Death Valley – California

Date of Visit: April 13-15, 2017

How we got there: Drove from the Grand Canyon, about 6.5 hours.

Lodging: Stovepipe Wells Village

Favorites:

  • Wildrose Peak – Strenuous 8.4-mile out and back hike with 2,300 feet of elevation gain. Offers nearly 360-degree views of Death Valley and all the way west to the Sierra Nevada range.
  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes – Wander as far into the dunes as you’d like near sunset and enjoy the show.
  • Golden Canyon – Narrow canyon of gold-colored rock formations. We hiked 3 miles to Red Cathedral and back, but you can make a route up to 8 miles with the network of trails in the area.
  • Badwater Basin – The lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. Walk out into the salt flat.
  • Dante’s View – Probably the most spectacular viewpoint in the park. A 14-mile one-way drive leads to this point 5,500 vertical feet above Badwater Basin. Nearly the entirety of the valley is visible from here.

Tips: The park is huge, staying within the park at Stovepipe Wells or Furnace Creek saves transportation time compared to lodging in a nearby town. On a hot day, choose a high-elevation mountain hike for relief from the heat.

Next time: Go to the Racetrack in an off-road worthy vehicle. Visit Scotty’s Castle when it reopens from repairs in 2019. Visit Ubehebe Crater. Hike Telescope Peak, the highest point in the park.

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