The Best Time to Visit Death Valley National Park

best time to visit death valley national park

Are you looking for the best time to visit Death Valley National Park? I’ve got you covered in this complete guide on the best times to visit Death Valley, including temperatures, seasons, crowds, prices, and best hotels to stay in, for an incredible visit!


Where is Death Valley National Park?

The Great Basin and Mojave Deserts in eastern California are home to the incredible Death Valley National Park. It includes portions of Inyo County and San Bernardino County in California and Nye County in Nevada, and is located on the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada mountain range.

It is the largest national park in the United States, covering approximately 3,000 square miles (7,800 square kilometers). The park is about 140 miles (225 km) long, and 5 (8.0 km) to 15 (24 km) miles wide.

The park has a climate that is both hot and cold during the summer and winter. At 282 feet (86 meters) below sea level, the valley floor is the lowest point in North America, and it may become experience extreme temperatures in the summer heat up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit (54 degrees Celsius). There are other tall mountains in the park, the tallest of which being Telescope Peak at nearly 11,000 feet (3,353 meters). Despite the extreme heat at the lower ground levels, it can be right chilly at higher elevations!

Hiking, camping, stargazing, and scenic drives are just some of the many outdoor activities that draw visitors to Death Valley National Park. In addition to its distinctive desert surroundings, the park is home to a wide range of plant and animal life, including the iconic Joshua tree, desert bighorn sheep, and the endangered pupfish.

The park is easily accessible by car from adjacent airports including Los Angeles International Airport and Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. Both U.S. Highway 395 and California State Road 190 provide direct access to the park.

The opportunities for photographers in this park are truly endless!

best time to visit death valley national park

What is the best time of the year to go to Death Valley National Park?

Late autumn (October–November) and early spring (February–April): The best times to visit Death Valley National Park for most travelers would be in the late autumn and early spring. The pleasant weather during this time of year makes it perfect for exploring the outdoors and taking in the sights. Daytime highs are often in the 60s to 80s F (15-30 C), with milder nights and a touch of a breeze.

However, since this is also peak season, accommodation will be more expensive and crowded. Booking hotel rooms in advance is recommended, especially during holidays and weekends during the high season such as spring break. Continue reading below for the best places to stay in Death Valley!

Winter (December through January): If you’re interested in astronomy or night photography, the ideal time to visit Death Valley for you is during the winter months! The Milky Way is frequently visible due to the area’s bright sky and minimal humidity. Around this period, daytime temperatures are often in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit (15-20 degrees Celsius), with cooler evenings and maybe even snow or ice in the higher altitudes! There are fewer crowds than in late autumn and early spring, and hotel rates tend to be more affordable, making it a good time to visit.

Summer (May–September): Death Valley in the summer months is not for everyone due to the severe heat experienced during these hottest months, but if you want to see the desert scenery in all its beauty, it is an excellent time to visit. Around this time of year, daily highs often hover in the 90s to above 100°F (32-38°C), with isolated occurrences of 120°F (49°C) heat. Death Valley is the hottest place imaginable when it experiences those extremes! As a result, substantial time spent outside is restricted to the early morning or the late twilight hours. On the other hand, there are definitely fewer summer visitors and cheaper hotel rates in the summer. Wildflowers at the park’s upper altitudes are also at their peak during this season, which is a gorgeous sight to see!

When you should plan to go to Death Valley mostly depends on what you hope to get out of your trip. Either way, remember to bring lots of water, sunscreen, and desert-appropriate attire no matter when you plan to visit. And if you haven’t yet, make sure you have fantastic travel insurance!

best time to visit death valley national park

What Are the Best Things to See and Do in Death Valley?

You could spend a few days or a few weeks exploring Death Valley National Park and yet not see everything that this amazing park has to offer! Here is a list of my own favorite top attractions in the park:

Explore the sand dunes in Mesquite Flat

The best light for photography is at dawn and dusk, when the park’s most accessible sand dunes are at their best. You can stroll or climb on the dunes and examine their varied shapes and textures up close.

Visit Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin is North America’s lowest point, offering incredible views of the surrounding salt flats. You can stroll out onto the salt flats to snap photographs, but but remember to use extreme caution so as not to disrupt the delicate environment.

Drive the Artist’s Drive Route

Artist’s Drive is a beautiful route that winds through a canyon full of vivid rock formations and interesting geological features.

Hike to Zabriskie Point

One of the greatest hikes in the park, Zabriskie Point offers stunning panoramas of the valley and the surrounding mountains.

See Harmony Borax Factory

If you’re interested in the mining history of the park and the people who lived and worked here, a trip to the Harmony Borax Works Factory is a must.


Explore the night sky at Death Valley, one of the best sites in the world for stargazing thanks to its dark clear skies and lack of artificial light. See the Milky Way in all its splendor by gazing at the sky after dark.

Check out the Canyons

Visit the park’s canyons, such as Golden Canyon, Mosaic Canyon, and Titus Canyon. These are beautiful sights!

