Death Valley (map) is a desert valley in Eastern California. During summer, it is one of the hottest places on Earth, along with deserts in the Middle East and the Sahara.
Death Valley National Park (map). Many potential visitors ignore the park due to the misconception that it is a lifeless, empty landscape. Its 3 million acres of wilderness and rich cultural history make it a lifetime’s work to explore all that the valley has to offer. It features the hottest recorded temperature, reports the lowest annual precipitation, and the tallest sand dunes.
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Lying mostly in Inyo County, California, near the border of California and Nevada, in the Great Basin, east of the Sierra Nevada mountains, Death Valley constitutes much of Death Valley National Park and is the principal feature of the *Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve.
State Route 190, the Badwater Road, the Scotty’s Castle Road, and paved roads to Dante’s View and Wildrose provide access to the major scenic viewpoints and historic points of interest. More than 350 miles (560 km) of unpaved and four-wheel-drive roads provide access to wilderness hiking, camping, and historical sites.
There are hiking trails of varying lengths and difficulties, but most backcountry areas are accessible only by cross-country hiking. There are thousands of hiking possibilities. The normal season for visiting the park is from October 15 to May 15, avoiding summer extremes in temperature.
There are nine designated campgrounds within the park, and overnight backcountry camping permits are available at the Visitor Center.
Follow Desert Survival guidelines. The name of the park says it all. Unprepared tourists die each year within the borders of the park.
Death Valley’s Badwater Basin is the point of lowest elevation in North America, at 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. On the afternoon of July 10, 1913, the United States Weather Bureau recorded a high temperature of 134 °F (56.7 °C) at Furnace Creek in Death Valley, which stands as the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded at the surface of the Earth.