I love Death Valley. I list my fave spots there. What are yours?

Death Valley holds quite the fascination for me. I’ve only visited it twice: First back in the early 70’s as a 16 year old with my parents. Ready to be bored and disdainful about the visit, instead I was absolutely fascinated. Subsequently I read about it, studied maps, travelled it on Google Earth, etc. until my wife and I visited it a few years ago and stayed at week at the motel in Stovetop Wells.

Fave places in/around DV, in random order:

  • Dante’s View is absolutely stunning to me. Seeing the salt flats laid out over a mile below us, Mt. Telescope on the other side a mile above us, and the desert valley stretching out north and south was just amazing.

  • Darwin Falls. The hike there is pleasant enough, but not really wondrous, until one reaches the end. We’d no idea what the end looked like before reaching it, so it was even more delightful. The Mrs. and I had it all to ourselves for over 40 minutes. A perfect moment.

  • Ubehebe Crater. Hiking around Little Ube and the main crater was grand. The Mrs. and I stopped and just stared around us every 50 feet or so, we couldn’t get enough of the beauty. We encountered no other hikers once we started on the loop around.

  • Zabriskie Point/Golden Canyon. The geologic features of this area, so different from the other areas I’d visited, also caught my attention. Seeing them from above at the Point really helped me gestalt it; strolling in those Golden Canyons was a great way to get up close and personal

  • Artist’s Palette. Such colors! I only saw it on my first trip, as the road was closed for repairs in my most recent trip. I must return to see it again

  • Devil’s Golf Course. The Mrs and I walked the length of the road/trail, into the midst of it. Stark, fascinating landscape that I’d NOT want to be stuck in.

  • Rhyolite, the ghost town right outside the park, just west of Beatty, NV. Fascinating old buildings, & an amazing outdoor museum/sculpture garden. Beatty was nice too, with an interesting museum and a HUGE candy store.

Nice spots I want to see again

  • Scotty’s Castle. I saw it in the '70’s, but it was closed due to flood damage last trip.

  • Salt Creek. Seeing open water in the deep desert was amazing, as was seeing the pupfish. Closed last visit due to rains damaging the trail

  • Harmony Borax mines. Very interesting to learn what life was like working the mines. Chinese miners protested being given Sundays off from work as there was nothing for them to do that day. They wanted to make more money working that day, then get the hell out of DV as soon as they could.

  • Other great spots included Mosaic Canyon, Titus Canyon, Devil’s Cornfield, the Dunes at Stovepipe Wells, along with the cafe in the Timbisha Shoshone village which had some nice fry bread.

Places I’ve not seen there yet but really want to:

  • Teakettle Junction

  • The Racetrack

  • Saratoga Spring

  • The communities of Darwin (pop. 43) and Ballarat (pop. 1)

  • Mining sites like Keane and Thorndike

Anyone else into Death Valley? What spots/sites/activities do you recommend?

Never been there. Wasn’t aware there was much to see. What time of year do you recommend going there?

I’ve been in April (decades ago) and February. Both were quite nice, weatherwise. Needed a jacket at night in February.

Love Death Valley. I’ve been many times and had some great adventures. I have a raised relief map and a couple of photos from Death Valley on display in my living room.

One of the greatest hikes of my life was to the top of Telescope Peak. I’ve played catch with a frisbee at the bottom of Ubehebe Crater under a full moon. I rode my bike from Furnace Creek to Stovepipe Wells at night, again under a full moon–almost got smacked in the face by an owl. I’ve had each of the three hotel pools in the valley to myself at various times. Had a picnic lunch inside one of the charcoal kilns in Wildrose Canyon…I could go on, but you get the idea.

Please, feel free to go on. What are your favorite places there, beyond those you’ve mentioned? At the very least, I will love learning about what other things you enjoy there.

And what time of year were you there?

see my 2nd post in this thread for that info

I had never heard of Ubehebe Crater, let alone that it’s an active volcano that last erupted about 2,000 years ago! Cool.

Ubehebe’s eruptions are phreatic. Magma under the volcano heats water in the soil, causing a steam explosion. Liquid lava isn’t involved normally.

It’s amazing what steam can do to a landscape, isn’t it?

Never been to Yellowstone, but they have plenty of mud volcanoes there, too.

My late fiancé and I went on short vacations to Death Valley several times about 20 years ago - I was a sales rep then and frequently had to go to Las Vegas to work trade shows. We’d always take three or four extra days and spend some time in Death Valley.

