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Death Valley National Park

See an American desert in this expansive, sweltering U.S. national park. Find birds, wildflowers and snow-capped mountains here as well.

Death Valley National Park is the continental United States’ largest park. It’s also the hottest, driest and lowest. Despite harsh conditions, the park’s more than 3 million acres (1.3 million hectares) aren’t simply desert plains. Find mountains, canyons, sand dunes, extinct volcanic craters and even palm trees and wildflowers. 

In pioneer days before modern transportation allowed crossing the hot, dry expanse in an hour or two, the area truly was a valley of death. When temperatures reach 116 F (47 C) in the shade and 200 F (93 C) on sunny ground, heat exhaustion sets in quickly. Even if you won’t be hiking during your visit, have a full tank of gas and carry extra water for emergency needs. 

Once you’re prepared for the conditions, enjoy the unusual scenery. Gaze across stretches of flat land noting waves of heat rising into the air with snow-capped mountains in the background. Look for small oases of vegetation where wildlife gather for water and food. Some ponds even have fish. This is the place to see roadrunners and coyotes. Over 300 bird species have been sighted in this large, varied terrain. 

Hike here with appropriate caution. Conditions are best from October through April. Many trails are 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) or less over easy terrain. Badwater Salt Flat at 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level is North America’s lowest location. Natural Bridge Canyon ends at a dry waterfall. For adventurous hiking, make your own path to buttes, arches and even icy peaks in winter. Try backpacking, biking and backcountry camping in this challenging terrain.

Ranger-led activities offer good choices. Check availability of paleontology tours, moonlit hikes and night sky viewing through telescopes.

Learn more about the area’s geology and history at Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Scotty’s Castle and Visitor Center. Some may remember the television show Death Valley Days. Visit the Borax Museum at Furnace Creek Ranch to learn about the reality of the mining period in Death Valley.

Like other national parks in the U.S., Death Valley National Park offers affordable and exciting adventures for all types of travelers.

Popular Activities at Death Valley National Park

Make the most of your time spent at Death Valley National Park. Here's a list of the best activities:

If you're after even more options, check out our Lone Pine things to do page.


Guide to Exploring Death Valley National Park


Map

Top Hotel Deals

See all 80 properties near Death Valley National Park
The Ranch at Death Valley – Inside the Park NZ$226
The Ranch at Death Valley – Inside the Park

The Ranch at Death Valley – Inside the Park

Highway 190, Death Valley, CA
     
    2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in a national park, this family-friendly resort is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Death Valley National Park and 4.6 mi (7.3 km) from Zabriskie Point.

    The Inn at Death Valley – Inside the Park
    The Inn at Death Valley – Inside the Park

    The Inn at Death Valley – Inside the Park

    Highway 190, Death Valley, CA
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Situated in a national park, this historic hotel is 0.1 mi (0.1 km) from Death Valley National Park and 1.4 mi (2.3 km) from Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Harmony Borax Works is 3 mi (4.8 km) away.

      Panamint Springs Resort NZ$38
      Panamint Springs Resort

      Panamint Springs Resort

      40440 Highway 190, Panamint Springs, CA
         
        2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Situated in a national park, this motel is steps from Death Valley National Park and Panamint Dunes. Darwin Falls is 4.1 mi (6.6 km) away.

        Longstreet Inn & Casino NZ$161
        Longstreet Inn & Casino

        Longstreet Inn & Casino

        4400 South Highway 373, Amargosa Valley, NV
           
          3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Situated in Amargosa Valley, this hotel is within 9 mi (15 km) of Ash Meadows Visitor Center, Death Valley National Park, and Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad Museum.

          Amargosa Opera House NZ$152
          Amargosa Opera House

          Amargosa Opera House

          HR-C 608 Death Valley Junction, Death Valley, CA
             
            2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

            Situated in Death Valley, this motel is 8.1 mi (13.1 km) from Death Valley National Park and 13.7 mi (22 km) from Ash Meadows Visitor Center.

            Olancha RV Park & Motel NZ$133
            Olancha RV Park & Motel

            Olancha RV Park & Motel

            1075 Highway 395, Olancha, CA
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Situated in a rural location, this motel is in the same region as Mount Whitney.

              Trails Motel NZ$186
              Trails Motel

              Trails Motel

              633 S. Main St, Lone Pine, CA
                 
                2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Situated in Lone Pine, this motel is within 2 mi (3 km) of Lone Pine Film History Museum, Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center, and Mt. Whitney Golf Club. Diaz Lake Recreation Area is 3 mi (4.8 km) away.

                3Br 2Ba Ultra Basecamp
                3Br 2Ba Ultra Basecamp

                3Br 2Ba Ultra Basecamp

                225 N Mt Whitney Dr, Lone Pine, CA
                   
                  0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Situated in Lone Pine, this guesthouse is 0.6 mi (1 km) from Lone Pine Film History Museum and within 3 mi (5 km) of Eastern Sierra InterAgency Visitor Center and Mt. Whitney Golf Club. Diaz Lake Recreation Area and Alabama Hills are also within 6 mi (10 km).