Natural Soundscapes

Quiet, by Nature

Death Valley National Park's dry landscape, combined with the geography of the region and its remoteness, make portions of the park some of the most naturally quiet places in the continental United States.

The natural soundscape at the park includes everything from wildlife to wind to the thunderstorms that occasionally occur over the park during an active monsoon season. These natural soundscapes are an important part of the visitor experience and are an essential resource for the survival and reproduction of wildlife.



The Sounds of Death Valley

Click on the interactive map below to learn more about the soundscape of the park in locations such as Badwater Basin, Telescope Peak and Panamint Valley. During this exploration, you will hear the sounds of coyotes singing, wind blowing sand grains, crackling salt flats, and even a waterfall in a desert oasis! You will also discover how noise sources such as vehicles, aircraft, and other human-caused sound, impact the park's natural soundscape.

Note: the points on the map represent locations from two different sound monitoring efforts- not all locations have associated sound recordings.


(Recordings and monitoring site photographs courtsey of Pieter Kaufman).

Protecting the Natural Death Valley Soundscape

Vehicle Noise Carries

Road noise is one of the most prolific sources of sound in NPS units across the country. In the naturally quiet environment of Death Valley, noise from vehicles can spread deep into canyons and wilderness areas far away from the road itself! Illegal off-road driving also adds vehicle noise in areas that are protected from mechanized travel.


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Silent video.

Descriptive Transcript

A rainbow gradient in a circle shape moves slowly down a line representing Badwater road. The road sits under a 3D model of desert mountains.

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18 seconds

This video illustrates how noise from a vehicle driving along Badwater Road can impact the soundscape in the backcountry.


Reducing Road Noise Using Different Types of Pavement

An ongoing study (2016-2023) is being conducted along sections of Badwater Road to determine how different pavement types can reduce the impact of traffic noise from roadways and help protect the park's naturally quiet soundscape.



How You Can Help

When visiting Death Valley, you can help protect the natural sounds of the park by keeping pet and human-created noises such as barking, yelling, amplified sound/loud music, and car honking/idling to a minimum.


Explore Natural Sounds in Other Parks

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    Last updated: November 13, 2022

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    Mailing Address:

    P.O. Box 579
    Death Valley, CA 92328


    760 786-3200

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