With its vast desert landscapes, towering dunes, and unique natural formations, Death Valley National Park in California offers a truly awe-inspiring experience. Spanning over 3.4 million acres, this national park is known for its extreme temperatures, making it one of the hottest places on Earth. But don’t let that deter you, as it is also home to some of the most breathtaking scenery and outdoor activities in the United States.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply looking to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Death Valley National Park has something to offer everyone. In this blog, we will explore 17 mind-blowing things to do in Death Valley, from marveling at panoramic views to hiking through stunning canyons, and everything in between.

Exploring the Majestic Landscapes of Death Valley

As the largest national park in the contiguous United States, Death Valley National Park is filled with majestic landscapes just waiting to be explored. From its vibrant dunes to its colorful hills, this park offers a diverse range of natural wonders to discover. With so many things to do in Death Valley National Park, you’ll be captivated by its beauty and left in awe of its vastness. So, let’s dive in and explore the best that Death Valley has to offer.

1. Marvel at Dante’s View

Marvel at Dante's View

Perched 5,475 feet above sea level, Dante’s View offers a breathtaking panorama of Death Valley. This stunning viewpoint provides unparalleled views of the valley floor below, showcasing the vastness of this national park. Whether you visit during sunrise or sunset, you’ll be treated to an incredible play of light and shadow across the rugged terrain. From this elevated vantage point, you can also gaze upon the towering peaks of the Funeral Range and the snow-capped Telescope Peak in the distance.

Be sure to bring your camera, as Dante’s View provides ample opportunities to capture awe-inspiring photographs of Death Valley. The contrast between the valley floor and the sky creates a dramatic backdrop, making it the perfect spot to unleash your inner photographer. The best time to visit Dante’s View is during the cooler months, as the desert heat can be intense during the summer. So, pack some water, put on your hiking shoes, and prepare to be amazed by the breathtaking beauty of Dante’s View.

2. Discover Zabriskie Point

Discover Zabriskie Point

Located just outside of Furnace Creek, Zabriskie Point is a must-see attraction in Death Valley National Park. This iconic viewpoint offers a surreal panorama of the park’s badlands, with colorful and eroded hills stretching as far as the eye can see. The unique geological features of Zabriskie Point make it a favorite spot for nature lovers and photographers alike.

A stroll along the viewpoint will allow you to fully appreciate the beauty of this natural wonder. As you wander along the path, you’ll be treated to different perspectives of the surrounding golden canyons, revealing new details with each step. The vibrant hues of the landscape, ranging from deep reds to vibrant oranges, provide a stark contrast to the arid desert floor. It’s no wonder that Zabriskie Point has been featured in numerous films and photographs, captivating artists and visitors from around the world.

For the best experience, plan your visit to Zabriskie Point during the early morning or late afternoon, when the light enhances the colors of the hills. The changing of the light throughout the day creates a dynamic and ever-changing landscape, making each visit to Zabriskie Point a unique experience. So, don’t miss the opportunity to discover the beauty of Zabriskie Point and its mesmerizing badlands during your trip to Death Valley National Park.

3. Visit the Badwater Basin


Just a short drive from Furnace Creek, Badwater Basin is an absolute must-visit destination in Death Valley National Park. It is the lowest point in North America, sitting at 282 feet below sea level, and offers a surreal and seemingly otherworldly experience. As you step onto the salt flats, you’ll be surrounded by vast expanses of pure white salt crystals, creating a mesmerizing and ethereal landscape.

Take your time to explore the seemingly endless salt pan, marveling at the unique patterns and shapes formed by the salt crystals. The crunch of salt beneath your feet and the brilliant white of the salt flats create a serene atmosphere that is unlike anything else. During the wetter months, you may even catch a glimpse of standing water, adding another layer of beauty to this already remarkable location.

To fully appreciate the majesty of Badwater Basin, consider taking a short hike out onto the salt flats. As you venture further, you’ll be rewarded with a sense of solitude and tranquility, surrounded only by the vast salt pan and the towering mountains in the distance. Be sure to bring plenty of water, as the heat in Death Valley can be intense, especially in the summer months. Badwater Basin is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and photographers, offering a unique and unforgettable experience in the heart of Death Valley National Park.

