Death Valley

Don’t let the name fool you: most people who visit Death Valley come away feeling more alive than ever.

This extreme arid environment covers 5,219 square miles, from valleys to mountain ranges to the area known as Badwater, which plunges to 292 feet below sea level directly below 11,043-foot Telescope Peak. The racetrack playa (featuring a dramatic 73-foot high rock formation near its center called “The Grandstand”) is an extremely flat surface whose north end is only 1.5 inches higher than the south. Here you’ll find the phenomenon of “moving rocks” – rocks that slowly move with no human or animal aid.

See it all from your car, bicycle or mountain bike (on established roadways only, please.) Visit between November and April and a ranger will be glad to take you on a guided tour of this dramatic region.

The hiking possibilities are literally limitless – including the nearby Ubehebe Crater, a volcanic formation that’s 777 feet deep – but it’s best to brave this extreme region between October and May at the lower elevations. Along the way, you’ll see unique wildlife and plant life that has evolved to survive this harsh climate, including beautiful wildflowers, the native creosote bush, bighorn sheep, coyote and the Death Valley Pupfish.

Depending on the season, you can find stylish accommodations at the nearby Furnace Creek Inn, a historic four-star hotel. For a more authentic experience, try the Furnace Creek Ranch, a three-star ranch-style property.

SCOTTY’S CASTLE
They say this ornate structure is built on both lies and an unlikely friendship. Visit Scotty’s Castle for an unusual trip into eccentricity – and back in time. Despite its harsh surrounding, this ornate structure features a $75,000 pipe organ which is rumored to cover the entrance to a legendary gold mine. The castle is replete with hand-carved redwood beams, indoor waterfalls and luxurious leather furnishings.

CHAMBER OF COMMERCE INFORMATION

Death Valley National Park Information Center
307 W. Main St. (Hwy 374)
PO Box 1235
Beatty, NV 89003
Phone: 775.553.2200
Web: http://www.nps.gov/deva