Ponder Scotty’s Castle

Take a road trip out to the desert and check out Scotty’s Castle, a historic residence built in the 1920s in the style of Spanish colonial revival.

Drive the Park’s Other Gorgeous Driving Routes

Explore the park via car on one of its many beautiful routes, such as Badwater Road, which winds through the park’s interior, or Panamint Valley Road, which winds through the park’s western region and provides breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.

Anybody interested in nature, history, or just taking in the park’s stunning scenery can find something to their liking at Death Valley National Park! This is an amazing park with so much beauty to explore.

best time to visit death valley national park

What are the Best Photography Spots in Death Valley?

Death Valley National Park is a photographer’s dream, featuring magnificent vistas and unusual geological phenomena to photograph. These are a few of the top photo opportunities you’ll find in the park:

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes: These dunes are a favorite shooting location in the park, especially at sunrise and sunset when the light is soft and the shadows are long, creating drama in the composition.

Badwater Basin: The lowest point in North America, this salt flat presents a distinctive and surreal scene ideal for photography. The salt formations’ patterns and textures allow spectacular compositions.

Zabriskie Point: This lookout point provides sweeping views of the park’s eroding badlands, with vibrant hues and textures that are especially beautiful at sunrise and dusk.

Artist’s Palette: Located in the Black Mountains, this multicolored rock formation offers a range of colors and patterns ideal for abstract or close-up photography.

Ubehebe Crater: Located in the park’s northern region, this volcanic crater offers a distinctive environment with a range of textures and hues.

Dante’s View: This vantage point provides panoramic views of the park, including Badwater Basin and the surrounding mountains. The vista is particularly beautiful during sunrise and dusk when the light is soft and pretty.

The Racetrack: This distant spot is notable for its “sailing stones,” which travel over the surface of the ground, creating tracks in the mud. The playa and its surroundings provide a one-of-a-kind and surreal environment ideal for photography!

These are only a handful of the countless photographic opportunities available at Death Valley National Park, so make sure to pack your camera and enjoy exploring the park’s numerous stunning panoramas and geological marvels.

best time to visit death valley national park


Best Places to Stay in Death Valley National Park

best time to visit death valley national park

The Inn at Death Valley

The Inn at Death Valley is a historic 4-star hotel with a nearby golf course. The Inn features a poolside bar, and a patio. You can choose to get a deep tissue massage, aromatherapy, or reflexology after a refreshing session in the sauna. There is an on-site restaurant, a garden and on-site shops, and the hotel also offers complimentary Internet for visitors to use throughout their stay. There is also a lovely swimming pool with complimentary cabanas. The hotel’s 66 rooms are equipped with standard amenities like air conditioning, free WiFi, safes, and high-definition flat-screen televisions. This is a great hotel option on a visit to Death Valley!

best time to visit death valley national park

The Ranch at Death Valley is one of two hotels that make up The Oasis at Death Valley, a luxury resort within Death Valley National Park. The facility was constructed in the 1930s and has since undergone various modifications to become the beautiful and sophisticated accommodation choice that it is now.

The Ranch in Death Valley offers a variety of accommodation options, such as rooms, casitas, and cabins. The regular rooms are located on the second floor of a two-story structure and have basic facilities like as air conditioning and satellite TV. The casitas are self-contained structures with a private patio or balcony, whilst the cabins are more rustic and include wood-burning stoves.

There are various dining options on the site, including a restaurant, a poolside cafe, and a bar. On-site amenities include a general store, a spring-fed pool, a golf course, and a tennis court.

The Ranch at Death Valley’s location offers a great base for visiting the park’s attractions, such as Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, and the Artist’s Palette. While Death Valley is famed for its gloomy sky, it’s also an excellent place to go stargazing.

Overall, The Ranch at Death Valley provides pleasant lodging and a variety of facilities in a stunning setting within the national park. It’s an excellent choice for people who wish to appreciate the natural beauty of Death Valley while also treating themselves to a little luxury.

best time to visit death valley national park

Stovepipe Wells Village is a campsite and housing option within Death Valley National Park located at the crossroads of many important park roads. This makes it an ideal starting point for exploring the surrounding region!

The resort has a range of accommodation options, including motel-style rooms and cottages. The rooms are simple yet nice, with facilities like air conditioning and satellite television. The cottages are more rustic, with wood-burning fireplaces that are ideal for cool desert nights.

Stovepipe Wells Village also features a campsite and RV park for those looking for more cost-effective accommodation. The campsite provides minimal services such as bathrooms and running water, but the RV park includes complete water, sewage, and electrical hookups.

Stovepipe Wells Village has various dining options, including a restaurant, bar, and general store. The restaurant provides American food and has both indoor and outdoor seating, while the saloon serves a variety of beers and pub food.

