Death Valley National Park Travel Guide

Death Valley is quite simply one of the most stunning places on earth. It is the country’s largest national park outside of Alaska and is one of desert and otherworldly rock formations.

Many visitors forego a visit to Death Valley National Park, thinking it’s perhaps nothing more than a featureless wasteland. This is a shame as it is strikingly unique and covers extremes in all areas, from high points of 10,000 feet to one of the lowest points on earth at 282 feet below sea level.

In addition, it gets boiling hot here of a day and freezing cold at night and contains some monster sand dunes and salt flats. Major sights in Death Valley National Park include Artist Drive, with the rocks representing an artist’s palette; the low point at Badwater; stunning Dante’s View and Zabriskie Point; and the remnants of the borax-mining industry.

There is also some fantastic hiking in the park, from short treks to long mountain hikes, while four-wheel driving is also fun.

In brief

What is it? A three million acre desert wilderness across California and Nevada.
When to go? Winter and early spring (November through March) for mild days and cold nights.

Nearest town: Pahrump, as the western entrance of the park.

Distance from Las Vegas: 100 miles to the west.

Don’t miss: Zabriskie Point and Badwater.

Factoid: the park garnered its name after an early gold prospector wound up dead when attempting to cross through the valley on his way to California with a group in 1849.

Getting there

The best way in from Las Vegas is by driving Route 160 from the south of Las Vegas towards Pahrump (west). You then head northwest on the Bell Vista Road before hitting the CA 190, which cuts right through Death Valley National Park. It is about 60 miles to Pahrump from Las Vegas and a further 40 miles or so to the park proper.