4. Explore the Devil’s Golf Course

Explore the Devil's Golf Course

Prepare to be amazed by the rugged and otherworldly landscape of Devil’s Golf Course in Death Valley National Park. This unique attraction is named for its salt crystal formations, which cover the landscape in jagged, sharp spikes, resembling a frozen sea. As you explore this mesmerizing terrain, you’ll quickly understand why it earned its devilish name.

The salt crystals of Devil’s Golf Course have formed over thousands of years, sculpted by wind and rain. The result is a treacherous landscape, filled with pointy, razor-sharp formations that can be as tall as two feet. Walking across this terrain requires caution, as the salt crystals are unforgiving, and sturdy shoes are a must.

From the parking lot, take a stroll around Devil’s Golf Course, marveling at the intricacy of the salt formations. The stark white of the salt crystals against the arid desert backdrop creates a surreal sight that is uniquely Death Valley. Be sure to bring your camera, as Devil’s Golf Course offers plenty of opportunities to capture stunning photographs of this fascinating natural wonder.


5. The Stunning Artists Drive and Artists Palette

The Stunning Artists Drive and Artists Palette

Indulge your senses with a scenic drive along Artists Drive in Death Valley National Park, showcasing the colorful palette of the Artist’s Palette. This nine-mile, one-way road takes you on a journey through vibrant hills, displaying an array of colors, from reds and pinks to yellows and purples. It’s like driving through an artist’s palette, hence the name.

Here are some key things to do and see along Artists Drive and the Artists Palette:

Marvel at the ever-changing colors of the hillsides, caused by minerals in the rocks.

Admire the unique geological formations, showcasing millions of years of natural history.

Take your time to drive through the park, stopping to take in the beauty of the surrounding landscape.

Capture the vibrant hues of the hills with your camera, creating lasting memories of your visit to Artists Drive and Artists Palette.

As you drive along this scenic road, it’s hard not to be mesmerized by the natural beauty that surrounds you. The constantly shifting colors of the hills, combined with the vastness of the desert landscape, create a visually stunning experience that is truly one of a kind.

Whether you’re an artist, a photographer, or simply a lover of beautiful scenery, Artists Drive and the Artists Palette are not to be missed during your trip to Death Valley National Park. So, hop in your car, roll down the windows, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this natural wonder.

6. Adventure in the Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch

Adventure in the Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch

Embark on a scenic adventure through Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch, two stunning hiking trails in Death Valley National Park. Golden Canyon is an easily accessible trail that showcases the park’s colorful badlands, eroded cliffs, and towering rock formations. The 3 to 4-mile round-trip hike allows you to immerse yourself in the stunning natural beauty of Death Valley.

Gower Gulch, on the other hand, offers a slightly more challenging hiking experience, with its narrow canyons and rugged terrain. This 4 to 5-mile hike leads you through the heart of Death Valley, where you’ll encounter unique rock formations and breathtaking vistas.

As you hike through Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch, take the time to appreciate the rich colors and textures of the canyon walls. The unique geological formations, shaped by millions of years of erosion, create a visually stunning backdrop for your adventure. Be sure to bring plenty of water, wear sturdy hiking shoes, and check trail conditions before embarking on these hikes, as the desert heat can be intense.

For those who prefer a more relaxed experience, both Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch offer scenic drives, allowing you to enjoy the beauty of these natural wonders from the comfort of your car. So, whether you choose to hike or drive, exploring Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch is a must during your visit to Death Valley National Park.


7. The Charm of Darwin Falls

The Charm of Darwin Falls

Escape the arid desert landscapes of Death Valley and discover the hidden oasis of Darwin Falls. Tucked away in the Panamint Springs area of the park, this waterfall offers a refreshing and scenic respite amid the desert. In this unexpected haven, lush vegetation surrounds the cascading water, creating a beautiful contrast to the arid surroundings.

