Two hours from Las Vegas, you can visit the hottest and driest place in North America, Death Valley National Park. Even though its name isn’t very encouraging, the huge reserve, which lies 282 meters below sea level in the Badwater Basin, is still one of the most beautiful places in the world;, is far from lifeless. On the contrary, more than a thousand species of plants inhabit this soil, 50 of which are found nowhere else in the world, only in Death Valley.
Did you like that? So you’ll be happy to know that the place, which receives almost a million visitors a year, can be visited on any date in the calendar, so you’ll have the chance to learn even more about the charms that only the Mojave Desert can offer you.
One of these charms is for those who enjoy privileged views of the sky. One of the attractions that draws tourists from all over the world is the park’s “starry carpet”. As one of the darkest night skies in the United States, its air quality and visibility at night have not yet suffered the effects of civilization, particularly when it comes to the brightness of Las Vegas. The darkest skies, generally located in the northwest of the park, translate all the beauty that the stars can show with their ravishing beams of brilliance.
Legend has it that in 1849, as migrants bound for the California gold fields endured a two-month ordeal of hunger and heat after surviving the experience, one of the last men to leave looked down from a mountain in the valley and said: “Goodbye, Death Valley”. Because of this quote, the place has been known by this morbid name to this day.
Always remember that this is a great opportunity for those who enjoy contact with nature. Anyone exploring the area should bear in mind that respect for local life must be strictly adhered to. This is an observation worth emphasizing, because many tourists, without bad faith, end up taking some “little piece” of the place, such as stones, plants or often to try to please, even feed some animals when they see them. As innocent as these attitudes may seem, this is not a practice that should be followed. After all, if everyone who visits the site takes something from there, the balance of the park would be compromised, don’t you agree? Anyway, that was a brief guide so that you don’t have to deal with the park staff, okay?
Having given you the tips, let’s get down to business! From group hikes and camping reservations to bike rides, you can do it all in the park. But for everything to be perfect, you should be aware of the restrictions adopted by the venue. Check it out:
– Group size overnight is limited to a maximum of 12 people and no more than 4 vehicles. Larger groups will have to split up.
– Bonfires are not forbidden.
– Pets are not allowed on trails or in the desert.
Get in touch!
As well as being able to enjoy all the outdoor beauty of the reserve, Death Valley also offers three indoor educational entertainments. See:
Furnace Creek Visitor Center
It is an exhibition center, cinema and bookshop whose mission is to answer the main questions that adventurers have about the park. Programs presented during the main visiting season, from November to April, include programs on a variety of subjects.
Scotty Castle & Visitor Center
This is a Spanish-style mansion that was built in the 1920s. There, you can take a guided tour of the inside of the building, including a visit to the underground tunnel system. At the end of the tour, a bookshop located in the center of the site offers not only good reading, but also a corner for sandwiches and quick drinks.
A privately owned museum located at Furnace Creek Ranch . The exhibition includes a collection of minerals that tell the story of the borax mineral that was exploited in the Death Valley region in the past.
Whether you’re spending a pleasant day or even camping, NEVER forget to take LOTS of water. We’re talking about dealing not only with the heat (which easily exceeds 40 degrees), but also with extremely dry weather. So before you hit the road, make sure you’ve stocked up on fluids and that you’ve got your sunscreen in your suitcase too. Combined?
Watch this video and be enchanted by this place:
Video: Alex Rivest
Text: Alice Camargo