Sunrise is the best time to visit the park. For one thing, you beat the heat, and the crowds, which are both important to enjoying the park. You get to feel how really isolated this desert can be, how 19th century travelers felt seeing it (and some died in it).
For photographers, it is great due to the angle of the sun. In the morning the sunshine has a great quality to it, warmer in tone than a noonday sun. And the angle also brings out the shadows in the landscape, adding texture and depth to what otherwise would be a tepid, boring scene. The rocks come alive, the sand dunes show their curves. Take a tripod, since the light is lower, but you'll be richly rewarded for your adventure.
Around the NP, there are various campgrounds where you can set up camp for the night and be able to go off on various tracks and hikes. When we went througha lot of these had actually been closed and there was no access to them whatsoever. So maybe it's worth checking up on the internet at the places and where would be suitable for you to stay and then getting in contact with them one way or another to check when they are open/closed.
In the (sort of) centre of DV, there is a small village with restaurant/shop with a big hotel, and I can imagine that and another few located in the NP to be quite pricey too. The camping and camp parks themselves costs a small amount to 'rent' but no where near as pricey as the hotels.
Favorite thing: It seems that it could be necessary to refill. I read in a guide that there are a lot of reservoirs along the road, but this is the only one we saw, a fair distance before badwater (coming from Baker).
For geologists and friends of geology, Death Valley shows much of earth’s history. Compressed into the rock layers, ocean sediments can be found. In the different rock foldings, earth’s past movements can be observed.
In the picture, badlands have the typical iron oxide yellow color, topped by a more blackish manganese containing layer.
This map has been taken from Death Valley NP Website:
Alternatively, there is a map on NP Website, which can be downloaded at:
Favorite thing: Along Highway 95 in Goldfield, Nevada there are some artistic cars parked next to an abondoned gas station. I remembered these troll dolls when thinking of the orange bushes in the desert around Las Vegas and within Death Valley National Park.
Favorite thing: Mahogany Flat is located at the top of the Wildrose Canyon Road, high in the Panamint Mountains. If you make it this far on the road, the views are supposed to be incredible. I had to cut the drive short due to large amounts of snow on the road, making it slippery and impassible (at least for me), but the views were getting nicer as the drive progressed. Its yet another reason to drive out to Wildrose Canyon, if the sight alone of the Charcoal Kilns or hiking Telecscope or Wildrose peaks is not enough to convince you.
Favorite thing: The last few miles of the Wildrose Canyon road are unpaved and unmaintained. During the winter, snow can accumulate at this elevation and make the road impassible. This is what the road looked like in late November.
Emigrant Pass, at about 5,000 feet, is the halfway point of the Wildrose Canyon Road. From here, the road continues an overall ascent as it winds and twists its way through Emigrant Canyon and on to Wildrose campground.
The stretch of road where Emigrant Pass is found is particularly flat and level and its a good spot to stop and take pictures.
Favorite thing: The Wildrose Peak trail is just over 8 miles round tripand has been described as moderate. Given the elevation and a gain of 2,000 feet, it may be more strenuous than described, especially for those not used to hiking in elevation. But a maintained trail leads to the summit and the hike can be done in just over half a day.
Favorite thing: Stovepipe Wells is located about 30 miles north of Furnace Creek. Its basically an outpost containing a gas station, general store and a motel which is open seasonally. From here, the road continues on to Wildrose Canyon and Panamint Springs.
Favorite thing: This area is not to be confused with the Devil's Golf Course, which contains a collection of salt crystals. The Devil's cornfield is located just south of Stovepipe Wells. Here, you'll find the beginnings of plant life and a marked contrast between the arid brown terrain of the valley.
There are several ways to get here, depending on your point of origin and what you'd like to see en route.
From Las Vegas, highway 95 runs parallel to the park. Hwy 373 leads you through the Amargosa Valley and onto Death Valley junction, but, as of November, 2004, Death Valley Junction remains closed due to the flooding and is not expected to reopen for the next several months. An alternative is highway 374 at Beatty which leads into the park and runs into US 190. Drive time for these routes is approximately 3-4 hours.
The scenic route from Las Vegas begins with Hwy 160 west which becomes 127 and then 178 at Shoshone. This route crosses a couple of mountain passes (which received heavy snow before my November visit, so keep that in mind if you take this route in winter), the Ashford Mill Ruins and the Badwater Basin before leading to Furnace Creek.
From LA, take I-15 north to 127 to 178 at Shoshone.
Favorite thing: The Harmony Borax Works was the first successful mining operation in then completely desolate Death Valley. The operation ran for only 5 years before it was moved to the Amargosa Valley. During its operation, mule teams transported the profitable mineral across the desert. When visiting Death Valley, you can take a short 1/4 mile walking tour of the ruins of the old plant and cimmunity known as Harmony.
The main visitor center is located at Furnace Creek right in the middle of the park on California Highway 190.
There is a slide show about the park and you can get lots of brochures, book and souvenirs. The visitor center is open all year from 8 am to 6 pm. Phone: (760) 786-3200.
By the way: Entry fee for the National Park is $10 per vehicle. The ticket is valid for a whole week.
If you have no trailer there are motels/inns located at Stovepipe Wells Village and two at Furnace...more
Stayed at stovepipe wells, Death Valley in march 2012. It was amazing. After a long drive through...more
There are campgrounds near Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. There are also camping areas in...more