“How could rocks and sand and silence make us afraid and yet be so beautiful? -Edna Brush Perkins”
Death Valley is a land of superlatives. From the magnificent colored landscape to the silent surroundings around can scare you. That’s when you realize how beautiful our planet is! It is the bottom of the Western Hemisphere & has the furthest extent of heat during summers. Ensure you are well equipped for this trip. The first thing would be to load your SUV with the necessary water & food supplies. Ensure you wear something comfortable throughout this trip & don’t forget to take your hiking shoes.
My journey to this place began on a rainy night where there were flash flood warnings throughout the state. That didn’t stop myself from this little adventure. We were a gang of four leaving from San Jose, CA. The trip started around 9 pm (wanted to get away from the traffic on a long weekend) and our first stop was at Ridgecrest, CA where we decided to rest for the night. We crashed into the hotel room at around 3:30 am and got up around 8 am the next day to resume our trip. Half sleepy and partially cranky, I decided to doze off in the backseat when I heard my friends screaming loudly as we reached closer to the desert.
I was stunned by the sight of what I saw next! It was like we had driven to a different planet altogether. Such a beautiful landscape with colored mountains, shimmering lakes, vast badlands, sand dunes & salt water deposits just shook me alive. The air around was deathly silent & still. I then knew my adventure had begun. Here are the list of top points you would want to cover if you are planning a 2 days trip to this valley,
- Zabriskie point
This is one of the best sunset points. The landscape looks chaotic yet strangely beautiful.
2. Dante’s view
This point left me speechless. The landscape was breathtaking. Please do the hike overlooking the badlands & mountains. Though it might seem scary, the view you get towards the end makes your effort worthy. I really couldn’t figure out the difference between the sky and the water body beneath. Please try to spot the lowest point from here.
3. Badwater Basin
No matter at whatever time you try to visit this place, its going to exhaust you from the heat. Please ensure you are well equipped with water or energy drinks before this trail. Also, please remove your shoes if you would like to save them from getting soiled with mud & salt.
4. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Oh my!!! I wish we had rented an ATV… 😀
Please ensure you make it to this point at least 1 hour before the sunrise or sunset. You are going to do a fair amount of climbing and rolling. We had walked almost 8 sand dune hills to make it to the tallest one from where we could see the sun sink for the day. If you are lucky, you can spot a rainbow too. The view from this point got my legs shaky. It was so good to be true. And yes, you would not believe. I rolled down from the sand dune hill to save my energy. The best 5 mile hike I have ever had 😀
5. Goldwell Open Air Museum
If you have time, please try to make it to this museum. You can find the ghostly version of “The Last Supper” in the middle of the Amargosa Valley. Try experimenting some fun poses near these ghosts 😉
6. Ghost towns
To all those dare devils who want to scare their friends by coming up with their own version of it, this is the perfect spot!!!
Here are some of the other pics I took on our way back,
Note: 1. If you are driving from CA and plan to stay there for more than 2 days, please stay at Beatty, NV. This would save you a lot of travel time for witnessing the breathtaking sunrise.
2. Though the sand might look coarse, it can sometimes pull your leg when you step on it. Please watch out for soft sand throughout the valley.
3. There might be other points that might be open based on the season you are planning to visit. So, please talk to the park ranger to know more.