DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK, CALIFORNIA
  Desolate, Dangerous... and Strangely Beautiful
 
   
 

Death Valley National Park (OFFICIAL WEBSITE) is not for everyone. It's hot, barren and kinda spooky. Despite the park's immense size (nearly twice the size of Rhode Island), it's difficult to reach, especially from the west. As national park completist, I HAD to visit this park since we were already in Southern California. And honestly... I was curious to experience just how hot and inhospitable this area could be. I found it to be quite beautiful and eerily serene.

Dante's View (pictured above) is about an hour round trip off of the main road, but it offers the park's most picturesque view of the valley. At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest dry point in the Western Hemisphere. Artist's Drive is a scenic drive through some interesting rock formations. The park is full of things named "Devil's -this" and "Devil's-that". We arrived at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center at about 10:00 AM and the thermometer already read 102 degrees F, the mercury ultimately rose above 115. Fortunately, we viewed most of the scenery from the comfort of our air-conditioned Chrysler 300 rental car.

Food, fresh water and, gasoline is in limited availability, so you'll need to be prepared. Although we visited in July... the peak visitor season is during the cooler winter months when camping and hiking can be enjoyed in more reasonable temperatures.

       
    DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK PHOTOS - JULY, 2006  
    CLICK THUMBNAILS FOR LARGER IMAGE  
             
    EAST ENTRANCE   NEAR EAST ENTRANCE   ROAD TO DANTE'S VIEW   EAST ENTRANCE   FURNACE CREEK INN  
                       
             
    DANTE'S VIEW   DANTE'S VIEW   BADWATER BASIN - LOWEST POINT IN WESTERN HEMISPHERE   LOOKING UP TO SEA LEVEL   SEA LEVEL AT FURNACE CREEK INN  
                       
             
    ARTIST'S DRIVE   ARTIST'S PALETTE   CHRYSLER 300 RENTAL CAR   FURNACE CREEK VISITOR CENTER   FURNACE CREEK VISITOR CENTER  
                       
                   
    SAND DUNES   "DEVIL'S CORNFIELD"