Death Valley National Park

A goal I made in 2016 was to visit places I often pass by or have been putting off for years. I believe I mentioned this goal in an earlier post when I wrote about my visit to ZZYZX Road and Calico ghost town. I have visited several others places since including Arizona Route 66, which was high on my list.

Another place on my lengthy list is Death Valley, which is surprising to most considering what I do for a living. Well that too can now be checked off the list. In fact, I made two trips to Death Valley in the last month. I need to mention that just because I’ve visited these places and checked them off the list doesn’t mean I won’t be back. In fact, I plan on returning to most as a tour guide leading groups. I’ve already done that with several.

My first impression of Death Valley…eh! Desolate and barren, bland compared to the red rock country I live in. But after spending some time in the park visiting the various sections, I became a fan. I quickly warmed up, so to speak, to its stark beauty and colorful landscape. Not colorful like Bryce, Yellowstone, or Canyonlands, but a unique beauty of its own.

Death Valley was designated a national monument in 1933 with nearly 2 million acres set aside by President Herbert Hoover, but didn’t receive national park status until 1994. On October 31, 1994, the monument was expanded by 1.3 million acres and re-designated as a national park making it the largest national park in the lower 48 states.

I didn’t have time to visit all the popular spots but I did get a good taste of what can be done in a day or two depending on how much time you spend at each stop. I’ll just have to go back to check out the rest.

Click on a tab for a description of the places I visited.

From Dante’s View one can see the central part of Death Valley from a vantage point 5,500 feet above sea level. From here Badwater Basin can be seen, which contains the lowest dry point in North America. Telescope Peak can also be seen from here which is 11,049 feet above sea level. This is the greatest topographic relief in the lower 48 states of the U.S.

The mountain that Dante’s View is on is part of the Black Mountains which along with the parallel Panamint Range across the valley from what geologists call a horst and in the valley that is called a graben.  Horst and graben are always formed together. Graben are usually represented by low-lying areas such as rifts and river valleys whereas horsts represent the ridges between or on either side of these valleys.

Calculate the distance and route to Death Valley from where you live using the map below.

Furnace Creek Visitors Center Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Furnace Creek, CA, USA
Titus Canyon Road Titus Canyon Road, California, USA
Harmony Borax Works Harmony Borax Works Interpretive Trail, Furnace Creek, CA, USA
Zabriskie Point Zabriskie Point, California, USA
Artist Palette Artists Palette, Furnace Creek, CA, USA
Badwater Badwater Basin, California, USA
Dante's View Dantes View, California, USA