Death Valley Attractions You NEED To See
Death Valley is harsh region that has definitely earned its foreboding name. At an elevation of 622 meters, it is considered as the hottest and driest place in North America. In fact, it gets so hot around here, that in the summer months, the residents are encouraged to leave and come back during cooler months.
But on the other side of the coin, Death Valley is one of the most beautiful places on earth. With high mountains, deep valleys, sand dunes, and date-palms growing on the oases scattered across the desert. Especially in spring, when the wildflowers bloom everywhere. It is considered as “one of California’s most unique treasures.”
TIP: The current population of Death Valley is lower than 20. The city limits sign only show a population number of 4.
Furnace Creek is the main stopping point for tourists, and is located in the center of Death Valley. It is where the tourists make their base before setting out to explore the Death Valley National Park. There are two accommodation options here: Furnace Creek has a hotel—the Furnace Creek Ranch, and the Furnace Creek Inn, which is the cheaper option of the two. The National Park Service information office is also found in Furnace Creek.
Furnace Creek has a post office, gas station, and a convenience store. So make sure you gas up and gear up before you go on an adventure of a lifetime!
The first inhabitants of this area now known as the Zabriskie Point were the Shoshone tribe. The tribal people called it "tomesha", which literally translates as "fiery earth". Perhaps they are pertaining to the gold and reddish hues of the ground. It is a surreal place where you are surrounded by picturesque gold-colored rocks, where you get a fantastic view of the western part of the valley, and also the Panamint Mountains.
The Manly Beacon Peak, in the foreground of Zabriskie Point, is named after William L. Manly who “along with John Rogers, guided members of the ill-fated Forty-niners out of Death Valley during the gold rush of 1849." They are the first people, apart from the Shoshone (who has been around for 7,000 years), to do so.
It may not be easy to get to Dante's View, especially in warm weather, but it will be worth it when you reach the peak.
From a height of 5,478 feet, Dante's View offers a panoramic view of the Death Valley, with the stunning landscapes of Owlshead Mountains, Funeral Mountains, and the Badwater Basin. It is best to go to Dante's View during the early hours of the day, or at night when the sky is filled with stars.
Devil's Golf Course and Artist's Drive
The Devil's Golf Course is a vast area of nothingness, except for endless rows of razor sharp salt crystals stretching out as far as the eye can see. It is quite an eerie albeit magnificent sight to see. There is a small parking area near the viewpoint.
Not far from The Devil's Golf Course, follow the road called Artist’s Drive that will take you through some dramatic rock formations. You will eventually come to Painter’s Palette, named so after the wide variety of colors found on the rocks.
Found in south end of the Death Valley National Park south end is a rather interesting site—the Badwater Basin. At 277 feet below sea level, it is the lowest point of land in the western hemisphere. It’s always very hot in this place, even during winter season.
Badwater Basin is a shallow lake, rimmed with salt, and surrounded by beautiful mountains. On a clear day with no wind, one can see mountains reflected on the still water surface. Come at sunrise or sunset, when the light sets off beautiful hues and colors of its surroundings. It is a wonderful sight to see indeed.
Built in the 1920's by a wealthy business man named Albert Johnson, the house took an insane amount of effort to build, as the materials were all sourced outside Death Valley, and the valley was undeveloped at that time, so there were no roads.
The compound is complete with stables, a staff house, a guest house, and a bell tower. Scotty's Castle was never finished due to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, where Mr. Johnson lost his entire fortune.
You can only visit the house’s interior via a guided tour, but it’s well worth it. The furniture, paintings, books and other possessions owned by the Johnsons are still all in place. There’s even a 1600-pipe organ fitted with self-playing musical cylinders.
The name Scotty's Castle came from a conman named Walter Scott who told everyone that he owned the building, and that Mr. Johnson was only his banker. Soon, everyone believed him. And although the lie was exposed, the name stuck.
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