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
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
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.