La Vallée de la Mort in french
Death Valley is a desert valley located in Eastern California near the border of Nevada. It’s one of the hottest places in the world at the height of summertime.
When to go ?
The best time to hike in Death Valley is from November through March due to the very high temperatures in the park. Summers are extremely hot and dry. Daytime may exceed 120°F / 49°C.
Where to land ?
The closest airport is Las Vegas. About 2h30 drive. It’s almost 5h drive from Los Angeles.
What kind of car should I rent ?
We rented an economic car and we could easily drive on the unpaved road of Twenty Mule Team Canyon. Some people were more original… 😎
It doesn’t mean you can drive everywhere with an economic car. Farabee’s Jeep Rental now have an outlet located in Furnace Creek. These jeeps are outfitted for rugged backcountry road use.
Where to sleep ?
Camping : There are 9 different campgrounds. They are all first-come/first-served except for Furnace Creek campground. Reservations are available for the camping season of October 15 to April 15 by phone or online. Acording to the National Park’s website, it’s very rare for all campgrounds to fill. Prices : From free to $22
Backcountry camping : The backcountry permit (free) may be obtained at the visitor center or any ranger station. Check out the National Park’s website or directly with a ranger to see where the backcountry camping is not allowed.
Lodging : Reservations online
Hotel or RV campground : Outside of the park (Amargosa, Pahrump, Beatty)
What to do ?
- Wildlife watching : Death Valley’s great range of elevations and habitats support a variety of wildlife species, including 51 species of native mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians and 5 species and 1 subspecies of native fishes
- Hiking : easy, moderate or difficult. It’s up to you 😉 you can find some ideas below in “my experience” or check out the National Park’s website for more.
- Backpacking (must obtain a free backcountry permit)
- Biking & Mountain Biking : Death Valley has more than 785 miles of roads including hundreds of miles suitable for Mountain Biking
My best friend and I went to Death Valley at the end of March. We did a road trip from Las Vegas to Los Angeles and drove from L.A to Death Valley. We had a great time. But a bit scary when we got caught in two sands storms! Once while driving and the next while we were outside of the car taking pictures. Then we almost ran out of gas as we entered the park. Lucky there was a gas station close although gas tends to be much more expensive close to the park.
We booked a night in a really nice RV for $52 at Pahrump (Booking.com) which is about a 1h drive from Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
All in all, it was a great trip. It’s very nice to drive through Death Valley National Park, I love the desert. It’s incredible how the scenery can be totally different from one place to another.
What did we do ?
First day (Half day)
There are other places that you should check out if you have time :
- Dante’s View : At 5,475 ft, the most breathtaking viewpoint in the park.
- Devil’s Golf Course : An immense area of rock eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires (unpaved access road).
- Artist’s Drive : A 9 miles scenic loop drive. This road is one-way and is only drivable with vehicles less than 25ft in total length.
Other things to see ?
Death Valley National Park has over 5,300 square miles of desert and mountains, making it the largest national park in the contiguous United States. The possibilities for discovery are ENDLESS!