To reach Darwin Falls, embark on a 1.6-mile round-trip hike along a scenic canyon. As you hike, you’ll be greeted by the sounds of trickling water and the sight of vibrant greenery, providing a stark contrast to the barren desert landscape. The hike is relatively moderate, with some uneven terrain, so be sure to wear sturdy shoes and bring plenty of water to stay hydrated.

Once you arrive at Darwin Falls, take a moment to cool off in the cool waters of the cascading waterfall. The peacefulness of this hidden gem, combined with the striking natural beauty, makes it a great spot for a picnic or a moment of reflection. Remember to leave no trace and respect the natural environment to preserve the charm of Darwin Falls for future visitors.

8. Wander the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Wander the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

For a taste of the Sahara in the heart of Death Valley, head to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. These iconic dunes offer a mesmerizing landscape of rippled sand, providing a peaceful and serene experience in the desert. With their golden hues and ever-changing patterns, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are a photographer’s dream.

To explore the dunes, simply park in the designated area and step onto the sand. As you wander through the dunes, you’ll be enveloped in a world of sand, with towering mounds and sweeping curves in every direction. The soft sand beneath your feet and the tranquility of the dunes create an otherworldly experience that is truly magical.

For the best experience, consider visiting the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes during sunrise or sunset, when the golden light casts beautiful shadows on the sand. The contrast of light and dark, combined with the solitude of the dunes, creates a sense of wonder and adventure. And if you’re a fan of the “Star Wars” films, you may even recognize these dunes as the backdrop for several iconic scenes from the series.


9. The Intriguing Ubehebe Crater

The Intriguing Ubehebe Crater

Venture to the northwestern part of Death Valley National Park to witness the impressive Ubehebe Crater. This massive volcanic crater, believed to be around 2,000 years old, offers a glimpse into the park’s geological history and natural wonders. As you approach the crater, you’ll be greeted by jaw-dropping views of its immense size and striking features.

To fully appreciate the grandeur of Ubehebe Crater, follow the moderate 1.5-mile loop trail that takes you around the rim of the crater. Along the way, you’ll encounter panoramic views of the surrounding desert landscape, with Telescope Peak in the distance. The hike offers a unique perspective of the crater, allowing you to witness the various layers of volcanic material that make up its walls.

As you hike, be sure to take in the silence of the area, broken only by the sound of the wind rustling through the desert brush. It’s a moment of tranquility and reflection, surrounded by the raw power of nature. Before you leave, don’t forget to stop by the parking area to read about the crater’s fascinating history and geological significance.

10. The Mysterious Racetrack Playa

Mysterious Racetrack Playa

Prepare to be captivated by the enigmatic Racetrack Playa in Death Valley National Park, famous for its mysterious moving rocks. This dry lakebed is home to a natural phenomenon where rocks mysteriously travel across the flat surface, leaving visible tracks in their wake. The movement of these rocks has puzzled scientists for decades, and witnessing this phenomenon firsthand is truly awe-inspiring.

To visit the Racetrack Playa, first, be prepared for a rough drive, as the road to the lakebed is unpaved and can be impassable during inclement weather. It is recommended to have a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle to navigate the terrain. Once you reach the playa, take your time to wander around the dried lakebed, keeping an eye out for the tracks left by the moving rocks.

Although no one has been able to capture the rocks in motion, you may still come across their trails, evidence of their movement across the playa. These trails, often several hundred feet long, add to the mystery and intrigue of this natural wonder. Remember to tread lightly to preserve the playa’s delicate surface and to respect the natural environment of Death Valley National Park.

11. Climbing the Telescope Peak

Climbing the Telescope Peak

For those seeking an exhilarating adventure and breathtaking views, a hike to the summit of Telescope Peak is a must-do in Death Valley National Park. Standing tall at 11,049 feet, Telescope Peak is the highest point in the park, offering unparalleled panoramic views of the surrounding mountain ranges, salt flats, and desert floor below.