I’m not a nature girl, that was his thing. I did love driving around and looking at all the natural attractions - I remember some of the ones mentioned here. I remember us stopping at Badwater, walking out to the actual lowest geographical point in the country, and making out. But as to my favorite spots, the most favorite of all, possibly my most favorite spot in the country, is

The Furnace Creek Inn
The Furnace Creek Inn ( apparently it’s been rebranded as The Inn at Death Valley since I last stayed there ) is a 1920’s era historic luxury hotel in the heart of Death Valley, built to cater to the Hollywood movie stars of its day.

It’s a beautiful place, with gourmet cuisine and a spring feed pool with Art Deco mosaics and an actual oasis. The oasis was gorgeously romantic at night. The pool itself was my favorite place, the restaurant would serve you lunch poolside and they had giant outdoor fireplaces that took the chill off at night.

And, even though I’m not a big sightseeing person, I’ve always loved touring historic homes. And one of my favorite historic homes is
Scotty’s Castle - which is worth seeing just because of the backstory, an unlikely tale in which a staid banker and the con artist that tried to swindle him became lifelong friends. The house belonged to the banker, Albert Johnson, but the swindler Walter Scott (Scotty) told everyone it was his, and Johnson played along.

It also has some awesome vintage engineering if you are into such things. Unfortunately, it seems like it was damaged in a flood and currently isn’t open to the public.

And my fiancé liked to golf here while I was lounging by the pool. Apparently golf balls behave differently below sea level, or something. I’m pretty sure he was imagining it.

ETA: There is very small outpost with, I believe a motel and general store, at Stovepipe Wells. My fiancé and I had this thing we used to do when we were at the restaurant or anywhere where other guests were in eavesdropping range. We’d start talking about Stovepipe Wells like it was a some sort of bustling metropolis, about how we going to the Applebee’s or McDonalds or Hard Rock Cafe -located there.
I don’t think we ever tricked anyone into getting in their car and heading there, but maybe we did.

Ubehebe Crater:


I’m not seeing that this is really an arts topic. Moving to IMHO.

I went in 1969, when I’ve was five. We were there for Christmas and I was very concerned that Santa wouldn’t be able to find us. My parents put lights on a tumbleweed and Santa brought me finger paints.

I have clear memories of Ubehebe Crater and of the salt flats. Despite (or because of?) being told not to, I touched one of the salt crenelations and got a pretty bad cut. I know we went to Scotty’s Castle, but until it came up in this thread, I’d forgotten about it.

Severely beautiful. I remember the temperature swings being pretty extreme in the winter.

I went last March and had a great time. My favorite spots were Badwater Basin (it’s cliche, but I really just loved the salt) and Golden Canyon. The scenery everywhere is overwhelmingly gorgeous.

I took a campervan, which was half of a good idea. (great for covid because I didn’t have to worry about other people. Portable quarantine). But there were a lot of places that I couldn’t go because I wasn’t comfortable driving a large van with low clearance and a high center of gravity on some of the roads and/or the rental agreement didn’t allow it.* If I went back, I’d take a car suited to the terrain.

*if everything went right, no big deal. If something went wrong, I’d be out the cost of a campervan and that was not in my vacation budget.

The weirdest experience was at Wildrose campground listening to the braying of feral burros silhouetted against the sunset which was something I wasn’t expecting.

I’ve been just once - found it fascinating and would gladly return any time. (Okay, make that any time from October through April - summer temps would not appeal to me.)

I recently came across this long and interesting account of the “Death Valley Germans” - a German man, his girlfriend and two kids who disappeared in 1996. By dint of uncommon persistence by two amateur searchers the mystery of their disappearance was solved in 2009.

When next I’m there I plan to visit some of the locations that figured in this saga.

I love Death Valley and especially this Inn. Favorite place? The small bar outside the main dining room. I mean, of course there’s great hiking and plenty of scenic wonder to be had, but I didn’t expect that tiny pocket of vintage luxury.

I love DVNP. It’s an 8-hr, 500 mile drive from home so I’ve been a couple of times. My then-girlfriend (now-wife) had never been camping before so I took her there for her first camping experience. We had a blast.

The road out to the Racetrack past Ubehebe Crater and Teakettle Junction was extremely rough - a teeth clattering rough ride. Being there for the super bloom in 2016 was great. And there’s many parts of it that I still need to visit.

I read this account years ago. Chilling. The desert is a harsh environment and you can quickly die out there.

I meant that I, too, wanted @Blondebear to go on and say what time of year he was there.