Death Valley is the lowest point in North America, 86 m below the sea level. It is a huge desert area that extends mostly in the state of California and partially of Nevada.
In this endless Death Valley National Park, we ran, jumped, took so many photos in a very hot air of almost 50 degrees. That’s why maybe they call it “death”, we were dying of heat 😉 … but despite the high degrees, we spent here one of the best days of our trip along the West Coast.
Are you curious to really know why it is called Death Valley?? This macabre name was assigned by a group of pioneers who were trapped in this valley in the winter of 1849 – 50. During those days, only one of them failed to survive and when reinforcements arrived, one of the missing men turned around and greeted the valley saying: “Goodbye, Death Valley”. Since then, this vast desert area has been named “Death Valley”.
Death Valley is crossed from North-West to South-East by the California Highway 190, and there are 3 possible accesses:
from the North–West if you come from YOSEMITE NP or from San Francisco
from the South if arriving from Los Angeles
from the South–East if you start from Las Vegas
We advise you to keep the park’s website particularly monitored because some accesses or even entire roads are often closed due to bad weather or work in progress (The website is updated in real time).
Death Valley is open 24/24h , if you need to go to the VISITOR CENTER to have some information or to take the park’s map, the opening hours are from 8.00 to 17.00, all days.
Admission to any US park is charged, but we assure you that it will be worthy! If you’re planning to visit just one national park during your trip or road trip, you can buy a day pass for $ 20/25 that is valid for one vehicle. Otherwise, if you want to visit 4 or more parks, you can take the annual pass (The U.S. Park Pass), which costs $ 80 per vehicle. Here’s the link for further information.
We visited this desert in the middle of summer, during July. The sky was a deep blue and the temperatures were very high and, in fact, we didn’t find too many tourists. In spring, the most recommended season, the landscape is filled with wild flowers, days are sunny but not too hot. At the end of October when the autumn begins, skies are clear and temperatures very pleasant; in winter, there is a great difference in temperatures between day and night, but you can admire the beautiful snowy peaks behind the infinite desert.
Inside the park there are only two gasoline stations: one at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and one at the Stovepipe Wells. Remember to fill the tank before starting the day because the routes are very long!
So, on this point we would like to pause for a moment and tell you what happened to us.
Premise: we rented an off-road vehicle, 4×4, very spacious … the most suitable choice!
Before leaving we had read about keeping the air conditioner very low or even turned off in the car, but it was almost impossible to follow these tips. It was so hot that when we were back on the road, we really needed some fresh air. The fact is that we did our entire tour in complete carelessness, managing the air conditioning as we preferred, but arrived at Zabriskie Point, something went wrong (luckily it was our last stop before leaving the valley).
We went down to look at the stunning view that this landscape offered and when we returned to the car, our off-roader struggled to start its engine. We lived 5 minutes of pure panic! then fortunately we managed to restart the car. However, the car’s electronics had completely stopped working: no air conditioning, the windows did not open, the speedometer was off, the signalling wasn’t working, neither was the radio … and, in addition, there was no signal to call for help. At the end, we arrived in Las Vegas after about 1h 30minutes in these conditions and we immediately went to Alamo Car Rental to ask for the replacement of our car.
So dear readers, the high temperatures of this valley can cause problems to your vehicle; before going to Death Valley, we advise you to refill your water bottles [/ highlight] in case you have to wait for rescue for hours!
For lunch we stopped at Badwater Saloon, a typical American diner where we ate chicken wings with BBQ sauce. Despite the 50 degrees of the valley, they were very good! Instead, near the Furnace Creek, there is another eatery called Timbisha Tacos.
THINGS AND PLACES NOT TO BE MISSED
Furnace Creek Center
Mosquite Flat Sand Dunes
Devil’s Golf Course
Take a look at our gallery!! ♥