Venturing up Telescope Peak is not for the faint of heart, as the hike is challenging and requires proper preparation. The trail begins at the Mahogany Flat Campground and spans about 14 miles round trip, with a significant elevation gain of over 3,000 feet. It is recommended to start early in the day to avoid the heat, bring plenty of water, and be prepared for changes in weather conditions.

As you ascend, you’ll gradually leave behind the desert landscapes of Death Valley and enter a completely different ecosystem, with pine trees and alpine meadows greeting you along the way. The sense of accomplishment and the reward of reaching the summit of Telescope Peak, surrounded by vast wilderness, is truly unparalleled. So, if you’re up for a challenge and want to experience Death Valley from new heights, tackle the hike to Telescope Peak.

12. Touring Scotty’s Castle

Touring Scotty's Castle

Step back in time and explore the beautiful architecture and unique history of Scotty’s Castle, a Spanish-style villa located in Death Valley National Park. Built-in the 1920s, this historic site is named after its colorful character, Walter “Death Valley Scotty” Scott, and offers a glimpse into the area’s past.

Visitors can take guided tours of Scotty’s Castle, immersing themselves in the opulence and grandeur of this unique desert oasis. Marvel at the stunning craftsmanship, from hand-painted ceilings to imported tile work, and learn about the fascinating history of the castle, its eccentric millionaire owner, and the legendary prospector behind its name.

While the interior of Scotty’s Castle is currently closed for renovations following significant damage from a flash flood in 2015, visitors can still explore the grounds, gardens, and nearby areas. Enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding desert landscape from the castle’s verandas, take a stroll through the gardens, or even have a picnic in this beautiful setting.

Scotty’s Castle is not only a testament to the area’s history but also to the resilience of the human spirit in the face of harsh natural elements. So, take a step back in time and immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Scotty’s Castle during your visit to Death Valley National Park.

13. Excursion to Mosaic Canyon

Excursion to Mosaic Canyon

Immerse yourself in the otherworldly beauty of Mosaic Canyon, a stunning slot canyon within Death Valley National Park. This natural wonder features polished marble walls, intricate rock formations, and a captivating display of colors, providing a unique hiking experience for visitors.

The hike through Mosaic Canyon takes you along narrow passageways, carved by thousands of years of water erosion. As you venture deeper into the canyon, you’ll encounter towering canyon walls, showcasing beautiful mosaic-like patterns. The smooth marble surfaces reflect the sunlight, creating a mesmerizing play of light and shadows within the canyon.

At certain points along the hike, you may even come across a natural bridge, where water has sculpted a passage through the canyon. Take your time to appreciate the delicate beauty of these natural formations and the intricate details etched into the canyon walls by time and weather.

Mosaic Canyon offers a moderate hike, suitable for all skill levels, but be sure to wear sturdy shoes as the canyon floor can be rocky in places. Marvel at the natural artistry of Mosaic Canyon, capture beautiful photographs and immerse yourself in the serene beauty of this unique natural wonder in Death Valley National Park.

14. Venturing into Eureka Dunes

Venturing into Eureka Dunes

Escape the beaten path and venture to the remote and captivating Eureka Dunes in Death Valley National Park. These dunes, reaching heights of up to 680 feet, are the tallest dunes in California, offering a truly awe-inspiring experience in the heart of the desert.

A visit to the Eureka Dunes is an adventure in itself, as it requires navigating dirt roads to reach this isolated destination. But don’t let that deter you, as the reward is well worth the effort. As you make your way to the dunes, you’ll be greeted by the magnificent sight of golden sand rising before you, sculpted by years of wind and erosion.

For those seeking an adrenaline-filled adventure, hiking or sandboarding on the dunes are popular activities. Ascend to the top of the dunes, and take in the breathtaking views of the surrounding desert landscape. The serenity and solitude of the dunes, coupled with the remarkable beauty of the sand, create a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Camping is also allowed near the Eureka Dunes, providing a unique opportunity to experience the desert at night under a blanket of stars. Just be sure to come prepared, as the dunes are in a remote area with limited facilities. But for those who venture to Eureka Dunes, the opportunity to witness the magical beauty of these towering dunes is an experience that won’t be forgotten.


