don’t forget to bring your map and LOTS of water!
  • Zabriskie Point – This is the most famous viewpoint in the park and the starting point of the route Badlands Loop. Trails from here lead to Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and the Red Cathedral. For exceptional light from here I recommend coming at dawn and dusk
  • Mesquite Flat Dunes – The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are the largest dune area in the park where you can hike and hike. The trees in the dunes have created large mounds that provide stable habitats for wildlife.
  • Dante’s View – This is the most beautiful viewpoint in the park. It is located at 1669 meters, from here you can see the Panamint mountains, which overlook the lowest point of the park and on the western horizon you can also see the Sierra Nevadawhich is home to the highest peak in the United States, Mount Whitney
  • Ubehebe Crater – The crater is 800 meters wide and 183 meters deep, it is easily visible from the car park, but the best way is to reach it on foot in the winter months. The full path then leads to other small craters.
Death Valley National Park

Best View of Death Valley – Where to go at sunset and where to go at sunrise

The sunsets and sunrises in Death Valley are spectacular, how could they not be in a park that feels like Mars rather than planet Earth.
To ensure the best view at the right time then choose one of these places depending on whether you want to enjoy the park at sunset or sunrise.

Where to see the sunrise in Death Valley

  • Zabriskie Point
  • Dante’s View
  • Harmony Borax Works

Where to see the sunset in Death Valley

  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
  • Rainbow Canyon
  • Badwater Basin
  • Tour Artists Drive
  • Ubehebe Crater

Disclaimer: In this post, some of the links provided are affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase through these links. However, this does not incur any additional cost to you. The commissions I receive through these affiliate links they help fund and support my blog, thus maintaining its independence and lack of sponsorship. I always strive to provide you with the best information and advice possible, based on my personal experience and research. I would like to underline that your support is essential to keep this blog alive and continue to provide you with quality content. Thank you for your support!

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