As the largest national park outside of Alaska, Death Valley National Park covers about 5,270 square miles – that’s about the same size as the entire state of Connecticut. That means that it’s pretty much impossible to see the whole park in one trip, so you’ll have to prioritize the most iconic spots. Here are a few places in Death Valley you should make sure not to miss:
If you’re a morning person, we highly recommend heading to Zabriskie Point to start your day by watching the sunrise. As the sun comes up, it gradually illuminates the badlands below you, painting them gold, and the Panamint Range on the other side of the valley turns bright pink.
A little bit south of Zabriskie Point is Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the valley. In fact, at 282 feet below sea level, these salt flats are actually the lowest point in all of North America. Every so often, the valley will get enough rain to turn the basin into a lake, allowing visitors to kayak on the valley floor.
Hikers should make sure not to miss Ubehebe Crater, a 600-foot crater created about 2,100 years ago when magma under the surface of the Earth came into contact with the valley’s groundwater, causing an enormous eruption of volcanic steam. We recommend hiking the trail around the rim to get a sense of the half-mile-wide crater’s scope.
If you’ve had enough of the stark desert imagery of Death Valley, make sure you stop by the Artist’s Palette in the late afternoon. As the sun lowers, it paints the Black Mountains in vibrant colors, including greens, blues, reds, and violets. This is also a great place to see some of the valley’s famous brightly-colored wildflowers.
Essential Travel Guide: