Death Valley National Park ~ Photos and Impressions of Extremes

Death Valley National Park

Contrasting colors in Death Valley
Contrasting colors in Death Valley | Source

Death Valley is a travel destination extraordinaire!

This amazing National Park has extremes in terms of temperatures ranging from sizzling highs to frigid lows...elevations from hundreds of feet below sea level to thousands of feet high...some of the driest conditions in the United States while sitting on top of one of the country's largest aquifers and much, much more.

Come along with my friend and me as we did some exploring of Death Valley while on vacation a number of years ago. Many pictures were taken and will be shared in this hub.

Note...All photos were taken by Peggy Woods and cannot be used without explicit permission. Please respect the copyrights. Thank you!

My traveling companion and I were to visit ten national parks as well as other interesting sites on a fantastic road trip from Houston, Texas to California and back in 1998.


After seeing the grandeur of parks like the Grand Canyon and the majesty of parks like Yosemite, Death Valley surprised and delighted us both.

Death Valley with wildflowers

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park | Source
Death Valley National Park (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map)
Death Valley National Park (National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map)

You will definitely want a guide such as we had when visiting this massive national park. It will help you plan your days and keep you in the right areas of the park.

 

Largest National Park!


Death Valley National Park is the largest national park in the lower 48 states of the United States and contains 3.3 million acres.


Obviously one could spend a lifetime exploring just this one park and we had only allotted several days.


May was the month of our visit and the Springtime flowers were putting on quite a show both in the mountainous areas of the park as well as the below sea level desert floor.

Colorful rock formations in Death Valley

Fantastic rock colors in Death Valley!
Fantastic rock colors in Death Valley! | Source

The colors in the rocks of Death Valley were multi-hued and beautiful to behold.


Death Valley landscape

Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park | Source

Colorful Death Valley

Death Valley
Death Valley | Source

Death Valley vegetation

Death Valley vegetation
Death Valley vegetation | Source


Most of Death Valley to this day is wilderness.


There are countless numbers of places to hike and explore and most visitors to this national park enjoy coming in the Winter and Spring of the year when the temperatures are more moderate.


There are some hearty souls (many of them from other countries) who purposely visit Death Valley in the Summer of each year because they want to experience the extreme temperatures.


May was hot enough for my friend and me!


The desert does cool off at night but during the day while hiking, one must be sure to carry enough water with one to stay hydrated.

Stovepipe Wells Village Ranger Station in Death Valley

Viewed in Death Valley...Notice the elevation!
Viewed in Death Valley...Notice the elevation! | Source

Most of Death Valley National Park is located in California with a small eastern portion located in the State of Nevada.

There are many roads both paved and unpaved that run through this park and all of them are well marked.

Death Valley National Park

A markerDeath Valley National Park -
Death Valley National Park, Death Valley, CA 92328, USA
[get directions]

Slideshow of 7 Amazing Photos of Mountains and Sand Dunes in Death Valley

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Driving through Death ValleyDeath ValleyThe colors of the mountains and sand dunes vary by the time of day and lighting.Death Valley is a photographer's delight!Look at those colors!Wow!  Amazing colors!Around every turn, another amazing view!
Driving through Death Valley
Driving through Death Valley | Source
Death Valley
Death Valley | Source
The colors of the mountains and sand dunes vary by the time of day and lighting.
The colors of the mountains and sand dunes vary by the time of day and lighting. | Source
Death Valley is a photographer's delight!
Death Valley is a photographer's delight! | Source
Look at those colors!
Look at those colors! | Source
Wow!  Amazing colors!
Wow! Amazing colors! | Source
Around every turn, another amazing view!
Around every turn, another amazing view! | Source

Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley

Death Valley Drive

Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort


Reservations had been made ahead of time for us to stay at this oasis within Death Valley National Park.

Yes...I used the word oasis...and an oasis it is!

There are two distinct lodgings, a historic 66 room Inn at Furnace Creek and the very family friendly 224 room Ranch at Furnace Creek. My friend and I chose to stay at the Ranch and were delighted with the accommodations.

As you can see from the photos below, in the middle of an arid desert arises a veritable oasis where the spring fed Furnace Creek brings life and has housed resident Indians in this location for numerous years. Next came the Forty-Niners, discovery of Borax mining and now tourists arrive in droves to rest and relax after a day of enjoying the sites in Death Valley.

