Over 770,000 visitors flock to Death Valley each year to hike, camp and explore its 3.4 million acres of protected desert landscape. From snow-tipped mountain peaks to plunging canyons, this legendary tourist hotspot is a haven of diverse wildlife, geologic wonders, and natural extremes.
Things to Do in Death Valley
Death Valley National Park offers numerous points of interest for adventurous Nevada travelers. Here are just a few.
On a sandy plain along Route 190 appears a landscape of strange-looking formations. These arrowwood plants, resembling corn shucks, offer an unforgettable spectacle for passing travelers.
Old Harmony Borax Works.
At the remains of the Harmony Borax Works—once a center for processing the Valley’s most profitable mineral—history buffs will find a 3/8 mile-long interpretive trail which tells the story of this legendary landmark. Birding enthusiasts should be on the look out for spotted sandpipers, ravens, killdeers and birds of prey. Located off of Route 190 south, near Salt Creek.
Built by Walter Scott in the 1920s, this “castle” is actually a two-story Spanish Villa located in the northern part of the park. Take a guided tour through the $2.5 million desert mansion to witness the technological innovation and fine craftsmanship that have turned this landmark into a storied legend. Located in northern Death Valley.
Death Valley features 14 square miles of sweeping sand dunes, with the best of these found right along Route 190. Prime dune time is in the morning or late afternoon, when deep shadows highlight their dramatic dips and peaks. There are no trails here, so desert-goers are free to wander at their will.
Salt Creek Nature Trail. Take a stroll along the boardwalk that winds through this spring-fed creek and witness a colorful variety of vegetation and creatures in their natural habitat.
Salt Creek is home to the desert pupfish, a remnant species from the Ice Ages. Trail starts 15 miles north of the Visitor Center, one mile off of Route 190.
Artists’ Drive and Palette. This slow, 9-mile drive near Zabriskie Point and Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch greets visitors with a vivid, rainbow-colored display against the face of the Black Mountains. Created by the oxidation of various metals over time, shades of green, orange and pastel pinks and lavenders create a colorful patchwork that leaves sightseers in awe.
Devil’s Golf Course.
This large salt pan, where the dry climate and low elevation allows the elements to sculpt the salt into bizarre forms, features an ominous-looking surface that “only the devil could play golf” on—according to a 1934 Death Valley guidebook. Located in the northern part of the Park, near Stovepipe Wells.
Mesquite Sand Dunes.
Are you a Star Wars fan? If so, you’ll be happy to know that several scenes in this famous movie were filmed at these dunes. Bordered by mountains on all sides, the Mesquite Sand Dunes boast sand depths up to 600-700 feet deep. Located off of Route 190 north, a few miles before Stovepipe Wells.
Named after a pioneering borax miner, this natural terrace offers visitors a dramatic panoramic view of Death Valley basin—at a height of 5,475 feet. The best view can be discovered early in the morning or during late afternoon. Accessible by a short spur road that runs south from CA 190, just inside the eastern boundary of the park.
Death Valley National Park also offers plenty of off-roading opportunities, whether you’re seeking a leisurely drive or a four-wheel adventure. To learn more about the sights and activities found in Death Valley National Park, Nevada, visit http://www.nps.gov/deva/.