“Park-ing” in California (III): Death Valley

 

Having almost frozen in the Giant Sequoia National Park we seek for some warm weather, and what’s better than the desert Death Valley for that? We don’t plan to stay there overnight, although there are a couple of hotels in Furnace Creek, right in the middle of the National Park. The sky must look beautiful at night, but we decide to spend just one day in the Park and continue driving to Las Vegas.

Endless roads surrounded by tall and colorful mountains lead us to the Death Valley. The Death Valley is not “regular” desert; it is a dry sea valley between two very big lines of mountains. It used to have salty water but it dried out with time and now a huge plain with some salt accumulated here and there expands over the valley. However, there are other attractions in the NP besides the so well know Badwater basin, which is below sea level and it’s the lowest point in North America. It’s surprising to find a vast area with sand dunes right there, or little mountains named “the artist’s palette” after its multiple colors, hidden canyons that lead to the dry valley, curvy shaped Zabriskie point, or the famous rolling stones, that mysteriously run across the valley.

 

did_you_know Did you know that…

… there was a sea covering the death valley and after its evaporation its left salts were exploited until 1907?

… the wagons carrying the extracted materials were drawn by mules?

… the valley received its English name in 1849 during the California Gold Rush, after 13 pioneers perished from one early expedition attempting to cross the valley?

… the original inhabitants of the Death Valley are the Timbisha, a tribe of native Americans, and that they called the valley tümpisa, meaning “rock paint”?

… the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded at the surface of the Earth was registered in the Death Valley in 1913 with a value of 56.7°C?

 

likes Likes:

  • Landscape: different landscapes, not just a desert.
  • Weather: Nice weather in fall.
  • Rental facilities: If you want to explore the more remote areas of the valley, you can rent a 4×4 at Furnace Creek.

dislikes Dislikes:

  • Trails: there are not as many trails as in other National Parks, you need a car to explore it.
  • Roads: you need a 4×4 to reach the rolling stones place, as some of the roads aren’t in good condition.
  • Weather: Probably extremely hot in summer.

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