Best Death Valley Attractions

August 30, 2015

With autumn approaching, it’s the best time to visit the Death Valley attractions, where the temperatures can be extreme, to say the least. The highest temperature in the entire world was recorded at Furnace Creek at 134°F in 1913.   Even autumn can see very warm temperatures, but as long as you are prepared, Death Valley National Park is a unique and fun destination.

Covering nearly 3.4 million acres, Death Valley is the largest national park in the United States. The park is located in the states of California and Nevada, east of the Sierra Nevada.

Dante’s View

death valley attractions

At more than 5000 ft. above the valley floor, the vista at Dante’s View is considered to be the most stunning of the Death Valley attractions. There is a ridge along the top, which combined with the cooler temperatures and breeze at that height, as well as the panoramic 110-mile-long view, make it a popular location for short walks and photo ops of the Badwater Basin far below.

Artist’s Drive

death valley attractions

This is a 9-mile, one-way drive, dipping, curving, and looping through ravines and colorful craggy volcanic hills. The section of Artist’s Palette in Death Valley is not to be missed from late afternoon to dusk when the light splashes off of the mineral hills, making them appear iridescent yellow, green, coral, and blue.

death valley attractions

Zabriskie Point


The word to describe Zabriskie Point at sunset… spectacular. A bit windy, but worth the short uphill walk, the view is otherworldly as you look down on the vibrant labyrinth of badlands.  It’s one of the most visited Death Valley attractions.


Zabriskie Point will always have a special place in my heart. Just four months after my horrible, near-death South African car crash, this was my first foray into traveling again. To get to the viewpoint would take a ¼ mile walk to the crest, which may not seem like much, but with my newly-healed pelvic fractures and steel plates holding my left femur together, it looked daunting from my perspective. But I was not going to miss this famous viewpoint! So with my crutch in hand, I slowly and carefully began the ascent, stopping at a rest bench (bless you, park rangers!) at the halfway mark. I am nothing if not tenacious, and by Job, I did it! One huge milestone and an almost immeasurable sense of accomplishment and future motivator.

Badwater Basin


At 282 feet below sea level, is one of the most interesting Death Valley attractions. The shimmering basin is the lowest point, not just in Death Valley, but in all of North America. With the Black Mountains in the background, you can walk out on the bone-dry, slippery salt flats. In the winter, the flats become a temporary pond that is four times saltier than the ocean.

Ubehebe Crater


Looking down from the rim of this amazing site, it’s hard to believe it was created just 2000 years ago by a loud volcanic steam explosion. The 600-foot-deep crater was what remained. There are three major trails at the crater. Winds at the rim of the crater can be strong with gusts above 50 mph.

Scotty’s Castle


In the northern area of Death Valley, just a short drive from Death Valley National Park is Scotty’s Castle. “Death Valley Scotty” was a con man who claimed he built the Mission Revival and Spanish Colonial Revival style villa from gold from his mine. However, it was nothing more than an elaborate but clever hoax. The estate belonged to wealthy friends, and he used it to scam unwitting investors into giving him money for his gold prospecting scheme.

Safety Measures

Death Valley is an amazingly beautiful place, worthy of a weekend of auto touring and/or hiking. Be sure to take plenty of water – perspiration on a 110°F day will wick away about one liter of water per hour – even more, if you’re hiking. Lightweight, protective clothing, sunglasses, and hats are also key to health and comfort.

You may also be interested in:

After the Crash: Celebrating Life in Death Valley

About the Author

Patti MorrowPatti Morrow is a freelance travel writer and founder of the award-winning international blog Luggage and Lipstick and southern travel blog Gone to Carolinas. TripAdvisor called her one of “20 Baby Boomer Travel Bloggers Having More Fun Than Millennials” and she was named one of the “Top 35 Travel Blogs” in the world.

She is also the star of the upcoming TV series “Destination Takeover” which is scheduled to premiere in the new few months.

Patti is the author of the book “Girls Go Solo: Tips for Women Traveling Alone,” and has over 150 bylines in 40 print and online publications, including The Huffington Post, International Living Magazine, Washington Post Sunday Travel, Travel Girl, Travel Play Live Magazine, and Ladies Home Journal.  She has traveled extensively through six continents looking for fabulous destinations, exotic beaches, and adventure activities for her Baby Boomer tribe.


