Death Valley National Park

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Death Valley Sign

My visit: Jan. 2016

So big it can’t be contained by one state! Most of its 3.4 million acres are in California, but I arrived via the Nevada entrance from Beatty and my first destination was the main visitor center at Furnace Creek, which is in California.

death valley map

Although I always said the desert was not my favorite environment and I’d laugh and say I didn’t relish going somewhere as gloomy sounding as Death Valley, it was actually the gloomy weather I’d been having in Oregon that drove me to seek sunnier skies.

This is definitely a land of extremes that boasts being the hottest, driest and lowest  in elevation (Badwater Basin is 282′ below sea level).  The highest ground temperature ever recorded was 201°  F at Furnace Creek in July, 1972 and the maximum air temperature then was 128°  F.  Whoa, Nellie, I’m glad I was here in January!

Death Valley - road 1

Other than Alaska, Death Valley is our largest National Park. There is almost 1,000 miles of paved and dirt roads giving access to popular attractions.

Death Valley - road 2

The layers and shifting colors with the shadows were wonderful sights to behold.

Death Valley Zabriskie Point

Zabriskie Point – Easily accessible by a short uphill paved path, it was one of my favorite viewpoints. These layers are due to volcanic and seismic activity and pressure that is folding the ancient valley floor.  Gullywasher rainstorms caused the erosion of the rocks into the strangely beautiful landscape.

Death Valley Zabriskie Point trails

Those are hiking trails on top of those ridges!

Death Valley Zabriskie Point view

Another viewpoint from the path to Zabriskie Point.

Death Valley - Furnace Creek CG

Furnace Creek Campground – I took this picture from the Visitor Center, but didn’t have a chance to check it out any further. But has pictures of them all, including individual sites.

Scotty's Castle Death Valley NP

I enjoyed my time here enough to want to return for further exploration at some point, especially since one of the iconic sites was closed during my visit.  Scotty’s Castle was closed due to damage from an October, 2015 flash flood which damaged not only the building itself, but closed the road due to many sections of pavement being washed out. NPS says it probably won’t be open until late summer 2016.


All Malia’s Miles Death Valley pages:

Death Valley Index  ♦  Artist’s Drive  ♦  Desert in Bloom 

Badwater Road sightsNatural Bridge Hike


linksLinks to more info:

Death Valley National Park (NPS)

Death Valley National Park Map (NPS)

What to do in Death Valley (National Geographic)

Weather and Climate (NPS)

Campgrounds in Death Valley (NPS)

Death Valley Ghost Towns (NPS)

Rhyolite Ghost Town (NPS)

How Much Time Should I Spend in Death Valley? (Just Ahead)


  • WilliamandKaren Massicotte

    Your coverage of the places you visit is incredibly clear and thorough. The pictures make us feel we are there or better yet, want to be. keep up the good work. Looking forward to your next adventure

    • Hey y’all, this makes me feel so good to hear – thanks a bunch! I share the kind of things I want to know about a place I’m thinking of visiting, so it’s nice to know others appreciate it, too!

  • Rochelle

    I was in Death Valley in late February and was really surprised by how beautiful and diverse it was. I guess I was expecting something like the Sahara Desert! I have some of the same pictures that you have. We were a little disappointed we could not see Scotty’s Castle due to the flood damage. We took a short hike before it got too warm. Actually the weather was quite nice. We happened to be there at the right time to see the Super Bloom. Now that was something! When we left DVNP we headed west into the Alabama Hills and Lone Pine. The sight of the snow capped Eastern Sierras and Mt Whitney with the brilliant blue sky actually brought tears to my eyes. I will return to Death Valley again for sure. Have to been to the Alabama Hills? Love reading your blog and the photos. Rochelle

    • Your expectations sound like what I was expecting, too, Rochelle. I was pleasantly surprised and thrilled with my time there and I would definitely return, too. I want to see Scotty’s Castle when it reopens, also. No, I have not been to the Alabama Hills – so many worthy places, so little time. 😉 Thanks for the compliment, too! I’m always so happy to hear others enjoy what I write about.

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