My wife and I made a 3 day 2 night trip to Death Valley National Park this past week for some hiking and sightseeing. We stayed at the Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel and were very happy with the accommodations. It was a clean, large room with a nice shower, small refrigerator and TV. There are no phones in the room and there is no cell phone service in the area which only adds to the feeling of being on vacation. The closest place to get cell service is the Furnace Creek area, which is about 25 miles away. This is also where you can find the newly refurbished Furnace Creek Visitor Center and local accommodations including the Furnace Creek Resort and Ranch.
We went on numerous hikes while we were in the park including Mosaic Canyon, Golden Canyon and Sidewinder Canyon. They were all beautiful and unique in their own way. The Mosaic Canyon is a narrow canyon just down the road from Stovepipe Wells. It is a very short hike up to the narrowest park of the canyon and the walls and floor are all made of marble. Sidewinder Canyon is little more off the beaten path. To access this hike you take Badwater Road for 30 miles from the Furnace Creek area. This was a great hike as there are a bunch of side slot canyons that allow for exploration. On our last day we decided to hike the Golden Canyon. This is a very popular hike as it is just a short walk up to some spectacular rock formations. This hike also allows for some great side explorations.
Other highlights of our trip included the spectacular Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. These are truly a marvel to behold. I have never seen so much sand in one spot. The sand is very fine and soft like a Caribbean beach. We stopped by the Sand Dunes both during the day and at night. As our visit was during the full moon, the Sand Dunes are an awesome sight at night. The moon really lights up the sand and allows for great viewing. It was very windy on our first day and the due to the winds the dunes were in a constant state of reshaping. Our footprints disappeared within minutes of our making them. Two other great spots we saw were the Artist Palette and Zabriskie Point. Artist Palette is a 9 mile loop drive through the mountains that has some of the most vibrant colors you can ever see in the rocks and mountains that are all along the drive. Zabriskie Point allows for a spectacular view and is one of the park’s most famous spot for tourists. This vantage point is great for seeing many of the parks most awesome scenery.
We had a great time at Death Valley and will definitely be planning to go back again at some point in the future to do some of the hikes and other activities that we were not able to get to this time. It is a huge park and would take many days to see most of it. From my readings online it seems that the Spring and Fall are the best times to go. Also, one of the things I read online about needing a 4 wheel drive was not accurate. Although I’m sure there are areas of the park where you would need it, I was able access all the areas I wanted to with just my passenger car.