Guest Author - Erin Floresca
Although all national parks are worth visiting, some are more captivating than others. Death Valley National Park is one of those. Boasting the lowest point in the western hemisphere, to those who have never seen Death Valley, its vast array of landscapes will surprise you. Despite its name, it is full of vegetation and life. In fact, the park features over 1,000 species of plants. There is just so much to see and experience. If you plan to visit, youíll want to spend several full days.
Where to Camp
There are many campgrounds in the area. Some are open only seasonally due to extreme temperatures. Furnace Creek, located next to the visitorís center, has the most shaded sites and is centrally located to many of the hikes and drives. However, the Mesquite Spring campground and Stovepipe Wells campgrounds are nice as well.
Most offer only dry camping, but water and dump stations are available. However, there is an RV park with full hookups located at Stovepipe Wells Village.
What to see and do:
One article could barely scratch the surface of all there is to see and do in and around Death Valley National Park. Iíve listed some of my favorites below.
∑ Artistís Drive is located a few miles south of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and is a scenic nine mile drive.
∑ The Sand Dunes, located by Stovepipe Wells Village, are great for hiking and taking awesome photos.
∑ Devilís Golf Course, comprised of unique salt sculptures, is just a short drive north of Badwater, the lowest point in the United States.
∑ Ubehebe Crater, created by a volcanic eruption over 1,000 years ago, has a spectacular hiking trail around the rim.
∑ If golfing is your game, you may want to tee off at Furnace Creek Golf Course, the lowest elevation golf course in the world.
∑ On the northern end of the park, visit Scotty's Castle, designed as a vacation retreat in 1922 for a wealthy Midwesterner.
∑ Once a thriving town of over 12,000 residents, Rhyolite ghost town has several remaining structures. It is located east of Death Valley on Highway 374 near the town of Beatty.
By the way, some of the roads in Death Valley are not easily accessible by car. So if you have an off-road vehicle, you'll be privy to sights that the rest of us cannot access (like The Racetrack). However, there are plenty of spots like those mentioned above that are all car-friendly that you shouldn't miss.