Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is an incredibly vast and isolated landscape of extremes, famous for being the lowest and driest place in North America… and the hottest place on earth.

But Death Valley is so much more than just a remote and forbidding oddity. A visit here will immerse you in a fascinating diversity of experiences that are bound to excite all of your senses and to inspire the explorer, biologist, geologist, anthropologist, astronomer, and historian in you. let’s go!


The most convenient way to get to there is to fly into Las Vegas, Nevada then drive the remaining 150 miles or so to California–a mini adventure itself full of surprises and one-of-a-kind places.

Just enough of Vegas to take a selfie at the iconic sign.
Being of sound mind, I quickly put the Vegas Strip in my rearview mirror!

It would be a gross understatement to say that Death Valley is in the middle of nowhere. Seemingly endless mountain ranges separated by enormous arid valleys are typical of the surrounding landscape in the Nevada and California desert.
Neglecting to check your gas gauge can be a costly mistake.

Did you know that brothels are perfectly legal in many counties in Nevada?
One of the more famous cathouses
Make sure to gas up, but skip the tourist trap!

The ghost town of Rhyolite is well-worth an hour-long detour…
… as is the nearby cemetery.
Paying my respects to the honorable and feisty Panamint Annie (spelling?)
If these cans could talk!

First night’s accommodations at the funky cool Longstreet Inn in Amargosa Valley on the Nevada-California state line. A great place to stay just outside the park and very near Ash Meadows. You can expect a yummy homestyle dinner and breakfast and are guaranteed to meet some very interesting people!

While not located in Death Valley proper, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is an absolutely fascinating side trip. On the road into the refuge, the barren terrain suggests the total impossibility that anything can survive in such an apparent wasteland.
Yet, in the midst of the Mojave Desert, you will be delighted to discover a rich oasis that is home to flowers, butterflies, ducks, bighorn sheep, and more…
Spring fed from a vast aquifer…
It’s also home to the loveable pupfish. Barely more than an inch long, these amazing creatures have survived for thousands of years in the midst of one of the hottest and driest places on earth, clinging to a mere sliver of habitat in the top few feet of fresh water where the aquifer breaks through the surface and meets the air and sun.

We finally arrive!
Dante’s View, a muted earth tone panorama from 5800 feet above the valley floor. (The photograph does no justice to the scale of the place!)
A relatively cool day at Furnace Creek (the all-time high temperature = 134 degrees F!)
Salt Creek

Harmony Borax Works
The 20 Mule Team wagon wheels were taller than me!

Traffic jams are never a problem here, although the roads can be washed out by flash floods.
Peeking through the arch while hiking in Natural Bridge Canyon (the sky really looked THAT blue!)
The terrain changes character with every step and turn of the head!

Believe it or not, some animals really do survive here!

Salt flat at Badwater Basin, lowest point in North America at 280 feet below sea level.
Don’t forget your sunscreen and sunglasses!!!

Wild Burros


Ruins at the Eureka Gold Mine
Eureka Mine Entrance

Mesquite Dunes
Gnarly ancient tree near Mesquite Dunes at sunset

Hammer out some ragtime on this battle-hardened beauty at Stovepipe Wells Saloon!

Looking West from Ubehebe Crater
A flight test from one of the nearby military bases… The fastest thing I have ever seen!
View from Father Crowley Point
The Devil’s Cornfield

Charcoal Kilns at Wildrose
Darwin Falls, a rare source of water.

Located in the Northeastern hills of Death Valley National Park, Scotty’s Castle is one of the most unique and fascinating places you will visit anywhere, much less in such an incongruous location as Death Valley.

Scotty’s Castle is so interesting, in fact, that it deserves its very own posting: Scotty’s Castle


Cloudless skies and the total absence of light pollution!

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