Death Valley National Park

The largest national park in the lower 48 states, Death Valley National Park straddles the California–Nevada border. It is a diverse environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. This park is the hottest and driest place in North America because of its lack of surface water and low elevation. Death Valley is part of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve, designated by UNESCO in 1984.

About the Park

There are many established hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties and even more opportunities for off-trail/cross-country hiking. Death Valley National Park is a popular location for stargazing and astrophotography as it has one of the darkest night skies in the United States. Death Valley is designated as a dark sky park by the International Dark-Sky Association.

Habitat varies from salt pan below sea level to sub-alpine on the summit of Telescope Peak (11,049 feet). A variety of wildlife live in the desert, including 51 species of mammals, 307 species of birds, 36 species of reptiles, 3 species of amphibians, and 2 species of native fish. Vegetation types include creosote bush, desert holly, mesquite, Joshua tree, pinyon-juniper, and bristlecone pine.

  • Suitable Activities: Backpacking, Day Hiking, Night Sky, Naturalist
  • Seasons: January, February, March, April, May, September, October, November, December
  • Weather: View weather forecast
  • Difficulty: *Varies*
  • Land Manager: Death Valley National Park
  • Parking Permit Required: National Park Entrance Fee
  • Recommended Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Party Size: 12
  • Maximum Route/Place Capacity: 12
  • see Land Manager
  • Trails Illustrated Death Valley National Park
Trip Reports

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  • Death Valley

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