Death Valley National Park in Southern California is not just some desert, it’s a whole other planet. DVNP is all about wild contrasts. Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the States, while Telescope Peak reaches for the stars. Temperatures scorch by day and turn crazy chilly when darkness descends. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s a dead zone; creosote bush and Bighorn sheep own the place. And springtime can bring a fleeting blanket of wildflowers.
The park’s geology is a psychedelic trip. The Artist’s Palette and Zabriskie Point make you feel like you’ve stepped into a crazy Instagram filter. Those sliding rocks at Racetrack Playa are illusory magic. And the night skies? The raw universe unplugged. Death Valley National Park is like that underground band you discover and can’t get enough of. It’s a mind-expanding encounter with the raw edge of nature, sand dune solitude, teaching you about survival, adaptation, and finding beauty where you least expect it.
PS: Yes, the park itself, along with Death Valley Junction, has a few lodging and dining options. And gas and water. It’s a bit less than 4 hours from LA, a bit more than 4 hours from Palm Springs, and 4 hours to Joshua Tree. — Kim Grant