What to see in Death Valley? The most spectacular natural landscapes you can imagine. The moment you start your visit, get ready to enter a parallel world made of rocks and deserts that will leave you breathless.
Death Valley is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful American national parks. It is certainly among the most evocative, unlike anything else you have ever seen!
How to visit Death Valley?
The park is mostly in California, while a small part is in Nevada. The distance from Death Valley to Las Vegas is approximately 210 kilometers, covered in 2 hours and 20 minutes.
Why is it called “Death Valley”?
Its name is rather disturbing, translated into Italian means “Valley of Death.” It is so-called for the very high temperatures that characterize it throughout the year.
We crossed it twice during our on the road trips and both times in July.
I can assure you that the heat was truly hellish (pass me the pun); already, in the early hours of the morning, the thermometer showed around 45 degrees. In the hottest hours, we reached 54 degrees!
The feeling is always being in front of a huge bonfire that burns; not even being in the shade is their relief (assuming you can find the shade).
How to get to Death Valley
Meanwhile, it should be noted that there is no public transport to reach it. So no trains or buses.
You can reach the park by plane since there are two small airports inside, but this would halve the opportunities to see the many wonders that characterize it. Furthermore, this option is certainly the most expensive.
The best choice is to cross it for its entire length by car. In this way, you can shop as many times as you want to take pictures or simply enjoy many fantastic views.
We entered from the west entrance, coming from Lee Vining, and continued to Las Vegas, with a whole series of intermediate stops. These include the lunch break in the only restaurant in the park.
How long does it take to visit Death Valley?
It is impossible to determine how long it takes to visit the park; it all depends on the number of stops you will make during the crossing and on the duration of your breaks.
We took it very comfortably both times we crossed the valley, sometimes without even getting out of the car during the hottest hours. But in general, it never took us more than four to five hours from the moment we entered to the moment we left.
Without making stops and driving without interruptions, it could take you half an hour. But I honestly don’t think it makes much sense to go through Death Valley without taking your time to see all the things it offers!
Useful tips for visiting Death Valley
The first important recommendation is to bring plenty of water with you.
Considering the very high temperatures, you will need it for drinking, but not only. Your car’s radiator may also need it, so in addition to the bottles for you, bring a nice tank just in case.
The same goes for fuel: inside the Death Valley, there are not many possibilities to refuel and it would be very unpleasant to run out of water in this little hell. So it’s good to have the tank full at the start and refill as soon as you can.
Do not be surprised, but you will happen to see some unconscious pedaling at full blast with those crazy temperatures; I keep wondering how they do it!
Inside the park, there are only two refreshment points where you can stop. The first one you come across when coming from the west is Stovepipe Wells (a very appropriate name, as stovepipe, means more or less stove).
Here you will find a hotel and a small store where you can buy sandwiches, snacks, drinks, and souvenirs, and where you can take advantage of the toilet. Continuing on the road, you will come to Furnace Creek (and again, the name says it all!).
Death Valley Visitors Center
Here, you can stop for a meal at a very nice restaurant run by Native Americans. There is also a large store, a gas station and an information point for tourists. Finally, there is a luxurious and expensive hotel. We advise you to make a long stop here because then you won’t have many other possibilities.
A curiosity: I read around that it is not advisable to stop on the asphalt because there is a risk that the car tires melt.
Don’t worry, and I can assure you that it is not true! However, if you wear rubber slippers, they will tend to stick to the asphalt due to the intense heat.
Finally, remember that most cell phones in the park have no access, so you will not be able to receive or call. If you have a problem, stay close to your car and wait for a few cars to pass.
Surely someone will stop by to help you solve your problem or will accompany you to Furnace Creek or Stovepipe Wells for help.
There are still rare telephone booths, but you may not be within reasonable walking distance. And by now, I very much doubt that they work!
When to visit Death Valley
The answer is: always!! Of course, there are times when facing the heat of the park is a challenge.
As I said, the summer temperatures are terrible. Fortunately, the climate is extremely dry, so the perception of heat is slightly muffled.
In the months that cover spring and autumn, temperatures drop, making the visit to the park much more affordable.
Winter would be the ideal period, even if you will have to prepare yourself to face significant temperature variations; the temperatures during the night often reach zero.
Seeing snow in Death Valley is a very rare event, but not impossible.