ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Death Valley National Park - What to Expect

Updated on January 19, 2015

Death Valley: Attracting Visitors Even in the 120 Degree Heat

For over a hundred years, visitors have been flocking to the strange, secluded desert of fascinating Death Valley. Sharing sections of California and Nevada, this massive National Park is the largest in the lower 48 states by far, covering 3.4 million acres.

Considered inhospitable between the months of May and October, this park still draws thousands of eager visitors even then. Peak season is generally considered to fall between November and early April, when temperatures are the most welcoming and make for an enjoyable hike.

Picture by 4gott.

More than Just a Dry, Boring Desert!

Death Valley is filled with rolling sand dunes, weird rock formations, ancient dry salt beds, abundant wildlife, snow capped mountains, spring wildflowers, castles, palm trees and some of the most unusual sites in the world, like Badwater, the lowest elevation in North America.

What to Expect

It's not called Death Valley for nothing. The heat really does kill in Death Valley. This is the hottest spot in North America, and can fry your car's tires, turn cold water into tea in minutes, and dehydrate and crisp up the healthiest person in no time. Not to scare you, but just be smart about visiting here! Here are some realistic things you can expect:

  • It's hot from May through October. Other times, it can be warm during the day, but freezing at night.
  • It's not always hot. Half the year is nice. For example, in mid January, the daily average temperature is around 65 degrees F.
  • Nighttime winter temperatures seldom reach freezing, hovering around 34 degrees F.
  • Fall is often hotter than spring.
  • Spring foliage occurs early at lower elevations, in mid February to mid April. Higher elevations have spring foliage and wildflowers in later months.
  • You'll need lots of water. Bring plenty, and hydrate before. Stop at the park stores for rest and shade when you can.
  • Blowing sand can be a hazard. Check with the rangers for daily information.
  • Rental car agencies often prohibit travel to Death Valley for the damage that can be incurred.
  • Use suntan lotion in abundance all year here. Even twenty minutes outside in the extreme heat can cause a burn.
  • Don't plan on long hikes in the peak heat months. Late May, June, July, August, and September aren't ideal for long hikes. 30 minutes should be your max.
  • A car is recommended, unless traveling via guided tour. You'll want to escape the heat in your car's air conditioning.
  • Gas up. There are few gas stations here, and they charge high, high prices. Plan on paying more, and gas up often. You never know where the next gas station will be.

Mars? No, it's the Devils Golf Course of Death Valley

Mars? No, it's the Devils Golf Course of Death Valley
Mars? No, it's the Devils Golf Course of Death Valley

Don't Underestimate the Heat - Heat kills in Death Valley!

The swealtering heat of Death Valley is not to be messed with. The comfort of car air conditioning can often mislead travelers when they step out of the car. 4 liters of water per day to replace sweat loss minimum is required in the desert. Hiking in the early morning hours is highly recommended because of the cooler temperatures. Besides, the sunrise shots of Death Valley often make the most amazing photos. The desert heat can kill in only an hour without the proper equipment and hiking at the proper times.

Before making your journey into Death Valley, be sure to check your tire pressure and fluid levels of your car, including the car radiator. If you have not-so-dependable car, consider renting one from a local dealership. Don't forget your sunscreen!


Death Valley is well known for its record breaking heat. The highest temperature ever in the valley was recorded on July 10, 1913, topping out at 134 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the hottest temperature in North America and the 2nd highest in the world. Who's #1? El Azizia in Libya at 136 degrees.

Coyote on the outskirts of Death Valley

Coyote on the outskirts of Death Valley
Coyote on the outskirts of Death Valley

Death Valley Links

Recommended Death Valley Books

Death Valley is a beautiful place, and with the right preparation, you can have an outstanding trip. Try these recommended guides and books for more information on Death Valley. All have received excellent reviews.

© 2008 Kiwisoutback


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)