Death Valley

Death Valley National Park is considered one the most breathtaking expanses of nature in the United States. It's also one of the most extreme environments on earth. Death Valley that will both amaze you and make you want to visit on your next vacation. And by staying in Ridgecrest, CA, you'll enjoy the comforts of home while visiting one of the most unique places in the world.

The largest national park outside of Alaska, Death Valley is an almost unfathomable place. The park’s 3.3 million acres /1.34 million hectares encompass mountain-size sand dunes, below-sea-level salt flats, mysterious singing rocks, and colorful sandstone canyons. Extremes are the norm: Death Valley is the hottest and driest place in America, with summer temperatures peaking above 120 F°/49°C, and average rainfall of 2 inches/5 cm per year. Also extreme are the park’s elevations: Badwater Basin, the park’s lowest spot, rests at 282 feet/86 metres below sea level while Telescope Peak soars to 11,049 feet/3,368 metres. So go high, or go very, very low; get hot, or chill out with amazing desert vistas. Death Valley delivers on every end of the scale.

Uniquely California

It’s usually considered a winter park, but it is possible to visit Death Valley all year long. Spring is actually a fantastic time to visit as the days are warm and sunny, while the wildflowers are in bloom. The impressive flowers peak in late March to early April.

Autumn is another great option as temperatures are warm but not too hot, and camping season begins.

Winter days are cool and nights are chilly at Death Valley. Snow caps the high peaks so it is a particularly beautiful time to visit. Peak winter visitation periods include Christmas to New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day weekend in January, and Presidents’ Day weekend in February. Summer starts early in the park. Keep in mind that by May the valley is typically too hot for most visitors, so may tour the park by car.

Unusual Places to Consider Visiting

The low, salty pool at Badwater, just beside the main park road 18 miles south of Furnace Creek, is probably the best known and most visited place in Death Valley. The actual lowest point (-282 feet) is located several miles from the road and is not easily accessible - in fact its position varies, but a sign in front of the pool proclaims it too to have an elevation of -282 feet, and it is here that everyone comes to take photographs. An enlarged parking area and other new facilities were constructed in fall 2003 to cope with the ever increasing visitor numbers at the site.