A Place of Extremes
I’ll make this a brief blog on a BIG Park, the biggest in fact. Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48. It is also the hottest and driest park in the US. At 282’ below sea level, it is the second lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, a unique place for sure. We also caught the tail end of the Super Bloom, where all the wild flowers blossom after the spring rains. I’ll be honest, the flowers didn’t do much for me so I feel I took them for granted.
Because of its size, and that 95% of it is wilderness (meaning you can only hike/backpack into it) Death Valley is very limiting in many ways. It’s more of a driving park than anything. You drive to this location, take some pictures, and then drive to the next. It’s so big, so hot, so barren, it’s so uninviting to explore by foot. We did do some great hikes, some of the only hikes, and they are well worth it.
Death Valley is such a strange place. Right in the middle of it you have this oasis, where most of the campgrounds are, a general store, restaurant, and lodging are located. There is also a swimming pool! The only swimming we’ve seen inside a National Park. Did I mention this is the hottest and driest place in the United States.
We camped in the cheap campground which is basically a huge dirt parking lot full of RV’s running their generators. At the 9PM quiet time, they all shut off and there is a round of applause from the more quiet campers and you can actually pretend you’re inside a National Park rather than a construction site.
But on a more positive note, there are some great dramatic views to be had. We both loved the salt formations in Badwater Basin and the Devils Garden. Also there is some great coloring in the rocks. Alexis and I spent a fun morning playing in the sand dunes as well.
Did I like Death Valley…yes. Would I go back…I don’t think I would, at least not for a while. There are certainly other parts of the Park we missed but we were getting tired of all the driving required.