The name is a little scary. Death Valley National Park doesn’t exactly sound like a picnic. It sounds like a desolate place. It sounds harsh and rugged. It doesn’t sound like a place that is full of rich wildlife, or scenic views.
But the truth is that Death Valley is all of these things. It’s desolate and lush, frightening and beautiful. That’s because it encapsulates all that nature has to offer. It’s extreme in both its beauty and its harsh realities.
Ten Things to Know About Death Valley National Park
If you’re planning a visit to Death Valley you’re sure to encounter the wonders and the strength of Mother Nature. To make sure your trip is successful, satisfying, and safe, there are a few things you need to know. Here are ten tips about Death Valley National Park to make your visit memorable for all the right reasons.
1. The Weather Can be Extreme
On a list of fun Death Valley facts you would likely see that it is the hottest place on Earth, and the driest place in North America. This extreme weather is due to the deep basin that it sits in, and the large mountain ranges that surround it. It is also prone to flashfloods when it does rain, and sudden dust storms.
This makes it important to keep a Death Valley National Park map on hand at all times. Flooding and other natural disasters can obstruct and close roadways and trails, so it’s imperative to know alternate routes.
2. The Heat is Serious
Though the record high temperature of 134 degrees Fahrenheit was recorded way back in 1913, the heat of Death Valley summer’s is no joke. Being prepared with extra water is not just a friendly tip to keep in mind. It’s a necessity for your own safety.
3. The Wildlife is Diverse
From beautiful wildflowers that bloom when the conditions are just right to big horn sheep that have adapted to live on little water, Death Valley is actually full of life. It makes for a great place to learn about evolution, and the ways in which plants and animals adapt to survive. The park is full of creatures that have found a way to live in a place that is practically unlivable.
4. It Has the Lowest Point in North America
You might not sit around asking yourself, “what is the lowest point in North America?” but it just so happens to be in Death Valley, at a place called Badwater Basin. It’s important to know this not only because this low point influences the extreme weather in Death Valley, but also because you can’t miss going to Badwater Basin to pose by the sign.
5. The Salt Flats Are Stunning
The Salt Flats of Death Valley are like nothing you’ve ever seen before. The massive Badwater Basin acts as a draining pool for the surrounding area, and as the arid climate evaporates the water, only the salt crystals and minerals remain. The result is a stunning crystalized landscape with strange patterns that change constantly.
6. You Can’t Beat the Stargazing
In general, it’s not considered a positive thing when your vacation spot can be described as desolate, but it is when it comes to stargazing. Death Valley boasts some of the darkest skies in America, and it has the distinction of being one of three US national parks designated as a dark park by the International Dark-Sky Association.
7. You Can Spot Roadrunners Year Round
Before you read any further, you might have to pause to wrap your head around the fact that not only are roadrunners real, but you can see them in action. Death Valley is home to a rich bird population making it an ideal place for bird watching. Its long list of bird species includes non other than the infamous roadrunner, and you can spot them, but of course not catch them, any time of year.
8. It Has a Landscape of Another World
Take a scenic tour along Artists Drive and discover the volcanic hills that resemble Mars more than Earth. The rock formations, the colors, the grandeur, are all capable of taking your breath away.
9. You Can Explore Sand Dunes
Up until right about now, you might have assumed that you would have to venture all the way to the Sahara to see sand dunes, but there are actually some right here in America. You can follow a paved road up to Mesquite Flat Sand dunes, and explore the various shapes and formations in the sand.
10. You Can Reserve A Camping Spot
Most Death Valley National Park camping is done on a first-come first-served basis, but the Furnace Creek Campground allows you to reserve a camping spot. This can help take some of the stress out of planning your visit because you’ll know you have a place to stay.
Easily Plan the Liveliest Trip to Death Valley
From extremely high temperatures, to the lowest point in North America, to the best Death Valley National Park Camping, you now have all the tools to start planning your perfect trip.
Death Valley National Park may have an ominous name, but it’s clearly full of life, adventure, and fun. As you plan your visit, you can be confident that you know some of the park’s biggest attractions, biggest secrets, and most interesting facts.