Official Visitor Center for Palm Springs, California

Death Valley

Make Death Valley Your Vacation Hotspot

Drive 4 hr 25 min (248.5 mi) via US-395 N

Death Valley has the unique reputation of being California’s hottest, driest, and lowest National Park, but don’t let those extremes fool you. Death Valley is also home to towering peaks frosted with winter snow during the cooler season, rare rainstorms that bring vast fields of wildflowers, and lush oases that even harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. A great natural diversity of life thrives in Death Valley, ensuring that you will have a one-of-a-kind experience while visiting this National Park.

There are many activities that await you at Death Valley National Park. Movie fans have the opportunity to go on a self-guided tour to see where the famous Star Wars film series shot scenes in Death Valley for Episode IV – A New Hope and Episode V – Return of the Jedi. Locations shown in the tour include the “Artists Palette”—a scenic vista offering a stunning glimpse into Death Valley’s colorful volcanic past, “Dante’s View” which provides a birds-eye view of Death Valley, and “Desolation Canyon”—a trail-less canyon for hiking and geology enthusiasts. There is no shortage of sightseeing opportunities at Death Valley National Park. At over 3.4 million acres, there is a lot of natural rock formations and stunning vistas to see in Death Valley.

Visitors must be aware that no all of the locations at the National Park can be accessed by car, but some roads have length restrictions or require a high-clearance vehicle. One sightseeing spot worthy of a picture is Zabriskie Point, an iconic vista where visitors can experience the stark beauty of Death Valley overlooking badlands and salt flats. Another unique sight-seeing opportunity is Badwater Basin, which is the lowest point in North America. This surreal landscape of vast salt flats sits 282 feet below sea level where a temporary lake may form after heavy rainstorms.

When vacationing in Death Valley, it is important to note that it is famous as the hottest place on earth and driest place in North America. Summer temperatures often top 120°F in the shade with overnight lows dipping into the 90s°F. Average rainfall is less than 2 inches—a fraction of what most deserts receive. Occasional thunderstorms, especially in late summer, can cause flash floods.

Despite the extremes of summertime, winter and spring are very pleasant. Winter daytime temperatures are mild in the low elevations, with cool nights that only occasionally reach freezing. Higher elevations are cooler than the low valley. Temperatures drop 3 to 5°F with every thousand vertical feet of height gained. Sunny skies are the norm in Death Valley, but
winter storms and summer monsoons can bring cloud cover and rain.

While visiting Death Valley, there are several vacation homes available for rent within close proximity to the National Park. One such place is this Death Valley Hot Springs home with its own hot springs. This 2 bedroom 2 bath home comes fully furnished to provide you with a comfortable stay. In an incredible location, just 10 miles to the “scenic route” South East entrance of Death Valley National Park and in Delight’s Hot Springs Resort. The house is only a 5-minute drive from local convenience stores and gas stations close to Death Valley National Park.


Summer: May – September

  • There are only a few campgrounds open in the summer months due to the extreme temperatures (midnight temperatures can still be over 100 degrees!) so most visitors find these sleeping conditions unfavorable.
  • Due to the limited number of campgrounds open it can be very busy over HOLIDAY weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day), and campgrounds may fill. The higher elevation campgrounds can be full on most weekends throughout the summer.
  • Open campgrounds are ALL first-come, first-serve, and they are not staffed. You will need to travel to the campground to find an empty spot, and then you can pay your campground fee at the automated, self-help kiosk with a credit or debit card.
  • Due to excessive summer heat, it is recommended to stay in developed campgrounds only. Travel on primitive, unpaved roads increases the risk of vehicle breakdowns, exposure to elements, poor cell service and lack of water.
  • To escape Death Valley’s famous summer heat, consider our higher elevation campgrounds for more pleasant overnight options: Mesquite Spring, Emigrant or Wildrose.

Winter/Spring: October – April

  • Furnace Creek CG takes reservations and fills during the busy season. Reservations are only available for Furnace Creek Campground October 15th – April 15th; all others are first-come, first-served. Sites can be booked through up to 6 months in advance.
  • The popular campgrounds (Furnace Creek CG and Texas Springs CG) are typically full on weekends and holidays.
  • The largest campground, Sunset, almost always has sites available, even in peak season.
  • You can arrive anytime and pay at the first-come, first-serve campgrounds with an automated machine (credit or debit card needed).

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