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.
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!
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.
The layers and shifting colors with the shadows were wonderful sights to behold.
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.
Those are hiking trails on top of those ridges!
Another viewpoint from the path to Zabriskie Point.
Furnace Creek Campground – I took this picture from the Visitor Center, but didn’t have a chance to check it out any further. But CampsitePhotos.com has pictures of them all, including individual sites.
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:
Links to more info:
What to do in Death Valley (National Geographic)
Weather and Climate (NPS)
Death Valley Ghost Towns (NPS)
Rhyolite Ghost Town (NPS)
How Much Time Should I Spend in Death Valley? (Just Ahead)