A few months back, Kira won one of our Hike365 Monthly Giveaways + ever since then we have been Insta Friends! When she pitched to us her content idea of a trip to Death Valley NP we couldn’t wait for her to hit the road! Grab a drink, kick your feet up and enjoy this segment of “Hike 365 Welcome to”!
Sand, rocks, and salt are not usually on my must-see list when I set out for an adventure. I am usually drawn towards lush forests and vast mountainscapes. So when my husband wanted to plan a trip to Death Valley National Park, I was skeptical. I couldn’t imagine how visually stimulating the desert would be, but boy did Death Valley surprise me in so many different ways.
Everywhere I turned there was something to be marveled. From narrow canyons to never-ending salt flats, Death Valley is filled with wonders. I was in awe of how colorful the desert could be as we watched the sun’s rays dance around the curves of the rocks. Every area we explored was so unlike the rest. Each with its own personality and its own story. While there you could feel an energy moving through you as you stepped on the ancient grounds. It left you feeling connected and infinite.
Only spending a few days in the park left me wanting more. Being the largest National Park in the continental U.S. it’s no wonder I felt like there was so much more to see. I feel like I’ve only received a small taste of what Death Valley has to offer. I will definitely be planning another trip back to this amazing place one day.
Where to Stay
Texas Springs Campground is a first come site with no reservations
Sunset Campground is also a first come site with no reservations
Furnace Creek Campground is the only centrally located site you can book ahead of time
Furnace Creek Resort is also an option for those who want a little more luxury while they explore.
A large part of the park is designated wilderness where you are allowed to backpack and set up camp anywhere as long as you are 2 miles away from any major road ( My favorite option!) All you need is a wilderness permit that you can pick up from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
Where to Play
One of the great things about National Parks is how accessible many of the most stunning sites are. Golden Canyon is a easy flat hike on a wide path originally carved out by water. If you are looking for a light stroll to gaze at the glowing rocks then this is a wonderful destination. However if you like a little more adventures in your life there are several slot canyons that branch off the main trail. Take your pick and venture in and up the narrow canyons for a really cool experience.
Wedged amongst the gold, yellow, white, and tan rocks stand a stunning rock wall called Red Cathedral. The contrasting colors and the grand scale is something to marvel at for hours. If you enjoy catching sunrises or sunsets, this the place for you. As the sun moves the light dances across the rocks and put on a show as the hues shift and bend creating a new view of the Cathedral with every passing minute.
Something to cross off the bucket list is to stand on the snowy white salt of Badwater. This location is the lowest point in North America, and sits almost 300ft below sea level. As you walk out on to the salt flat you suddenly realize the scale of the park and just how small we really are. The salt feels like snow crunching under your feet and it makes you think of what Badwater looked like in its hay day. Filled to the brim with water and giving life to the animals that once inhabited it.
The most surprising thing at Death Valley was the array of colors on the rocks. Artist Palette was cleverly named and well deserved with its streaks of green, turquoise, purple, pink, yellow and white all within the mountain. It almost felt like stepping onto another planet as you leaped from brightly colored rock to the next while rubbing your eyes to make sure the hues were correct. It’s a lovely location to see nature at its finest.
Another stand out marvel was Zabriskie Point. With its long golden fingers and burnt brown tips it is unlike the rest of the park as it stands amongst the tan and white formations. It’s strange how something so unique made its way here. It almost looks out of place amongst the rest of its fellow formations, but somehow it completely unifies its surroundings. There is an easy access view from a nearby parking lot, but if you are a true adventurer you may want to venture down the path and explore the mountain up close and personal.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Who knew walking through sand dunes would be so challenging but also bring so much laughter. Trekking up soft sand is not for the faint at heart. One minute you are walking on hard ground, then the next you sink knee high into the sand. When going up a steep hill with sliding ground it can take a while to make your way up, but then going down is so much fun making you feel so carefree.
Devil Golf Course
Formed solely from salt crystals this rugged terrain is a site to see. As long as you proceed with caution you can skip along the formations to get a closer looks at the delicate crystals. It may look lumpy and unattractive from a distance, but if you get close you can see all it’s beauty. There are millions of tiny crystals shooting out of the larger chunks, and if you are lucky enough you may even come across a hollow salt globe formed from the wind. Either way it is a truly unique landscape!
– Kira is an adventure seeker, artistic soul, nature lover + the artist behind Antlers + Honey. Born + raised in sunny California she is often found outdoors with her sketchbook by her side creating original works of art she turns into both prints + temporary tattoos.
– Find Kira on Insta, Facebook + Twitter to see what she is up to! Be sure to stop by her website to shop her beautiful botanical prints!