Death Valley is one of our favorite National Parks. Every time we visit we are surprised by the wide range of things there are to do in the park. You always hear about how hot and dry Death Valley is but then when you visit you find oasis areas of water and shade. These are some of our top things to do in Death Valley
It is such an interesting park to visit with so much to do. Make sure and give yourself more time than you think you will need in the park.
Top Things to do in Death Valley
Furnace Creek Area
Golden Canyon Hike - 2-mile round trip hike through the canyon. Hikers are greeted by the badlands located within the canyon.
Artist Drive- MUST DO - the 9-mile paved scenic loop that highlights the multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills. Make sure and stop at the overlook at Artist's Palette for some of the best pictures in the park.
Devils Golf Course - Immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. Make sure you are wearing shoes that have a thick sole. The rocks and landscape in this area can be really painful to walk along. The road to Devils Golf Course is often closed right after it rains.
Badwater Basin - the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. This area is wheelchair accessible, and a must-see! There is a great sign near the parking lot for photos that shows just how low Badwater Basin is.
Zabriskie Point - This overview is great for sunrise and sunset. There is a short uphill walk to the overlook from the parking lot. The area showcases the vibrant colored badlands.
Dante's View - This is one of the best viewpoints in the park! The overlook is 5,000 feet above Death Valley. The road is accessible to vehicles less than 25 feet in length.
Harmony Borax Works - This Harmony Borax Works mining area dates back more than 120 years. You can learn how early miners used 20-mule teams to haul borax 165 miles to the railroad town of Mojave.
Stovepipe Wells Area
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes - The dunes rise nearly 100 feet from Mesquite Flat. Visiting in the morning is a great time to see animal tracks from nocturnal wildlife. Be prepared with water when hiking in the dunes.
Salt Creek - This hike along a wooden boardwalk is easy and perfect for the entire family. Keep an eye out for rare pupfish in the water. They are incredibly tiny so look closely at the water for movement. There is not a lot of shade on this hike so be prepared with a hat, sunglasses, and water.
Scotty's Castle Area
The Racetrack - This area of the park requires a high clearance vehicle. There are 27 miles of rough dirt road to reach this area. The Racetrack is known for the mysteriously sliding rocks that appear on the dry lake bed.
Eureka Dunes - Nearly 700 feet tall, these are the highest dunes in California. Home to rare and endangered plants and animals. The dunes are off limits to sandboarding and horseback riding to protect animals and plant life.
Scotty's Castle - Currently closed for repairs!
Panamint Springs Area
Aguereberry Point - After driving a 6-mile dirt road you are greeted with an overlook 6,433 feet above Death Valley
Lee Flat Joshua Trees- Drive the rough Saline Valley Road to a junction in Lee Flat. The gravel road in either direction provides good views of the Joshua Trees. This is the best stand of tree-sized yuccas in the park.
Additional California Travel Articles
Sierra Sky Ranch - Oakhurst/Yosemite
Check out all of our California Travel Guides
Plus check out these great Nevada National Parks