  1. Comment by The GypsyNesters

    The GypsyNesters Reply October 26, 2015 at 1:24 am

    Wow, it is so barren and yet so beautiful! Great photos, really makes us want to see it for ourselves someday.

  2. Comment by Paula McInerney

    Paula McInerney Reply October 26, 2015 at 3:34 am

    You are a bright light in a sparse but beautiful landscape. Death Valley looks quite eerie.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Some parts of Death Valley definitely has an other-worldly feel to it!

  3. Comment by Rachel

    Rachel Reply October 26, 2015 at 3:59 am

    We stayed in the campground in Death Valley in April. While it was hot but not too hot in the daytime, it dipped below freezing at night. Our water bottles froze! I vividly remember looking out our tent flap one evening in a very strong wind and seeing another tent fly by, with several people chasing after it!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 26, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Wow, that’s windy! I was in Death Valley during the month of September, and it was windy at night but it felt warm and comfy.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 26, 2015 at 4:38 pm

      I loved it too!

  4. Comment by Billie Frank

    Billie Frank Reply October 26, 2015 at 7:48 pm

    We got to Needles a few weeks ago- and I was tempted to go on to Death Valley- would love to see it but our clothing and everything else was hours away so we stayed with Plan A. Zabriskie Point makes me think of the Antonioni movie from the late 60s. Your post made me a bit sorry we didn’t get there- thought it was an unseasonably hot day and we probably would have fried.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 27, 2015 at 6:41 am

      Surprisingly, even though it was September and pretty hot, it was bearable. Plenty of water is a must. And at night, the warm breezes were heavenly!

  5. Comment by Donna Janke

    Donna Janke Reply October 27, 2015 at 12:07 am

    These places in Death Valley certainly look magical. I love the colours in the rocks. Badwater Basin fascinates me – I had no idea you could find a place that far below sea level in the U.S. I want to visit some day.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 27, 2015 at 6:42 am

      You would love it. So many diverse photo ops — even more than I was able to see in two days.

  6. Comment by Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru

    Betsy Wuebker | PassingThru Reply October 27, 2015 at 9:22 pm

    There are so many fascinating aspects to Death Valley. I love the fact that you included Scotty’s Castle among the natural wonders. It’s an amazing place like no other.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 27, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Death Valley had been on my bucket list for a few years. I was so glad to finally go — I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  7. Comment by Jackie Smith

    Jackie Smith Reply October 28, 2015 at 1:30 am

    Love your ‘can do’ attitude !! We have far too many friends who have limited mobility issues that keep them from traveling – loved that you tackled Death Valley with a crutch!!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 28, 2015 at 8:19 am

      Awww, Jackie, that’s so sweet. My incurable wanderlust did wonders to help me through months of PT. Death Valley was my first adventure after the accident, and I had a blast!

  8. Comment by Kay Dougherty

    Kay Dougherty Reply October 28, 2015 at 9:43 pm

    Beautiful photos and good on you for doing it so soon in your recovery!

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 29, 2015 at 8:20 am

      Thanks! Death Valley was a great first foray back into traveling!

  9. Comment by Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel)

    Michele Peterson ( A Taste for Travel) Reply October 29, 2015 at 7:29 am

    Kudos to you for keeping so active after such a horribly serious accident! I probably would have settled for a slow walk around the block but you chose Death Valley – what spirit! Furnace Creek sounds like a place you wouldn’t want to get stranded in.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 29, 2015 at 8:20 am

      I was very excited that I was able to do so much in Death Valley!

  10. Comment by Kristin Henning

    Kristin Henning Reply October 29, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    Lovely photos and so great to hear that this was a landmark destination in more ways than one. We just plain ran out of time on our recent road trip to detour to Death Valley, but your post inspires us to go back for a visit. How many days were you there? You certainly covered a lot of ground.

    • Comment by luggageandlipstick

      luggageandlipstick Reply October 29, 2015 at 12:22 pm

      Just there for two days, Kristin. It was a lot of ground to cover in my somewhat impaired condition, but I was so happy to be traveling again and the scenery so stunning that I barely noticed.

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