15. Grotto Canyon

Grotto Canyon

Embark on a thrilling hiking adventure through the enchanting Grotto Canyon in Death Valley National Park. This off-the-beaten-path canyon offers a unique and captivating experience, with its narrow passageways, towering rock formations, and beautiful rock sculptures.

As you hike through Grotto Canyon, be prepared to be amazed by the stunning natural rock formations that surround you. Weathered by years of wind and water erosion, these sculpted rocks create a magical and almost otherworldly landscape. Take your time to explore the nooks and crannies of the canyon, discovering hidden gems around every corner.

The hike through Grotto Canyon is relatively easy and suitable for hikers of all skill levels. However, it’s important to wear sturdy shoes, as the canyon floor can be rocky in some places. As you make your way through the canyon, take in the beauty of the surrounding rock formations, listen to the echoes of your footsteps bouncing off the canyon walls, and immerse yourself in the serenity of this hidden gem.

16. Venture Out to Saline Valley Dunes

Venture Out to Saline Valley Dunes

Embark on an exploration of the remarkable dunes at Saline Valley, offering an unparalleled and secluded desert escapade. Engage in invigorating hikes or thrilling sandboarding activities amidst the dunes for an adrenaline rush like no other.

Marvel at the awe-inspiring vistas of the encompassing mountains and arid desert panorama visible from the dune’s summit. Keep a lookout for the diverse wildlife inhabitants such as desert bighorn sheep and kit foxes that inhabit this unique ecosystem. Remember to pack essential supplies like ample water and sunscreen to combat the intense desert sun during your time at Saline Valley Dunes.

17. Suprise Canyon Hike

Suprise Canyon Hike

Embark on the Suprise Canyon Hike, a challenging yet gratifying expedition winding through narrow canyons amidst picturesque desert vistas. Capture breathtaking images of the encompassing mountains and valleys, a haven for photography enthusiasts. Encounter diverse wildlife like bighorn sheep and desert tortoises as you traverse the path. Remember to pack essentials such as ample water and sun-shielding gear, crucial for combating the scorching desert heat, particularly in summer.


Frequently Asked Questions

What are some must-see attractions in Death Valley National Park?

Some key attractions in Death Valley National Park are Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Explore Artist’s Drive, Devil’s Golf Course, and Dante’s View. Visit Harmony Borax Works, Scotty’s Castle for historical insights. Don’t miss Racetrack Playa and Ubehebe Crater for unique landscapes.

How can visitors best prepare for the extreme temperatures in Death Valley National Park?

To stay comfortable in Death Valley’s extreme heat, ensure you drink plenty of water, wear light, breathable clothes, apply sunscreen, and plan outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day.

Are there any safety tips visitors should be aware of when exploring Death Valley National Park?

When exploring Death Valley National Park, remember these safety tips: Stay hydrated in the extreme heat by carrying plenty of water, be ready for sudden weather changes with extra clothing layers, stick to marked trails, be cautious of wildlife, and inform others of your plans.

Are there any recommended hiking trails or outdoor activities within Death Valley National Park?

Discover exciting hiking trails and outdoor activities in Death Valley National Park. Enjoy stargazing, bird watching, and exploring dunes. Take in the beauty of Golden Canyon, Badwater Basin, and Telescope Peak. Drive along Artist’s Drive, Dante’s View, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Stay hydrated and check park conditions.


In conclusion, Death Valley National Park offers a plethora of awe-inspiring experiences for nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. From the breathtaking vistas of Dante’s View to the surreal beauty of Badwater Basin, this park is a haven for exploration.

Whether you choose to hike the rugged terrain, marvel at the unique geological formations, or simply soak in the natural wonders, Death Valley promises an unforgettable journey. So, pack your bags, prepare for the elements, and embark on an adventure of a lifetime in this remarkable national park. Don’t forget to share your favorite experiences or ask any questions in the comments below!