Scenery at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley

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Great spring fed swimming pool!Beautiful evening sky from Furnace CreekLook at those palm trees!View from our room at Furnace Creek
Great spring fed swimming pool!
Great spring fed swimming pool! | Source
Beautiful evening sky from Furnace Creek
Beautiful evening sky from Furnace Creek | Source
Look at those palm trees!
Look at those palm trees! | Source
View from our room at Furnace Creek
View from our room at Furnace Creek | Source

Furnace Creek Ranch scenery in Death Valley

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Death Valley museum

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Death Valley Museum


Relics of the old gold rush days as well as the famous 20 mule team borax transport vehicles and other interesting things can be found on the grounds of Furnace Creek Ranch.

Wagons that carried the ever important and life sustaining water...to gold crushing equipment...to old locomotives that hauled ore from the nearby mines...that and more can be seen up close on the grounds adjacent to the museum.

It comprises quite an exhibit for history buffs or just for those curious onlookers who find themselves in this part of Death Valley National Park.

Some of those massive wooden wheels were taller than my friend who accompanied me on this trip!

It is well worth spending a bit of time in this area just to see these relics and learn a bit more about the history of this area in days of the past.


Images seen on the museum grounds at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley

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Golden Canyon in Death Valley

Golden Canyon in Death Valley

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Golden Canyon


This was our first adventure of the day in Death Valley after we had enjoyed that refreshing swim in the Furnace Creek pool.

Oh to have lazed around the pool all day would have been fun, but we had more of the park to see!

The hike into Golden Canyon takes one on a path which rises about 300 feet ( 91 meters ) and one can plan on spending about an hour and a half or more depending upon just how many photos one decides to take of the myriad rock colors which present themselves along the way.

Again one is advised to not go too long without hydration. The warmth of the sun heats up those rocks and it must seem like a blast oven in the middle of the summer!

The sheer beauty of what one gets to see up close as one goes hiking makes Golden Canyon a destination worth one's while.

5 photos of Golden Canyon in Death Valley

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Walking into Golden CanyonAppropriate name...Golden!Look at those rock colors!Closeup view of colorful rocks on the trailLooking back at Golden Canyon and some other hikers.
Walking into Golden Canyon
Walking into Golden Canyon | Source
Appropriate name...Golden!
Appropriate name...Golden! | Source
Look at those rock colors!
Look at those rock colors! | Source
Closeup view of colorful rocks on the trail
Closeup view of colorful rocks on the trail | Source
Looking back at Golden Canyon and some other hikers.
Looking back at Golden Canyon and some other hikers. | Source

Devil's Golf Course in Death Valley

Devil's Golf Course

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Devil's Golf Course


Can you imagine the sheer horror on the faces of pioneers traveling in wagon trains headed west when they got to this area?


A sign at this site shows the following:



"DEVILS GOLF COURSE

Interbedded salt and water-bearing gravels are more than 1,000 feet thick beneath the devil's golf course. Great horizontal forces exerted by crystalizing salt, push these columns upward. Wind and rain carve them into fantastic shapes."



We and other tourists walked gingerly on these rough and irregular shapes being careful not to fall. The jagged shapes could probably easily cut one's skin if a mishap occurred.

Obviously those pioneers would have had to find another way around this obstacle in Death Valley on their westward journey.

Viewed in Death Valley...Re: Father John J. Crowley

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Natural Bridge in Death Valley

Death Valley Wildflowers and Geology

Natural Bridge


A short hike which was only about 1/2 mile took us to another location in Death Valley National Park called the Natural Bridge.

Amazingly tucked into the nooks and crannies of these desert floor rocks are blooming plants. Some of them look to be quite delicate. Rainstorms can literally awaken long dormant seeds in the ground and bring forth emerging plants some of which have beautiful flowers.

Natural Bridge in Death Valley and flowers also seen there.

