We had a nice time during our two days in Vegas, but finally it was time to get on with the trip. In keeping with our goal of visiting all the US national parks, we decided to shoot through Death Valley National Park en route to Yosemite. It added a little time to our drive, but it was right there. It only made sense to make a quick visit.
(You can pick up a “I ♥ Parks” t-shirt and more fun items to share your love of the parks from the National Park Foundation shop.)
It took just about two hours to drive from Las Vegas to the park. When we stopped at the pay station, we noted how isolated we were. No other cars. No sound. It was eery, yet kind of nice.
We really just drove through the park, making only two quick stops. The first stop was at Zabriskie Point. This area reminded us of Badlands National Park, but I dare say it was more beautiful. I never thought I would find Death Valley beautiful, but it really does have it’s own magical qualities.
Our second stop was the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. In addition to picking up a few souvenirs (not knowing if we’ll ever be back), I had to get a picture with the big thermometer.
Wait! It changed!
99 degrees at 9:00am. Ouch!
Death Valley was not only hot, it was quiet. If you go, you have to be smart. Carry plenty of water with you, even if you’re just driving through. Pay attention as you drive. Death Valley was more mountainous than we anticipated, and the roads up through the mountains are no joke. We only saw a couple of other cars as we drove out of the park. You don’t want something to happen to you when not many people are driving by.
The other thing to be prepared for if you’re just driving through are the dips in the road. The whole road. My stomach is super sensitive to dips, so it made for a long ride.
We were probably out of the park by 10:00/10:30am. It was a very quick visit, but enlightening all the same. Death Valley is a harsh environment during the summer, but I can see how it would be a neat place to visit in winter, when the temperatures are milder. Returning for a stay at the Inn at Furnace Creek is not out of the question.
National park #8 – Done and done!