Hikes in Death Valley
Death Valley hikes are among the best in the United States! At 3,422,024 acres, the wilderness area is the largest American National Park outside of Alaska and possesses an abundance of hikes for various ability levels. Traversing mystic sand dunes, deep canyons, vast valleys, and imposing mountains, the diversity in Death Valley National Park's terrain is incredible. Whether you are a beginner or a seasoned pro, Death Valley National Park's variety in topography ensures that a route exists for you to fall in love with!
As the options for hikes within Death Valley National Park are so numerous, we have put together the following list of some of our favorite routes. Just remember, this is but a taste of all that this famous American wilderness area has to offer!
The 10 Greatest Hikes in Death Valley National Park
- Badwater Basin Salt Flats Trail - A short, flat and family-friendly route within Death Valley National Park, the Badwater Basin Salt Flats Trail takes you onto picturesque salt flats that are humbling in their vastness.
- Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Trail - Leading you through rolling sand dunes, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Trail is a family-oriented route that is both fun and scenic.
- Ubehebe Crater Trail - Traversing the edge of a large and visually striking volcanic crater, the Ubehebe Crater Trail is stunning, and the Ubehebe Crater itself is perhaps the most incredible geological formation within Death Valley National Park - and that's saying a lot!
- Telescope Peak Trail - The Telescope Peak Trail summits the largest mountain in the extensive wilderness area - this is a longer, more challenging route than many found within Death Valley National Park.
- Harmony Box Works - Appropriate for all skill levels and families with young children, the Harmony Box Works route takes you through an abandoned facility once used to mine borax. Educational plaques can be found throughout the walk, informing you of the history of resource extraction within the region
- Darwin Falls Trail via Old Toll Road - A unique trail compared to most routes found within Death Valley National Park, the Darwin Falls Trail via Old Toll Road route ends at a charming oasis surrounded by desert greenery.
- Dante’s View Trail - This short, family-oriented trail leads you to a vista that many consider the best in Death Valley National Park.Here, you can take in beautiful panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.
- Desolation Canyon Trail - Traversing a deep and imposing canyon, the Desolation Canyon Trail is a moderately difficult hike ideal for families with older children and beginner hikers seeking more of a challenge.
- Salt Creek Interpretive Trail - Being both wheelchair and stroller accessible, the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail is perhaps the most accessible within Death Valley National Park. This short route is entirely on a boardwalk that travels alongside a quaint creekbed.
- Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral - Taking you through deep canyons and picturesque hillsides, the Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral route is moderately difficult within Death Valley National Park. However, the hike ends at the stunning geological formation known as Red Cathedral.
When Is The Best Time To Hike In Death Valley National Park?
As Death Valley National Park is within the arid environment of the Mojave Desert, it can become unbearably hot throughout the summer months. Therefore, we recommended hiking in Death Valley National Park from October to early May to avoid the sweltering heat and the burn of the relentless desert sun. Temperatures at this time of year are cooler and more manageable.
Other Outdoor Activities In Death Valley National Park
Death Valley National Park has no shortage of outdoor activities to enjoy throughout its massive area. Along with its extensive hiking network, the park boasts nearly 1,000 miles of paved and dirt roads for scenic and off-road driving. The region’s unique geology also made it popular with rock climbers in recent years, as the topography lends itself well to the activity. The same topography that entices rock climbers brings cyclists to the Park, who come to road and mountain bike. In addition to the many daytime activities that can be enjoyed, Death Valley National Park is also a renowned stargazing location, as the Park's remoteness ensures little to no light pollution.
Death Valley Adventure Tours
Depending on what you want to do, consider a guided tour or one planned by a professional! If interested, you can take a look at adventure tours in Death Valley.
Frequently Asked Questions About Death Valley National Park
Is Death Valley National Park safe?
While Death Valley is safe for visitation, you must be prepared for the conditions. Do not deviate from paved roads while driving, and ensure that you bring lots of water and sun protection with you.
Do Humans live in Death Valley?
Just over 300 people are full-time residents of Death Valley!
Does Death Valley have an entrance fee?