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Natural BridgeNatural BridgeAmazing how these flowers bloom in the desert!Vegetation amidst the rocks...Aren't these pretty!
Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge | Source
Natural Bridge
Natural Bridge | Source
Amazing how these flowers bloom in the desert!
Amazing how these flowers bloom in the desert! | Source
Vegetation amidst the rocks...
Vegetation amidst the rocks... | Source
Aren't these pretty!
Aren't these pretty! | Source

Badwater Basin in Death Valley

Badwater Basin

At 282 feet below sea level this is reputed to be the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and what greets one's view is a white flat sea of salt with mountains rising in the distance.

Small pools of undrinkable water are also present depending upon rainfall.

Be sure and wear your sunglasses when you explore this area!


Badwater Basin in Death Valley

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Badwater BasinGreat contrasting colors between the sky, mountains and salt in the basin.People exploring Badwater BasinSalt underfoot everywhere in Badwater Basin!
Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin | Source
Great contrasting colors between the sky, mountains and salt in the basin.
Great contrasting colors between the sky, mountains and salt in the basin. | Source
People exploring Badwater Basin
People exploring Badwater Basin | Source
Salt underfoot everywhere in Badwater Basin!
Salt underfoot everywhere in Badwater Basin! | Source

Ashford Mill Ruins in Death Valley

Ashford Mill Ruins


This became our lunch spot one day!

Ashford Mill Ruins in Death Valley

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On our way in Death Valley to Ashford Mill RuinsAshford Mill RuinsSome blooming plants
On our way in Death Valley to Ashford Mill Ruins
On our way in Death Valley to Ashford Mill Ruins | Source
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Ashford Mill Ruins
Ashford Mill Ruins | Source
Some blooming plants
Some blooming plants | Source

Artist's Palette in Death Valley

Artist's Palette


The name of this part of Death Valley National Park was of particular interest to me as I have dabbled with paintings and other forms of art.

Just as I have had a mixture of different colors on my artist's palette...the colors in the rocks in this part of Death Valley certainly lived up to their assigned name.

These photos do not do justice to the vibrant mix of hues found here, but it will at least give you some impression of what can be found were you to visit.

As in all desert scenery and most other scenery for that matter, the time of day and lighting factors can cause these colors to fade or intensify depending upon conditions at the time.

Artist's Palette photos from Death Valley

Beautiful colors in this aptly named Artist's Palette area of Death Valley!
Beautiful colors in this aptly named Artist's Palette area of Death Valley! | Source
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Pupfish in Death Valley

Endangered Pupfish in Death Valley

Salt Creek Pupfish


Visitors to Death Valley National Park have the rare opportunity to view up close fish that are truly living fossils. The small pupfish has over thousands of years adapted from living in fresh water to salt water.

Boardwalks take one alongside the Salt Creek where one can see these tiny fish wiggling their way through the shallow water.

Pupfish in Death Valley

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PupfishBoardwalk along Salt Creek where Pupfish were spotted.Pupfish
Pupfish
Pupfish | Source
Boardwalk along Salt Creek where Pupfish were spotted.
Boardwalk along Salt Creek where Pupfish were spotted. | Source
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Pupfish
Pupfish | Source
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20 Mule Team Borax & Death Valley

Roadrunner bird in Death Valley

Photo of a Roadrunner bird in Death Valley
Photo of a Roadrunner bird in Death Valley | Source

Death Valley National Park

20 Mule Team Borax


Anyone of a certain age (mine certainly!) will remember the old radio and television series showcasing the 20 mule teams in Death Valley hauling their heavy loads of ore down from the mountains. It gave a distinct flavor to what was portrayed of the Old West.

My friend and I traveled the graded one way road into the 20 Mule Team Canyon and got to see some of the areas where those teams of mules and miners would have been operating. At one time there were hundreds of mines and people are warned to stay out of them if discovered while hiking as they could be very dangerous. Gradually they are being sealed off.

Undoubtedly the mules and miners did not have such a smooth road to traverse back in those days and this part of the Death Valley National Park is certainly worth viewing.

20 Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley

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My car in 20 Mule Team Canyon20 Mule Team CanyonThis was a one way road through 20 Mule Team Canyon20 Mule Team Canyon in Death ValleyThe Amazing 20 Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley...well worth the drive!
My car in 20 Mule Team Canyon
My car in 20 Mule Team Canyon | Source
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20 Mule Team Canyon
20 Mule Team Canyon | Source
This was a one way road through 20 Mule Team Canyon
This was a one way road through 20 Mule Team Canyon | Source
20 Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley
20 Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley | Source
The Amazing 20 Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley...well worth the drive!
The Amazing 20 Mule Team Canyon in Death Valley...well worth the drive! | Source

Dante's View in Death Valley

Dante's Peak in Death Valley

Eureka Sand Dunes - Death Valley National Park

Have you ever visited or would you wish to visit Death Valley National Park?

