Death Valley Weather and Climate
If you want to know what Death Valley weather might be during your trip, some information about typical Death Valley climate may be helpful.
Do You Think Metric? You can find the same information as above at the end of this page but in °C and cm.
A Few Things You May Not Know About Death Valley Weather
It doesn't often rain in Death Valley, but flash floods are a danger when it does. The desert soil gets so dry that water does not soak in, turning all of it into runoff. During heavy rains, flooding can start almost immediately.
Night temperatures will be about 20 to 30 °F degrees lower than in the daytime. The temperature drops by three to five °F for every 1,000 feet (300 m) of elevation.
Death Valley Weather Records
The highest recorded temperature anywhere on Earth was 134 °F, which was measured at Death Valley in July 1913.
According to the National Park Service, the highest ground temperature at Death Valley was 201°F at Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972. The maximum air temperature for that day was 128°F.
The lowest temperature at Death Valley was 0°F in 1988.
Average rainfall at Death Valley is less than 2 inches per year. In some years, it's even less. According to the National Park Service, no rain fell at all in 1929 and 1953 - and it got only 0.64 inches of rain over 40 months in the early 1930s.
Storms moving inland from the ocean lose all their moisture when they pass over mountains - and there are four major mountain ranges between Death Valley and the Pacific.
What to Wear, What to Pack for Your Death Valley Trip
What to Wear in Death Valley
This list focuses on practical considerations about dressing for Death Valley that you might not think of.
- Casual outdoor clothing is appropriate almost anywhere in Death Valley.
- In the dining room at the Inn at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Inn), the dress code for dinner is “resort attire.” T-shirts and tank tops are not allowed.
- The desert cools off fast after sunset, and an extra layer will be welcome in the evening.
- If you're packing a swimsuit in summer, you'll also need a cover up - the sun is too intense to be in it very long.
- Hats are a must in the bright sun. Big brims are a good idea, too.
- Sturdy shoes with thick soles and good traction are essential if you plan to go hiking.
What to Pack for Death Valley
These are a few things that are helpful to have along when going to Death Valley:
- Bring lots of lotion, moisturizer and eye drops. If your nose tends to dry out easily, take a bottle of saline nose spray to keep it moister.
- Use strong sunscreen, with a higher SPF than you might use at home.
- Cooling neck wraps are a big help on hot days. Sold at sporting goods stores, they contain a gel that soaks up water, then keeps you cool as it evaporates. Small, personal misters are also a big help.
- If you plan to do a driving tour, a small, portable ice chest is a good way to carry a few cool drinks and snacks.
- If your hair tends to fall flat in dry weather, bring extra products to keep it fluffed up.
- You're unlikely to need an umbrella or raincoat - Death Valley seldom gets much rain.
Death Valley Weather and Climate (Metric Units)
If you're more comfortable with Celsius and centimeters than Fahrenheit and inches and these graphs are just for you.
Things You May Not Know About Death Valley Weather
Night temperatures will be lower than in the daytime. Lower elevations are hotter than higher ones, dropping by 3°C for every 300 m of elevation.
Death Valley Weather Records
The highest recorded temperature in history was 57°C, at Death Valley in July 1913. The lowest was -18°C in 1988. According to the National Park Service, the highest ground temperature at Death Valley was 93°C at Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972. The maximum air temperature for that day was 53°C.
According to the National Park Service, no rain fell at all in 1929 and 1953 - and it got only 1.6 cm of rain over 40 months in the early 1930s.
Average rainfall at Death Valley is less than 5 cm per year. In some years, it's even less. That's because storms moving inland from ocean lose water when they pass over mountains - and there are four major mountain ranges between Death Valley and the Pacific.