Hi fellow travellers! My name is Angela Hermida and welcome to my travel guide on the epic Death Valley National Park of the United States.
After high school, I moved to California to study English and moved back to Spain to study hospitality. While studying, I did internships in Dubai, Florence and Vegas. That’s when I discovered my passion for travel.
After graduation, I moved back to Cali to study interior design and kept traveling. I wanted to record my trips and so started learning photography.
Amazing Day Trip to Death Valley National Park
Recently, with the COVID-19 and Lockdown situation, I started to see more people take road trips and visit national parks all across the United States.
So I decided to take my own road trip. I did a bit of research and found incredible pictures of Death Valley National Park and thought it would be an amazing place to visit. I only spent a day there as it was the first stop on my road trip. This day was based on an itinerary I had made before going.
My time at Death Valley National Park started by waking up really early to watch the sunrise at the beautiful Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, then visiting Badwater Basin, Artist’s Palette, Devil’s Golf Course and Zabriskie Point.
My favorite place was Artist’s Palette. It was one of the reasons I wanted to visit. The views of these hills covered in pastel colors is something from another world and it’s crazy to think this happens naturally.
8 Best Things To Do at Death Valley National Park
A visit to Death Valley, straddling California and Nevada, transports you to an otherworldly landscape where towering peaks, scorched desert, sand dunes, volcanic craters and rugged canyons burst from the ground. There are so many things to do and I would say these are the Top-8:
1. Drive to the Incredible Artist’s Palette
As mentioned above, Artist’s Palette is my favorite part of Death Valley National Park. The purple, blue and green colors of the mountain are produced by the oxidation of metals and elements found in the ground. It’s an incredible place to admire, walk around and take unique photos.
2. Watch the Sunrise at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
What better way to start your trip to the Death Valley than by watching the sunrise at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. These 100-foot-high sand dunes are the most accessible dunes in the national park and offer incredible views especially at sunrise/sunset when the color and light transform the dunes.
3. Check out the Salt Flats of Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin is located at the southern end of Death Valley and best accessed through the town of Baker. The salt flats and pools here are beautiful, almost looking like pools of white snow. These salt flats go on as far as the eye can see – making for superb photo opportunities.
4. Take in the Epic Views of Zabriskie Point
The awesome panoramic views from Zabriskie Point are some of the best sights in all of Death Valley National Park. Take in a stunning panorama of the rugged badlands, canyons, gulches and desert near Furnace Creek. Just take a short leisurely stroll up a paved hill to enjoy the Zabriskie Point.
5. Learn the Name Behind Devil’s Golf Course
The name itself is reason enough to visit this epic place. According to legend: “only the devil could play golf on such a rough golf course”. This intense area of rock salt has been eroded over thousands of years by wind and rain into incredibly unique looking jagged spires. It’s an awesome spot!
6. Marvel at the Incredible Ubehebe Crater
Ubehebe Crater is a volcanic crater 600 feet deep and half a mile wide resembling a large basket. The Timbisha Indians call this crater “Temp-pin-tta Wo’sah” meaning Coyote’s Basket. It was created by a phreatic eruption two to seven thousand years ago and is a real wonder of nature.
7. Discover the Moving Rocks of Racetrack Playa
Racetrack Playa is a dry lakebed three miles long and two miles wide, nestled between the Cottonwood and Last Chance Ranges. Easily the highlight of this place are the moving rocks which have left trails behind them. No one really knows how they move which adds to the mystery.
8. Hike the Natural Bridge Canyon Trail
A fairly easy two-mile round trip walk, the Natural Bridge Canyon is a fantastic hike for people looking to learn more about the geological history of Death Valley National Park. Discover a panel at the trailhead which shows illustrations of the different geological features.
Where to Stay in Death Valley National Park
I stayed in a town called Pahrump which is located 1 ½ hours from Death Valley. This was a great place to choose because of its location, one of the closest towns to the park. If your budget allows it, I recommend staying at The Oasis – a beautiful hotel inside the national park.
Favorite Memory from Death Valley National Park
My favorite memory from my day trip at Death Valley National Park was looking at the sunrise in Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. The golden morning glow showing behind the dunes was spectacular. Being there alone felt calming and refreshing, especially with everything going on right now.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
First of all, there is no service in the park. I suggest downloading a map before going so it works offline. Also, fill your gas tank before going as there are no gas stations inside the park. I recommend going outside of summer because Death Valley can get extremely hot in certain areas.
Of course, take water and snacks for your trips, and plan your itinerary in advance so you don’t waste time going back and forth. The only thing you have to pay for is an entrance fee of $30 but there is no ticket booth. You pay at the automated pay station and put your ticket on your dashboard.
What makes Death Valley amazing are the unique landscapes. It’s a land of extremes. Also, because it’s in the middle of nowhere, there is a really peaceful and calming vibe about the national park. All I can say is do some planning and enjoy the most extraordinary landscapes on earth!