  • Yes I have been there!
  • I have not yet been there but would enjoy visiting this unique area someday.
  • No...will probably never visit because of where it is located.
  • No...I like other types of scenery to visit while on vacation.
See results without voting

Dante's View


My car was put through its paces getting to this wonderful spot around 5,475 feet above sea level to be able to enjoy this panoramic view of Death Valley. One can easily see the white salt flats of Badwater Basin, some 282 feet below sea level from this vantage point.


In the distance are the mountains of the High Sierra rising some 14,000 feet and providing a dramatic backdrop.


My traveling companion and I enjoyed the meadows filled with a profusion of Spring flowering plants and took many photos.


This was our last purposeful site to visit in Death Valley National Park before moving on to other adventures as we headed back in the direction of home.


While we did not get to see everything in this largest of all national parks in the lower 48 states, we did our best in the days allotted. Attached links can show you more of what there is to be seen and enjoyed if you are interested.


Hopefully you will have gotten an idea by way of my photos and written impressions of the extremes that are to be found in Death Valley National Park. We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and know that you will also if you ever get to see Death Valley in person.

Flowers in meadow leading up to and culminating in Dante's View in Death Valley National Park.

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This just shows a sample of the many flowers we saw on our way up to Dante's View.Death Valley was ablaze with flowers when we visited it in the month of May.Such a profusion of colors!Flowers of all sizes and colors in Death ValleyGorgeous cactus flowersCactus in bloom3 photos pieced together showing Dante's View
This just shows a sample of the many flowers we saw on our way up to Dante's View.
This just shows a sample of the many flowers we saw on our way up to Dante's View. | Source
Death Valley was ablaze with flowers when we visited it in the month of May.
Death Valley was ablaze with flowers when we visited it in the month of May. | Source
Such a profusion of colors!
Such a profusion of colors! | Source
Flowers of all sizes and colors in Death Valley
Flowers of all sizes and colors in Death Valley | Source
Gorgeous cactus flowers
Gorgeous cactus flowers | Source
Cactus in bloom
Cactus in bloom | Source
3 photos pieced together showing Dante's View
3 photos pieced together showing Dante's View | Source

Seen at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley

Viewed at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley
Viewed at Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley | Source

Moving Rocks of Death Valley's Racetrack Playa

More from California...

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5 out of 5 stars from 3 ratings of Death Valley National Park

© 2010 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 146 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Deborah,

So glad that you enjoyed your virtual visit to Death Valley National Park via this information and all the many photos that I took. One thing you cannot experience except by being there is the weather. I can't even imagine the heat in mid-summer! I would not purposely visit Death Valley at that time, but some people actually wish to experience the sizzling heat. Houston, Texas gets hot enough for us! Thanks for your visit and comment. :)


DeborahNeyens profile image

DeborahNeyens 3 years ago from Iowa

Another place I haven't been! I am enjoying your travel hubs, Peggy, and your fabulous photos. Almost as good as being there. : )


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 3 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Vinaya,

It must take some great stamina to reach Mustang in Nepal but interesting to hear that you think it is similar to Death Valley National Park in California. Personally, I am happy that roads can get one to experience Death Valley a bit more easily. It is certainly a site worth seeing! Thanks for your comment.


Vinaya Ghimire profile image

Vinaya Ghimire 3 years ago from Nepal

I love to travelling to rough terrain. Death valley seems like my type of destination. Mustang in Nepal is similar to Death Valley, however, we have to trek for 10 days to reach there, there are no airways or roadways.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Stephanie,

Thanks for the inter-linking of our hubs. Death Valley National Park is so amazing! Undoubtedly you got to spend much more time there than our few days. We crammed in as much as possible, but didn't get to see Scottie's Castle and some of the other sites that you did. All of our national parks are special...but Death Valley really stands out as being so different as well as having its own special kind of beauty. Thanks for your comment.


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