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Five incredible things to see in Death Valley

Updated: Oct 18, 2022

The white faded mountains of Death Valley National Park. ©AlonzoWright
Death Valley National Park in California is the lowest, hottest & driest place in the North American continent. ©AlonzoWright

Death Valley National Park, sounds a little ominous, doesn’t it? It probably would be for those who ended up there by mistake, and it certainly was for the doomed gold rush pioneers. But with the rise of road trips and visits to national parks (thanks to covid), it's an otherworldly destination you may want to put on your radar screen. If you're in the SoCal or Las Vegas area, it's only a couple hours away, making it an easy day trip. So why would you want to visit some place that feels a little like a barren wasteland? Glad you asked.

Why you should visit Death Valley National Park

You should visit Death Valley National Park because it’s likely the closest thing you’ll ever experience to actually leaving the earth. It feels like a different planet completely, and that’s why it has been used in multiple films including Hollywood blockbusters like “Star Wars.” Death Valley is a land of brutal extremes; scorched and crackled earth, frigid nights and blistering days, poisonous snakes, beautiful wildflowers, some of the best star gazing in the country. Although this may seem like a little bit of a surprise to some folks, people have been trekking to the desert for thousands of years to turn their attentions inward. There’s a stillness there, it’s raw and unfussy, there are no pretenses or distractions making it one of the most sought-after places to have spiritual experiences or to find the answers to life’s most burning questions. Or maybe you’re hunting UFOs. Whatever the reason, you’ve probably never been anywhere quite like Death Valley.

A mile marker sign in Death Valley, surrounded by vibrant yellow wildflowers. ©AlonzoWright
Desert wildflowers grow along the sides of the road near mile marker 14 in Death Valley National Park. ©AlonzoWright

What to know before going to Death Valley National Park

It’s a good idea to stop at the Welcome Center to take advantage of the last little bit of modern amenities you’ll see for the rest of the day, like the restroom. If not, you’ll likely be digging a hole and filling it with sand later. They also have WiFi, air conditioning, water, you know…the important stuff. You should take a minute to look around and learn a little bit about what you can (and want) to see. There’s some good information to gather from the staff, and it will help make the most of your visit so you’re not spending your time staring at things that don’t interest you.

You’re in for miles and miles…and miles of wide-open spaces. Which means you may as well put your phone on airplane mode, so you don’t drain the battery. While there isn’t much of a signal, it does go in and out a lot so you may bring an external battery for all the cool shots you’re going to take to commemorate your visit. You’re going to be carrying everything with you if you hike, so pack more water than you think you’ll possibly need and less “stuff.”

Things to see in Death Valley National Park