The Death Valley National Park is one of the largest national parks of USA. The park is mainly located in southwestern California but a small region of it also extends to Nevada’s Bullfrog Hills. It is the hottest and driest region of North America that gets scanty rainfall—less than two inches—throughout the year. The temperature also reaches a record high of 134 degrees Fahrenheit. The park is at the lowest altitude of the continent which is about 282 ft below sea level. With an area of 13,650.30 km2, about 91% region of the Death Valley National Park has been declared as wilderness area.
Death Valley National Park started attracting tourists in 1920s after a lot of books, TV shows, and radio programs made it a subject of discussion. Soon, people built resorts around the area which made the region even more popular among tourists. The government declared the Death Valley National Monument in 1933 while it was designated as a national park in the year 1994.
The park has a diverse landscape of sand dunes, badlands, canyons, salt-flats, mountains, etc. It is also home to myriad species of plants and animals that adapted to the desert environment over time. The wildlife at the Death Valley mostly comprises of bighorn sheep, coyote, bobcat, ring-tailed cat, kangaroo rat, etc. The Death Valley pupfish is an ancient survivor from wetter times in this region. UNESCO made Death Valley a main feature of its Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve in 1984.
Despite the difficult and extreme conditions of this region, the Death Valley National Park receives approximately a million visitors every year. The environment of the area has much to do with its geological formations. The valley has some of the oldest rocks that are at least 1.7 billion years old. The region has a lot of sedimentary deposits from the ancient, warm, and narrow seas. The rock art and artifacts in the Death Valley suggest the presence of ancient humans dating back at least 9000 years old.
The main visitor center of the Death Valley is the Furnace Creek that is located in the central region of the park. Another visitor center is at Beatty,Nevada, outside the eastern part of the park. The visitor center has regular exhibits on geology and history, allowing visitors to learn a thing or two on their trip to the park.
Apart from scenic landscapes and rich history, Death Valley was once used as a mining site as well for many decades. It was mined for different minerals like gold, silver, copper, zinc, tungsten, lead, borax, etc. The last mining operation was Billie Mine, which didn’t stop until the year 2005.
The Death Valley National Park has also a number of attractions and it offers access to the wonders of nature. Most of the top attractions of the park are not located at too much distance from each other which makes it easier for visitors to visit them in over two days. Regardless of your plans for the trip, an overnight stay at the Death Valley National Park is worth spending for stargazing and watching the beautiful sand dunes in the moonlight.
National parks allow countless people to appreciate beautiful landscapes, diverse wildlife, and natural ecosystems— all while preserving the natural beauty of the region. It helps protect unique natural landscapes and gain economic and social benefits through tourism in the region. National parks are a source of entertainment for visitors regardless of their age and offer a majestic experience for a vacation. These areas are included in this special category to protect and preserve the richness of flora and fauna in the parks. They offer an educational experience for people with scientific, geological, and historical interests.
One of many US national parks is the Death Valley National Park located in California and some part of eastern Nevada. With a vast and diverse area of natural beauty, Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous US. It is also the hottest and driest region located at the lowest altitude of 282 ft below sea level. There are main two valleys in the park: the Death Valley and the Panamint Valley. The natural formation of both of these valleys occurred within the last few million years and both are also surrounded by mountain ranges on the north and south. The Badwater Basin in the Death Valley at 282 ft below the sea level is the 2nd lowest depression in the Western Hemisphere.
Death Valley National Park has a hot desert climate. Due to insufficient rainfall and lack of surface water, it is one of the driest places in North America. Various tabulations of the highest daily temperatures in the country leave out Death Valley due to its frequently high temperatures. The usual summer temperature is 120 degrees Fahrenheit while the night time temperature in winters drops below the freezing point. That being said, July is the hottest month and December is the coldest month in the region.
The park has two visitor centers; Furnace Creek and Scotty's Castle Visitor Centers. In October, 2015, flash flooding caused a lot of damage to the area of the Scotty’s Castle Visitor Center. Since then, the visitor center has been closed until further notice. Furnace Creek is the main visitor center and the main source of information about the park for the visitors. It features a 20 minute park film every day all through the day. In winter, park rangers organize walks and presentations on the park’s natural and cultural history.
The Death Valley National Park is famously known for its extremes. But despite the hot and dry environment, one cannot help getting mesmerized by the magnificence and raw natural beauty of the vast landscape.