Now that the park rangers at Death Valley National Park are sick of cleaning up after people frying eggs on the ground (and sicker of cleaning up the shells and cartons), it’s time to explore some other options of what to do at this desert park.
Fewer tourists visit Death Valley in the summer, when temperatures regularly exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit, causing some areas, such as the salt flats, to be off-limits. Yet, even at its hottest, there's still plenty to do here.
Visit the Museum
Death Valley’s history goes back to the Native Americans who first occupied the region, but gained its name during the California Gold Rush. For more history, check out the Furnance Creek Visitor's Center, where they screen a 20-minute film on the region's history.
Take a Hike
Death Valley is a hiker’s paradise—if paradise includes hot temperatures. Trails vary from easy to strenuous. Granted, hiking isn't recommended in the summer except in the mountains and during the early morning or evening, so return in the winter to hike locations like the salt flats. Bring a real paper map because cell phone reception is unreliable in some locations. The warm dry climate requires that hikers bring their own water and more than of it than ordinarily needed because water sources in the park are rare.
Tour Scotty’s Castle
The hottest place on earth has its own castle—if one considers a sprawling Spanish-style villa a castle. It has a separate admission fee from the main park, but will win you bragging rights for visiting Death Valley's only castle, in the dead of summer, no less.
Visit Ghost Towns
Death Valley once had a higher population than it does today. During the Gold Rush and westward expansion, many attempted to civilize the harsh, but mineral-rich desert. Some of these towns are still standing. Tour one or more to see an area where man attempted to overcome nature and nature won.
Death Valley is a unique ecosystem with features unseen in many other parts of the United States, or the world. Places like Artist's Drive, with its multi-colored hills, are especially beloved by photographers.