As ominous as it sounds, Death Valley National Park is a landscape of incredible beauty characterized by miles of deep sand dunes, colorful rocks and canyons, an assortment of native wildlife and one-of-a-kind evaporative salt elements. Visitors to the unique park will also find a wealth of relics from its lengthy history that offer a glimpse into the harsh life of the area’s earliest settlers and its native inhabitants, such as metal ore mines, charcoal kilns, ghost towns, petroglyphs and ancient Shoshone foot trails.
Death Valley is easily accessible from Beatty, just seven miles away and known as the "Gateway to Death Valley." Looking at a map, visitors will find several Death Valley National Park features listed, including the Funeral Mountains, Hell’s Gate, Starvation Canyon, Dead Man Pass and Coffin Peak. The names of these fascinating features are a clear indicator of the early pioneers’ troubles in the deep valley, which stretches 130 miles yet is only 12 miles wide. Death Valley covers a staggering 3.4 million acres of barren, largely unpopulated terrain that is filled with sweeps of desert broken up by rocky ridges. The elevation at the north end sits at 1000 meters and slopes steadily downward, putting the valley floor below sea level for 70 miles and ultimately reaching a low point of 282 feet below sea level at a point known as Badwater, the lowest point in the entire Western Hemisphere. This extreme depression contributes to the equally extreme temperatures, which can exceed a scathing 130°F in the summer months and near zero at night.
The valley’s high mountains are also known to become snow-capped in the winter. The paradoxical land of extremes is unlike anywhere on the planet, and recreational pursuits abound. From leisurely walks to strenuous hikes to camping and even a rousing round of golf, there’s no end of activities to enjoy in one of the world’s hottest, driest places.
Visitor Information: Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Museum Open Daily, 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Pacific Time Phone:(760) 786-3200 Location: The visitor center is located in the Furnace Creek resort area on California highway 190.
Furnace Creek is 30 miles from Death Valley Junction to the east, and 24 miles from Stovepipe Wells Village to the north and west.
Scotty's Castle Visitor Center & Museum Open Daily: Summer: 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Winter: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Scotty's Castle and the Scotty's Castle Visitor Center are located at the north end of Death Valley National Park 53 miles from Furnace Creek and approximately 45 miles from Stovepipe Wells Village. From U.S. Route 95, 154 miles north of Las Vegas, it is 26 miles to Scotty's Castle on Nevada State Route 267.
Fees: $20.00 per vehicle to enter the park.
Scotty’s Castle Tours: $11.00