How to Visit Death Valley NP: Everything You Need to Know

Why Visit Death Valley

Visiting Death Valley National Park offers a range of unique and compelling experiences.

Diverse Landscapes

Photographic Opportunities

Wildlife and Flora


Hiking and Outdoor Activities

Extreme Climate and Geography

Death Valley National Park Visitor Center & Fees

The entrance fee for Death Valley is $30 per vehicle for a 7-day pass. Motorcycles are $25 and people traveling on foot (who does that in Death Valley?) or bike (ditto!) are $15. An annual pass to Death Valley is $55.

The Best Time to Visit Death Valley National Park

For wildflowers: The very best month to visit Death Valley is in April and if you’re lucky, the wildflowers will be in bloom. You can keep an eye on the Park’s website for a wildflower watch. – For warm days and cool nights: March-April and October-November have great weather for your Death Valley visit. Average highs are are 80-90 and lows are 55-65. – For fewer crowds: January is the quietest month for visitation, with half of what April gets. The stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas are also quiet times for both Death Valley and nearby(ish) Joshua Tree National Park.

Top Things to Do in Death Valley

Mesquite Dunes at Dawn or Dusk

To fully appreciate Death Valley's splendor, rise early for a pre-dawn journey to the Mesquite dunes, just a short 15-minute drive from Stovepipe Wells. A brief hike into these dunes rewards you with the stunning sight of warm light illuminating the orange sands, an ideal setting for an early morning photo session. Despite the early hour and lackluster motel coffee, this experience is well worth the effort.

Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin, stretching over nearly 200 square miles, is Death Valley's expansive salt flat and the lowest point in the U.S. at -282 feet.  It earned its name when a mule refused to drink its salty water.  Best viewed at dusk with the sun setting over Telescope Peak, it's a short 20-minute trip from Furnace Creek. Aim to arrive early, as parking is limited.

Artist’s Palette Drive

Situated in Badwater Basin, the Artist's Palette drive offers a stunning nine-mile journey through a geological rainbow, making it a perfect addition to your Golden Canyon hike or Badwater Basin visit.  While a quick drive-through provides a glimpse of the vibrant landscape, stopping at various pull-outs along the way enhances the experience.  For a closer look at the vivid rock formations, consider stepping out for a hike, especially at the second pullout, which offers excellent access to the colorful side canyons.

Zabriskie Point at Dawn

A dawn visit to Zabriskie Point is a highlight of any Death Valley adventure. This spot features striking sandstone formations set against the backdrop of the Panamint Mountains.  The early morning sun bathes the mountains in a pink hue, which becomes even more spectacular as the sun rises higher, casting dramatic shadows over the canyon.