Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is a land of extremes and is considered one of the hottest, driest and lowest places in the world. Summer temperatures average well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it quite warm. The lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is located within park boundaries at 282 feet below the sea level. With an average rainfall of only 1.96 inches a year it is also the driest place in North America. Subtle beauties will entrance a visitor while at Death Valley. You can watch the morning light as it creeps across the eroded badlands of Zabriskie Point to strike Manly Beacon. During the evening make sure to watch the sunset on the Sand Dunes at Stovepipe Wells. During springtime, the colors of the golden hills above Harmony Borax draw crowds of patient wildflower hunters.
Death Valley is a treasure trove of scientific information about the ancient Earth and about the forces still working to shape the modern world. It is home to plants, animals, and human beings that have adapted themselves to take advantage of its rare and hard won bounty. It is a story of western expansion, wealth, greed, suffering and triumph.
Two visitor centers will help you experience one of America's most amazing natural parks. Furnace Creek Visitor Center, the main park visitor, is open year-round and has a bookstore and rangers on hand to answer questions. Scotty's Castle and visitor center is an elaborate, Spanish-style mansion built in the 1920s and '30s. A ranger-guided tour of the castle interior or the system of underground tunnels make a day trip to the northern reaches of the park worth your while. A snack bar, museum and bookstore are available at Scotty's Castle year-round.
Seasonality / Weather
Springtime is the most popular time to visit Death Valley. Besides warm and sunny days, the possibility of spring wildflowers is a big attraction. If the previous winter brought rain, the desert can put on an impressive floral display, usually peaking in late March to early April. Spring break for schools throughout the west brings families and students to the park from the last week of March through the week after Easter. Campgrounds and lodging are usually busy at that time, so reservations are recommended.
The main road transecting Death Valley National Park from east to west is California Highway 190. On the east in Nevada, U.S. Route 95 parallels the park from north to south with connecting highways at Scotty's Junction (State Route 267), Beatty (State Route 374), and Lathrop Wells (State Route 373).
Coming from the west, State Route 14 and U.S. Route 395 lead to Ridgecrest, CA where State Route 178 heads east into the park. Further north on Hwy 395 at Olancha, CA you can join Hwy 190 to the park, or north of that at Lone Pine, CA, Hwy 136 will also join Hwy 190 heading east into the park.
South of the park, Interstate 15 passes through Baker, California on its way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. State Route 127 travels north from Baker to Shoshone and Death Valley Junction with connections to the park on State Route 178 from Shoshone and connection with California Highway 190 at Death Valley Junction.
GPS Navigation to sites to remote locations like Death Valley are notoriously unreliable. Numerous travelers have been directed to the wrong location or even dead-end or closed roads. Travelers should always carry up-to-date road maps to check the accuracy of GPS directions. DO NOT DEPEND ONLY ON YOUR VEHICLE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM. There is no specific street address for the park or the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Many GPS users have had success using the street address for the Death Valley Post Office which is located about 400 meters south of the visitor center. The post office address is: 328 Greenland Blvd., Death Valley, CA 92328. Map coordinates for the visitor center are: (N 36°27.70, W 116°52.00).
There is no public transportation available to Death Valley National Park.