Death Valley has a lot of superlatives associated with it: Hottest; driest; lowest. It is the hottest place in North America because of its low elevation and the surrounding mountains recirculate the hot air keeping it from dissipating at night. Daytime temperatures frequently reach 120 F and nighttime temperatures mat remain about 100. Death Valley is one of the driest points because the series of mountain ranges sap all the moisture from the clouds coming in from the east leaving very little rain when the clouds reach the valley. Death Valley also contains the lowest point in the lower 48 states because of the geologic makeup of the Basin and Range type of terrain. These forces continue to make the Panamint Mountain Range get higher and the Badwater Basin (lowest point in the US at 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level) get lower. These unique forces allow the lowest point in the lower 48 and the highest point in the lower 48 (Mt McKinley at 14,491 feet (meters) to occur within 100 miles of each other. The geologic forces also combine with climactic and biological factors to form a unique ecosystem that provides a home to many species of animals and plants that are not found anywhere else in the world. Many people think of Death Valley as a vast wasteland; but there is actually an abundance of life here if you know where, and when, to look for it. My time was limited so I stuck to areas by the main road. I hope to return and expand my page soon. Entrance Fee was $20 as of September 2009.
Death Valley is a land of extremes. It's one of the hottest places on the surface of the Earth with summer temperatures averaging well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It encompasses the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 282 feet below the level of the sea, and it is the driest place in North America.