The names are ominous. Death Valley. Badwater. Yet there's striking beauty. And opportunity for great pleasure. The rippling sand dunes. Colorful mountains. Plants and animals thriving amid topographic extremes. Now you're one of them. Savoring the views. Tackling the rides. And basking in the sun. With nothing but good omens in sight.
1 Bike across the giant Salt Playa to the lowest point in the United States and see if you feel any different at 282 feet below sea level | Desert illusions of water might just mesmerize you | Kick back at the Inn at Furnace Creek, a natural oasis where 50 freshwater springs provide water for drinking, showers, irrigation and even the swimming pool.
2 Have a look around the Death Valley National Park Visitor Center to learn about the natural wonders you'll experience during your trip | Delight in the peacefulness of the desert as you set off, marveling at sights both grand and intimate—from immense sand dunes to salt-tolerant pickleweed | Walk into the dunes and feel the vastness of the park.
3 ay a visit to the ghost town of Rhyolite, a once-prosperous town site teeming with prospectors | Bike through Daylight Pass | Cycle down the valley with views of the Panamint Mountains and sand dunes in the distance.
4 Ascend to Zabriskie Point, the park's most celebrated vista | Take in the badlands' yellow sandstone and ancient lava flows in the Black Mountains to the south | Hike through out-of-this-world rock formations resembling Neapolitan ice cream | Explore Golden Canyon, a slot canyon that you may recognize from the original Star Wars films.