Death Valley National Park was on our list to visit. We didn’t know what to expect to find in Death Valley. Of course, we had some preconceived notions. That it was going to be more desert again, it would be hot and don’t expect to see much color.
We started out early and got to the park by 8:30 AM. Our first stop was the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Being someone who is heat sensitive our plan was to get there before it turned hot.
The name of the visitor center with a thermometer posted outside had me worried. We knew that we wouldn’t cover the entire park, but would try to visit sites on the eastern side of the park. Looking at the park map we picked up in the visitor center, we decided to head to the Badwater Basin first then work our way back.
It was hard to fathom that we were standing 282 feet below sea level when we got to Badwater Basin. The site itself consists of a small spring-fed pool of “bad water” next to the road in a sink; the accumulated salts of the surrounding basin make it undrinkable, thus giving it the name. There is a nice wide wooden sidewalk that leads visitors out into the basin.
Driving back along the road we saw a sign for Devil’s Golf Course. The sign piqued our curiosity. Why would someone build a golf course here? We couldn’t see anything that looked like a golf course, so naturally we had to take the spur to check it out.
The Devil’s Golf Course is a large salt pan on the floor of Death Valley. It was named after a line in the 1934 National Park Service guide book to Death Valley National Monument, which stated that “Only the devil could play golf” on its surface, due to a rough texture from the large halite salt crystal formations.
We weren’t quite sure what to make of the landscape. It looked like something that maybe would be on the moon? Not even sure the devil could play golf here.
Continuing down the road, we stopped at Desolation Canyon. The road to the canyon was an unpaved road that was kind of rutted. But once we got there it was worth the short drive.
We saved the best for last – Dante’s View. This viewpoint stands 5,476 ft. above the floor of Death Valley. It offers a panoramic view of the national park.
Here are some other photos we took while visiting Death Valley.
Hours: The park is open 24 hrs a day.
Entrance Fee: Free
While we had hoped to visit Scotty’s Castle, it was closed due to flooding in Grapevine Canyon from a severe thunderstorm that destroyed the road to Scotty’s Castle, damaged infrastructure and some out-buildings in the Castle complex. Scotty’s Castle will not be open until 2019.
The landscape of Death Valley National Park was certainly interesting. If you visit this area, be aware that it can get up to 120 or more degrees there. Be sure to have plenty of water with you.