Death Valley does have an entrance fee that varies depending on what vehicle or mode of transportation you are using. The rate is $20 for noncommercial vehicles (cars, vans, and trucks) and $10 for those traveling by foot, bicycle, or motorcycle. Once purchased, you are permitted to re-enter the park as many times as you would like for the next seven days.
Can you stay overnight in Death Valley?
Yes! Along with a variety of campgrounds, the park also possesses three hotels. The Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel is located in Stovepipe Wells, while The Inn at Death Valley and The Ranch at Death Valley are located at Furnace Creek.
Are there mosquitoes in Death Valley?
Owing to the harsh and dry desert climate, Death Valley National Park is mosquito-free!
Are dogs allowed in Death Valley?
While dogs are permitted in any developed area, they are banned from Death Valley National Park trails or anywhere within its wilderness.
Can you have a campfire in Death Valley?
Campfires are only permitted within provided fire pits at designated Death Valley National Park campsites. Within the backcountry, campfires are not permitted at any time of the year.
Find Other Great Hiking Regions in California
Best Hikes in Death Valley
Badwater Basin Salt Flats Trail
The Badwater Basin Salt Flats Trail is a stunning route in Death Valley National Park. Short, flat and family-friendly, the route takes you onto arid salt flats that are both picturesque and humbling in their sheer vastness. The Badwater Basin Salt Flats Trail is simply a must do when visiting Death Valley National Park.
Dante’s View Trail
Dante’s View Trail is a family-friendly route that is neither too long or physically demanding. The route leads you to an incredible lookout point that boasts jaw dropping panoramic views of the surrounding Death Valley National Park Landscape. Take your time, bring the family, and enjoy all that Dante’s View Trail has to offer
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Trail
A fun hike with scenic views of the surrounding landscape, the Mesquite Flat and Sand Dunes Trail is a must do when visiting Death Valley National Park. Leading you through rolling sand dunes, the route is both fairly short, and lacks any serious elevation fluctuation. The Mesquite Flat and Sand Dunes Trail is therefore a perfect route for the entire family to enjoy.
Little Hebe Trail
The Little Hebe Trail is a family-friendly route that takes you alongside two volcanic craters in Death Valley National Park. The trail travels adjacent to the large Ubehebe crater - providing magnificent views as it goes - before delivering you to the smaller, but more charming Little Hebe Crater.
Ubehebe Crater Trail
The Ubehebe Crater Trail is a stunning route within Death Valley National Park. The route circles the large and visually striking Ubehebe Crater, offering incredible views of the impressive volcanic geological formation. For those willing to put the time and effort in, a trail to the bottom of the crater also exists.
Boasting incredible views of the surrounding Death Valley National Park landscape, Zabriskie Point is an excellent route choice for those who want to enjoy amazing scenery without having to exert themselves too much. A short and relatively flat route, the Zabriskie Point path is both stroller and wheelchair accessible.
Darwin Falls Trail via Old Toll Road
Death Valley National Park is among the hottest and driest places on the planet - making the Darwin Falls Trail via Old Toll Road route that much more impressive. Ending at a stunning oasis deep within the park, the route is spectacular simply because of how contrasting its scenery is in comparison to the arid desert environment characteristic of the majority of Death Valley National Park.
Telescope Peak Trail
The Telescope Peak Trail is a longer route that possesses a fair amount of elevation fluctuation, and is therefore suitable only for more experienced hikers. For those willing to put in the work, the route brings you to the summit of Telescope Mountain where panoramic views of the surrounding region will take your breath away.
Desolation Canyon Trail
The Desolation Canyon Trail traverses an incredible canyon that is as barren as it is beautiful. A moderately difficult route, the Desolation Canyon Trail is best suited for families with older children and those looking for a more casual hiking experience.
Willow Canyon Trail
A canyon lovers hike, the WIllow Canyon Trail has lots to offer. Rated as moderate due to its length and relatively large elevation incline, the WIllow Canyon Trail is an ideal route for the intermediate hiker. Boasting a number of small waterfalls - made even more impressive considering the harsh desert environment - the route should definitely be on your Death Valley National Park hiking list!
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