Death Valley National Park
After recent trips to Joshua Tree and Yosemite, it was time to make it to another California National Park – Death Valley. With my adventure buddy and close friend Hannah in town for a few days, it was the perfect opportunity to make the trip!
Located 4.5 hours Northeast of LA, a weekend trip to Death Valley is easily achievable with an early start. Leaving LA Saturday morning at 5:00 AM we avoided traffic and made great timing, pulling into the ranger station at Stovepipe Wells by 9:30. Given we were only staying one night, we asked the ranger for recommendations, and made our plan for the next 24 hours.
Badwater Basin – At 282 ft. below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere. When looking across the 200 Square Miles of Salt Flats, the basin looks as though it is covered in a light dusting of fresh snow, instead of dried up sea water!
Artist's Drive – A 9 mile scenic drive loop, exposing beautiful different types of rocks and rock formations.
Golden Canyon Trail – There are a range of great hiking trails along the Golden Canyon Trial. We opted for the 2.5 mile loop to Red Cathedral. There are plenty of secondary trails along the way where you can explore deeper into the canyon.
Mesquite Flat Dunes – We made our way out onto the dunes an hour or so before sunset, and experienced a truly magical golden hour. The particles of sands were glistening, the mountains surrounding the valley were glowing, and the sky was painted shades of pink and purple.
Zabriskie Point – If you make it to Zabriskie Point for sunrise, you’ll likely run into dozens of photographers, for a good reason. This is the perfect spot to watch the mountains change color as the sun rises, and fills the valley floor with light! There is also a large parking lot, with facilities, and a paved path up to the point.
Camping & Supplies
Furnace Creek – Furnace creek campground is a 30-minute drive past Stovepipe Wells. In the village of Furnace Creek you will find all of your essentials, so don’t worry if you forget tin foil or want to go to a café for dinner.
There was also plenty of water and gas throughout the National Park. We filled up our bottles at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Stovepipe Wells.