TRIP IDEA

Death Valley "Must See" Spots in 1-3 hours

Death Valley National Park

A vast salt flat stretches into the horizon with a cloudy sunset sky.
Topic(s) Geology, Mineral Deposits, Canyons and Canyonlands, Rock Landscapes and Features, Trails, Photography, Mountains, Night Sky, Scenic Views, Roads, Routes and Highways, Ancient Seas, Foothills, Plains and Valleys, Lakes
Activities Scenic Driving, Hiking, Off-Trail Permitted Hiking
Parks Death Valley National Park

Eroded badland hills in the morning sunrise with a prominent point.
Manly Beacon, seen from Zabriskie Point at sunrise.

NPS/Hoerner

First visit to Death Valley? Only have a few hours? Starting your visit at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, there are a few do-not-miss sights before you start your drive out of the park.

How to get there: From the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, travel south on Highway 190, for about one mile, before the turn for Badwater Road. Visting the "must sees" on Badwater Road, with short stops, will take 1 - 1.5 hours before you return to Highway 190.

Restrooms: Golden Canyon parking area, Artists Palette, and Badwater Basin parking area.

Food/Water: No food or water available.

Pets: Pets are only permitted in developed areas and along roads. If you wish to do any hiking or exploring at these stops, you will NOT be able to bring your pet.

  • Death Valley National Park

    Visit Badwater Basin

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Off-Trail Permitted Hiking
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Badwater Basin
    • Duration: 1–2 Hours
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Fall
    An expansive salt flat with distant desert mountains and a pink sky sunset.

    Badwater Basin is the lowest elevation in North America at - 282 feet (- 86 m) below sea level. A visit to this otherworldly salt flat will provide you with a unique experience and a landscape that appears to stretch on forever. A short 1/4 mile (400 m) hike will you bring you to the polygon salt formations that Death Valley is famous for, or in the summer months, the view can be enjoyed from the parking area.

    View Details
  • Death Valley National Park

    Tour Artists Drive

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Scenic Driving
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Artists Drive
    • Duration: 45–60 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
    A vehicle drives along a single lane road through colorful, eroded hills.

    Enjoy a scenic drive through a geologic rainbow! Artists Drive is a one-way, nine mile drive that passes through eroded, colorful desert hills. A stop at Artists Palette along the way, either from the car window or a short walk, will provide the most colorful views. Enjoy geology and scenic vistas along this trip!

    View Details
  • Death Valley National Park

    Check Out Devils Golf Course

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Scenic Driving
    • Pets: No
    Sharp, eroded salt formations stretch into the background.

    An immense area of rock salt eroded by wind and rain into jagged spires. So incredibly serrated that "only the devil could play golf on such rough links". Listen carefully and you'll hear sounds like tiny pops and pings. Bend your ear to the ground and the sound grows louder. The sound is literally billions of tiny salt crystals bursting apart as they expand and contract in the heat.

    View Details
  • Death Valley National Park

    Hike Golden Canyon

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Hiking
    • Pets: No
    • Location: Golden Canyon parking area
    • Duration: 5–180 Minutes
    • Season: Winter, Spring, Fall

    A labyrinth landscape of golden colored hills and winding narrow canyons create hiking options ranging from easy strolls to strenuous adventures. The most popular routes can be combined with one another for longer adventures, up about 4.5 miles. Regardless which adventure is right for you, take the map and route description with you.

    View Details
  • Death Valley National Park

    Visit Zabriskie Point

    • Activity Fee: No (Entrance fees may apply)
    • Reservations: No
    • Activity: Scenic Driving
    • Pets: No
    • Time of Day: Dawn
    Highly eroded badlands at sunrise, with a distinct point in the distance.

    The most famous viewpoint in the park. Overlooking the golden colored badlands of the Furnace Creek formation, visitors can simply enjoy the view or elect to start the hike from the point around Badlands Loop. Connector trails lead to Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and Red Cathedral. The point is most popular at sunrise and sunset.

    View Details

Last updated: May 12, 2018