The sun is shining mercilessly on my head, the heath is burning my throat and the extreme drought makes me more thirsty than I’ve ever been in my life. For as far as I can see, I see sand … sand and more sand … my eyes catch a glimpse of colorful canyons and mountains far in the distance or is this a Fata Morgana? When I turn around, I see my footsteps in the otherwise untouched white sand dunes, a feeling of complete solitude comes over me, yet I have never felt so peaceful in my life … Death Valley National Park makes for sure a big impression on me.
I start walking back slowly to my rental car equipped with a nice and cool air conditioning system as well as an advanced GPS system, I wonder about the 1849 Pioneers who gave this valley its name. These pioneers started their exhaustive journey with simple basic wagons in Salt Lake City and got lost in this desert while looking for a shortcut to the Gold Country, California. It is hard to imagine how they felt not knowing wether they would ever get out or whether they would find water on time … luckily they eventually found their way out and made it to California.
On my way to the Furnace Creek area, this very diverse desert environment with its stunning colorful landscapes keeps surprising me. Death Valley National Park – the driest and hottest National Park of the US – offers many natural attractions and experiences including a breathtaking view over Death Valley standing on a mountain top called Dante’s View more than 1500 meters above the Valley; a spectacular and very informative two mile hike in Golden Canyon; a scenic and very photogenic drive on Artist’s Drive; a walk through the salt flats in the lowest point of North America called Badwater Basin, admiring a beautiful sunset from the famous Zabriskie Point viewpoint; …
We passed through Death Valley National Park as part of our Go West Road Trip from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I never imagined a desert to be so beautiful, diverse and colorful. When you decide to visit, make sure to bring enough water (at least 4 liters a person per day) and a good working cell phone. During winter period, the temperatures can go down substantially and even an occasional snowstorm might occur, so make sure to go well prepared in all seasons.
*Image of sand dunes, Death Valley National Park via Shutterstock