Death Valley National Park - USA
Death Valley is two hours northwest of Las Vegas. It is a very unique and large national park, 100km long and 40km wide. The valley contains an incredible combination of dry desert views surrounded by snowy mountains 5000 tall. Some places of interest in the park visit have dark and gloomy names such as Hell’s Gate, Devil’s Golf Course and Dante’s View. The most extraordinary thing about this park is its great variety of landscapes of every hue and shape, all created by nature. At the centre of the park are enormous sand dunes which you can climb and roll or slide down. At the northern part of the park is Scotty’s Castle, a magnificent building built by a rich man from Chicago.
Tourist season is only from October to March, as the summer heat is unbearable: It can get as hot as 48 degrees Celsius in the shade, and the hottest temperature ever measured in the world was here: a ground temperature of 84 degrees C in 1972. This is the hottest and driest place in America. In the winter the weather is pleasant during the day and quite cold at night.
When visiting the park, you should take its huge size
into consideration, as the drive from one viewpoint to
another takes a while. Recommended points of interest
Dante’s View, a viewpoint 2000 metres above sea level which overlooks all of Death Valley.
Artist’s Drive, where you travel between rocks of many colours – red, yellow, white, green, brown and orange.
Badwater Basin, where 20,000 years ago there was a lake which has since dried up. Now it is a massive expanse made up of almost pure table salt.
Devil’s Golf Course, a large salt pan full of halite salt crystal formations.
Zabriskie Point, from which you can see a beautiful view
of eroded badlands.
Most of these points of interest are on the eastern side of the park.
For nature lovers, one day at the park will not be enough. I recommend staying at the nearby small town, Beatty, Where there are a number of small and fairly inexpensive motels. There are hotels in the park itself as well, but they are far more expensive and the selection of food services there is quite limited. A couple of hotels I would recommend in Beatty are the Stagecoach Hotel and Casino and the Burro Inn.
You can find more information about Death Valley at: National Parks Official site and at: Gorp Park Guide.