Visitor Guide to Death Valley National Park

Here's How to Visit

Death Valley National Park is one of the world's hottest - lowest - places and one of the best places in the United States for star-gazing. With scant rainfall, it's a landscape laid bare, full of geological oddities, towering sand dunes and the homes of some pretty quirky former inhabitants. You can stand on the rim of an extinct volcano, see evidence of rocks that move around without any human intervention, stand 282 ft (86 m) below sea level or visit the Devil's Golf Course (or his cornfield), all in a day's time, then turn in at night in a nice, comfortable hotel after an excellent meal.

  • 01 of 06
    Badwater Salt Flats before Sunset
    ••• Badwater in Death Valley. David Toussaint / Getty Images

    You've probably heard of Death Valley, but you may not know a lot about it. Find out why (and if) you should go, how to get around after you arrive and check out some handy tips.

    Some times of the year, Death Valley is just too hot for most of us. In fact, it holds the world record for the highest temperature ever recorded on earth. It's helpful to find out what conditions may be like when you visit. To be as comfortable as possible while you're in this hot, dry place, it's important to be prepared before you go to the desert.

  • 02 of 06
    USA - Death Valley - Car tourist consults a map
    ••• On the Way to Death Valley. Corbis via Getty Images / Getty Images

    If you don't know where Death Valley is - or you only have a vague idea of its location, now's the time to find out. Learn why the answer to the question "Where is Death Valley?" is sometimes dead wrong, how far it is from other places and how to get there.

    Las Vegas is the closest major city to Death Valley. If your trip starts from there, check out the various ways to get from Las Vegas to Death Valley.

  • 03 of 06

    Where to Stay in Death Valley National Park

    Death Valley Swimming Pool at the Furnace Creek Inn
    ••• Swimming Pool at the Furnace Creek Inn. Robert Alexander / Getty Images

    If you're staying overnight in Death Valley National Park, it's best to plan ahead to be sure there's a bed waiting for you. Most visitors stay at The Oasis at Death Valley Resort (formerly the Furnace Creek Resort) or Stovepipe Wells and there are also a few rooms available at Panamint Springs.

    If you like to go camping you'll also find options for that.

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    Mesquite Sand Dunes at Death Valley
    ••• Mesquite Sand Dunes at Death Valley.

    Betsy Malloy Photography

    There's a lot to do in Death Valley, so make sure you use your time wisely, especially if you're only there for a weekend getaway.

    If you want to take a tour - or create your own - or if you're visiting Death Valley as a Las Vegas side trip, there are several options.

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • 05 of 06
    Wildflowers in Death Valley
    ••• Wildflowers in Death Valley. Christine Warner Hawks/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

    Death Valley's stark beauty and changing patterns of light are a big draw for photographers. The nearby ghost town of Rhyolite, Nevada is pretty photogenic, too.

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    R2D2's Canyon in Death Valley
    ••• R2D2's Canyon in Death Valley.

    Betsy Malloy Photography

    Do you remember the desert landscapes of Tatooine in the Star Wars films? Many of those famous scenes were filmed in Death Valley and you can visit them!