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Shallow pools of water reflect the sky at Badwater salt flats in Death Valley National Park


Top Destinations  ·  Southern California  ·  Death Valley Area

Death Valley Area

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Sand dunes in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley is a landscape unlike any place where humans thrive – and not too many plants or animals either. Visitors come to see for themselves the harsh desert that has resisted most development, evoking place names of Hell. Death Valley National Park has plenty of visitors but it is wise to avoid spending much time away from shade during the summers in Death Valley.   
For the truly tough (or crazy), there is The Badwater Ultramarthon, a 135-mile race from the lowest point in Death Valley to Mt. Whitney for an overall elevation gain of 13,000’ – in July!  The 2005 winner is Scott Jurek of Seattle at 24 hours and 36 minutes. 
Some of the highlights of this destination include:

Attractions:Racetrack Playa, Badwater, Zabriskie Point, Eagle Borax Works, Panamint Dunes, Dante’s View

Towns: Lone Pine, Furnace Creek

National Parks: Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Scenic Drive

Scenic Drive
Death Valley National Park
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SCENIC DRIVES: The open landscape, nearly void of vegetation and human settlement, is silent and stark, affected primarily by the time of day and seasons. Attempts at habitation and commerce remain – the Harmony Borax Works in the 1880’s and Scotty’s Castle the home of an eccentric, stand empty. Most animals are nocturnal in the desert, to avoid the hot sun and dry daytime air.

The names of places are familiar and evocative – Badwater, Furnace Creek, Dante’s View, Zabriskie Point, Devil’s Golf Course. In summer, it can be too hot to explore outside your car for very long. Our route takes you to some of the major sites in the park; if the weather is good, explore some of the smaller roads to other sites. Not all roads are open all year due to weather conditions so check with park authorities if you plan to explore back roads.

Our scenic trip starts from Highway 395: take 136, or 190 if you are coming from the south, to enter the park. Continue on 190 until it branches to Badwater where you can experience the feeling of being at the lowest spot in the Western Hemisphere. Retrace your path back to 190 and follow the signs to Dantes View.  

Retrace your path back to 395. If you are ready for more exploration, a detailed map and description of the Death Valley National Park is included in the National Parks section.


Jon Sullivan/PDPhoto.org
Find out how rocks make tracks at Racetrack Playa, a dry lake bed in Death Valley National Park

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