Death Valley National Park: Feeling the heat

I’m trying hard to think what to write about Death Valley National Park, but all that is springing to mind right now is: hot, hot, HOT!

This was the temperature we reached in our car during our US road trip:

Death Valley National Park

That’s 53.3C for us Brits. So you get the picture.

Death Valley’s claim to fame is that it is the hottest, driest and lowest place in North America.

Death Valley National Park

With 3.4 million acres of desert and mountains there is so much to do and explore, ranging from canyons to salt flats – there’s even a marathon through it in February. But in the middle of summer you really don’t want to leave your car!

Death Valley National Park

When we did venture out we were hit by not only the intense heat, but also a strong, sandy wind – which gave you the feeling of being inside a giant oven.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

There wasn’t much relief inside the car either, as signs along the road advised us to switch off our air-conditioning so that the engine didn’t overheat.

But despite the heat, Death Valley really is a beautiful place. Huge areas of desert stretch toward towering mountains in the distance. In the below-sea-level basin the ground is cracked and shrubs cling to the side of sand dunes. But as you drive higher into the mountains, where the air is cooler, pockets of green appear and the views are incredible.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

In the Stovepipe Wells visitor centre we were greeted by a very enthusiastic assistant (I guess he doesn’t see many people pass through in the height of summer) who gave us a good insight into what it is like to live in the middle of the desert in the summer.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

He advised us to come back in the winter to do some trekking and I’d love to do that one day, to see how different it is – although I think the marathon can wait!

Have you visited Death Valley National Park? What did you do there?

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8 responses to “Death Valley National Park: Feeling the heat

  1. Way too hot but it looks so pretty! I’d just brave the heat for all of 2 seconds like you did and jump out to get a few pics!

  2. I visited Death Valley on a similar road trip to yours, but it was March so therefore not nearly as hot, you know, only a ‘chilly’ 95 degrees. I can’t imagine 125! We drove around to Devils Playground, Badwater, etc. for silly photo ops and while Death Valley is incredibly photogenic and unique, I was ready to return to civilization after a few hours. I knew someone who was a park ranger there for a short stint and I give her mega props because I can’t imagine more than just a quick drive through.

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