There are also various recreational features on the site, such as an outdoor pool, gift store, and fueling station. It’s an excellent location for stargazing because it’s in a reasonably rural region with low light pollution! Its central location and variety of amenities make it a popular choice among park visitors.

best time to visit death valley national park

best time to visit death valley national park

Saddle West Hotel and Casino and RV Park

The Saddle West Hotel and Casino and RV Park is a resort near Pahrump, Nevada, roughly an hour’s drive from Death Valley National Park. A casino, hotel rooms, an RV park, and many food options are available on the grounds.

Saddle West’s hotel rooms are large and comfortable, offering amenities such as flat-screen televisions, refrigerators, and complimentary Wi-Fi. Some accommodations additionally include jacuzzi baths and views of the mountains. The RV park has complete connections, including water, sewage, and power, as well as laundry and shower facilities.

Saddle West Casino offers a variety of gambling opportunities, including slot machines, table games, and sports betting. A bingo room and a race and sports book are also available. There are also various food options on the premises, including a restaurant, a coffee shop, and a sports bar.

An outdoor pool, a fitness facility, and a gift store are all available at Saddle West. During the year, the hotel also holds events and live entertainment.

While the Saddle West Hotel, Casino, and RV Park are not situated within Death Valley National Park, they are a handy hotel choice for visitors who wish to see the region while staying in a nearby town. Pahrump also has a number of additional attractions, such as wineries, golf courses, and outdoor leisure places. This is a great place to stay during your trip to Death Valley!

best time to visit death valley national park


The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pahrump is a lovely hotel also located in Pahrump, Nevada, approximately an hour’s drive from Death Valley National Park. The hotel has a variety of services, such as a continental breakfast, an outdoor pool, and free Wi-Fi.

The Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pahrump has cozy large rooms that ffer flat-screen TVs, mini-refrigerators, and coffee machines. Accommodations with separate living rooms and couch beds are also available for larger families. Several rooms also have beautiful views of the mountains!

There is a great daily breakfast buffet with hot and cold dishes such as eggs, bacon, cereal, and pastries. There is also a fitness facility, an outdoor pool, and a hot tub to unwind after a day of exploring the many sights of Death Valley.

While the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Pahrump is not in Death Valley National Park, it’s still a handy and affordable hotel option for people who wish to visit the area while staying in a nearby town. Pahrump also has a number of additional attractions itself, such as great wineries, golf courses, and more.

best time to visit death valley national parkbest time to visit death valley national park

Panamint Springs Resort is a rustic resort and campsite located on the western edge of California’s Death Valley National Park. They offer housing alternatives such as cabins, motel rooms, and camping sites, as well as a restaurant and general shop.

Panamint Springs Resort’s cabins and hotel rooms are simple yet comfy, featuring air conditioning, heating, and private bathrooms. Kitchenettes are also available in the cabins, and mini-refrigerators and microwaves are available in the hotel rooms. The campgrounds include tent and RV camping with water and electricity hookups.

The Toll Road Restaurant in the resort provides breakfast, lunch, and supper, with items such as burgers, sandwiches, salads, and Mexican food. A pub serving beer, wine, and cocktails is also available, as is a general store selling groceries, snacks, and camping supplies.

Panamint Springs Resort is located in a secluded region of the park, offering it a tranquil and quiet hotel choice for those looking to escape the crowds. The Panamint Range of mountains surrounds the property, providing spectacular vistas and chances for hiking and sightseeing.

While Panamint Springs Resort is not a luxury facility, it is an excellent choice for people seeking rustic and economical lodging in a lovely and quiet setting inside Death Valley National Park.

best time to visit death valley national park

best time to visit death valley national park

The Best Western Pahrump Oasis

The Best Western Pahrump Oasis is a motel located in Pahrump, Nevada, about an hour’s drive away from Death Valley National Park. The hotel has a variety of services, including an outdoor pool, free breakfast, and free Wi-Fi.

The rooms feature flat-screen TVs, mini-refrigerators, and coffee machines, and accommodations with separate living rooms and couch beds are also available if you’re looking for even more space. And you’ll love the views, as several accommodations also have views of the mountains!

The hotel features a business center and conference rooms available 24 hours a day, making it a handy alternative for business visitors. There is complimentary Wi-Fi throughout the resort, as well as a guest laundry service.

This is a great and affordable choice for your trip to Death Valley at a familiar economical hotel chain.

best time to visit death valley national park

As you can see, Death Valley National Park is a gem of a park that offers a unique and memorable experience for visitors who are interested in exploring these remote and stunning desert landscapes. With the park’s many attractions, sights, activities, and accommodation options, Death Valley is a great destination for photographers, adventurers, nature lovers, and anyone who wants to experience the beauty and solitude of the American Southwest.

Enjoy your trip!

JennExplores Signature Love Jenn

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best time to visit death valley national park

The Best Time to Visit Death Valley National Park

I’m Jenn, a photographer, travel writer, and content creator based out of the beautiful Canadian Rockies. I’m glad you’re here – now let’s explore!

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