Salt Lake, Dry Lake, dunes, strange rocks, castles. Travel around with various faces, experiencing the scorching heat land at the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere, feeling dizzy.
This “Death Valley” National Park has a variety type of places, “Salt Lake”, “Dry Lake”, “Sand Dune”, “Unique Rocks”, “Castle”. These are impressive places that satisfies the people with multiple visit. This place was originally National Monument before, but it is ranked up to National Park in 1994. Also, it is my opinion, but the name is cool. It is the name that makes me want to go.
This National Park is located relatively near “Las Vegas”. When going to “Las Vegas”, just coming to mind to go this “Death Valley”, but it takes time actually. It is possible to go and return a day, however, it will take whole day surely.
First, describing the “Bad Water”. This is the lowest ground place in the western hemisphere and it is hot. It should not be here in the summer time. When standing on the salt lake which is covered by white color, it is totally dazzling by the reflecting light from the ground, and I could not open my eyes.
Secondary, there is one place to look down the whole salt lake, it is “Dantes View”. It takes approx. one hour to drive, but it is exhilarating place by seeing the salt lake from the top of the mountain.
Moreover, just comparing the salt lake view from this “Dantes View” in 1998 and 2010, it was obvious that salt lake range becomes smaller. Sign board of “Bad Water” was standing on the surface of the salt lake in 1998, however, its location was not salt lake in 2010. I am not expert in this field, but “Ivanpah Lake” and “Soda Lake” near here, on the way to the Las Vegas, its range of salt lake also becomes smaller. In this sense, the impact of the above mentioned “Dazzling” is decreasing.
Other view point of “Artists Palette” and “Zabriskie Point” is located near the “Bad Water” and therefore, recommend to stop by. In a short distance from the “Bad Water”, there is a desert, sand dunes, too. These are OK place, but my recommendation is the “Scottie’s Castle” and “Race Track” in the further north part of this National Park. “Race Track” is the famous place that stone on the dry lake is moving before it is aware of.
“Scottie’s Castle” has walking guide tour, I could feel the madness of the people to build this castle in this middle of nowhere. It takes more than three hours from the “Bad Water” to “Race Track” by driving a long unpaved road, and therefore you may feel some satisfaction, “I am here finally”.
By the way, I could not find the place with the “Rock with Trace” which can be seen in the picture on the web and others. It must be, it was not the suitable time. Nevertheless, this place is far, even from the central location of this National Park. “Race Track” is the famous place, but I have encountered a few cars on the way and return. In addition, there is no people at all other than my party on the dry lake.
“Death Valley” is, in general, considered as a package with the trip to “Las Vegas”, then difficult to have a time on that trip, but it is worth to go to “Death Valley” only. I guess, you can find something new, something different by driving around this “Death Valley”.
By the way, I have utilized the town, “Baker” located on the Interstate 15, as a gate city to visit “Death Valley”. Now, only one motel is opened in 2018, that had several in 1990s to 2000s, and diffcult to utilize any more. This town, “Baker” has the world largest thermometer along the main road, and also, this is gate town to access to the “Mojave National Preserve” area, which is my favorite place, extending to the south.
Visited in 1998, 2002, 2010.
■ Name of Place：Death Valley National Park
■ Address : California, Nevada, USA
■ Homepage : https://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm
■ How to Get here? / Input
- There are two options to get in. It is by car from Los Angeles or Las Vegas. Las Vegas is closer this place than Los Angeles, but there is relatively distance. In case of Las Vegas, flight will be from cities in west coast including Los Angeles. I recommend to access from Los Angeles by car otherwise has special reason. In this case, it will stay for one night around the city of “Barstow” and get into “Death Valley” National Park by enjoying the landscape on Interstate 15 on the way.
- Motels in Death Valley is limited, though there are a few places to stay within this National Park. There are motels around small city, but popular motels will be sold out earlier, and therefore, I recommend to reserve motel as early as possible.
Following distance and time is to “Badwater” in Death Valley. It takes additional distance and time to “Scottie’s Castle” and “Race Track” located at the north. Please pay attention to.
・160mile (260km), 3 hours by car, from “Las Vegas”
・310mile (500km), 5 hours by car, from “Los Angeles”
・200mile (320km), 3.5 hours by car, from “Barstow”
(described on Apr 30 2019)
(updated on Mar 8 2023)