Updated: Mar 2, 2019
“Death Valley has a challenging and unique landscape where you can enjoy the stunning views along your road trip and seeing millions of stars at night.”
Death Valley is the hottest, driest and lowest national park in the U.S. So, don't be surprised if you meet four seasons over there. It can be hot as hell, rains, windy, freezing at night, and sometimes snow when you reach the higher point. You will be excited every minute there!
Why Death Valley is one of the best road trip??
There are numerous beautiful spots that you can quickly stop by to enjoy the views, take some pictures and hiking with the wide-open landscape and blue sky over the mountains. In the morning, you will surprisingly see epic sunrise at Zabriskie Point, as well as the millions of stars, are waiting for you to look at them at night with your naked eyes.
Racetrack Playa: Moving stones phenomenal
If you like adventures and mysterious, Racetrack Playa is definitely on your lists!!
Racetrack Playa is a huge dry lake feature best known for its incredible "moving rocks" by nature. Recommended to rent a jeep car (cost around $300/day) and be patient to drive!! There is such a rough road with sharp rocks along the way to drive there. So, you can only drive around 25 miles per hour, took my friends and me about 3 hours to get there.
Grand Teton is the most popular back-country road in Death Valley National Park and on the way to Racetrack Playa. This place amazes me for more than a minute. With rugged mountains, colorful rock formations, a ghost town and spectacular canyon steep and narrow as a grand finale. I felt I was in a big fiction and I bet you will enjoy and excited along with your road trip in this place!
After you enjoy driving in Titus Canyon, don't be hesitate to stop by this beautiful crater, it is also on the way to Racetrack Playa. Ubehebe Crater is a volcanic explosion with large crater 600 feet dee. There is a trail around the rim of the crate even to the bottom. Beautiful and Extremely windy out there!
Zabriskie Point is one of the magnificent vistas and an excellent place to catch a sunrise in Death Valley. It provides great views of Golden Canyon and Telescope peak off in the distance. You will have to walk up a little bit on the slope to the point. There are lots of hiking options from this spot as well if you have time. This point is popular, so its always packed with people and serious photographers.
If you're visiting Death Valley, stopping here is a must. Badwater Basin is saltwater flats that is the lowest elevation in the US. This place is such a surreal landscape and unique experience. We spent about an hour there walking into the center, but worth it. Stunning mountains surround the salt flats, you can get some cool pictures here! Parking is easy too.
Devil's Golf Course
Devil's Golf Course is good for quick stop(15-20 mins) and it's not far from Badwater Basin. The landscape is interesting, the salt formations are hard and sharp, so need to be careful of walking here and DON'T FALL Anyway, we got some nice pictures!
Dante's View is a viewpoint terrace at 1,669 m height. The last section of the road to get there is a bit twisty but fun. There are some additional trials which are quite good and give you some different perspectives of the park. You can also see the Badwater Basin from this viewpoint. Friendly parking, but it was super windy!!, my hat almost fly away many times.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is one of my favorite spot in Death Valley, quiet and peaceful. Recommended to go there for sunrise, you will see the beautiful tone of the harmony color of sun and sand. There is no formal trail to follow, it a bit of a challenge to be out in the sand because the sand is too soft to walk as well as the strong wind, but it was a fun experience.
MILLIONS of stars is here. If you are a big fan of the Milky Way, Death Valley is a must to go!!
Death Valley is one of the darkest places in the U.S. where you can stargazine like a professional. You can see the star clearly with the naked eye. I would say this was the best highlight of the trip, it was such a beautiful and very impressive moment, I felt like the star is very close to me.
However, I recommend to avoid light pollution by driving away from developed areas and campsite. The proper place to go such as Badwater Basin (we went here), Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and Ubehebe Crater where provide a darker sky and wind perspective. Oh! A small trick is making sure to stay out long enough for your eyes to adjust to the night sky to see the most stars.
Important!! Check the Moon Calendar before you come for the best visible. I gave full credit for my friend who did check and took these fantastic pictures!
Where is the best place to see sunrise?
: Zabriskie Point and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, base on my experience.
What kind of wildlife can you see there?
: We saw Coyote on the way we went out for stargazing. So! be quiet and very careful.
When is the best time to go?
: Winter!! or around October - May. Prepare warm jackets and sleeping bag!
Our first day there, the temperature went down at night from 60 to 20-30 degrees Fahrenheit. We didn't prepare for it to happen so quickly, was so hard to sleep.
When is the best time for stargazing?
: During the new moon, this is when the moon is not visible which means the sky will be darker and you can see more stars. You can check Moon Phases 2019 here
How much time?
: It depends on how you decide your trip. To cover all my lists, I took 3-4 days.😉
Where to sleep?
: We stayed at camp site (first come first serve), it's more fun and save money. There are also some hotel options for you too!
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