The Death Valley National Park is the largest National Park outside Alaska, stretching from the state of California to Nevada. While it’s an exceedingly popular hiking destination, it’s also well known for its dry saltiness and hot temperatures. This, however, is somewhat mind-boggling, considering the fact that the surrounding terrain is made up of lush spring meadows and snow-covered mountain peaks.
Even with its questionable name, the Death Valley National Park makes for a fantastic hiking adventure with more than three million acres of thrilling sites, which are even more of a beauty to behold during winter, spring, & autumn month. Most people avoid Death Valley in the summer due when it is extremely hot.
Although Death Valley doesn’t sound quite as alluring as some other national parks, it does offer a unique camping experience. Since the area is basically a large desert, it’s only logical to wonder when would be the best time to make the trip and if there are any suitable spots for camping.
Although most visitors book lodgings in Las Vegas, there are several accommodation options in Death Valley, some of which are listed below.
Not only is early Spring the most popular visitation time, but it’s also the most convenient. It offers the best views as spring wildflowers are usually fully bloomed during this period. If you’re visiting after the rainy season, you’ll most likely find an extremely alluring floral display. The best time to catch this lovely sight is during early April and mid-October.
If you’re planning on an overnight stay at the Death Valley National Park in springtime, note that the area is most likely to be packed with visitors, which means it would be quite difficult to find lodging. As such, you should consider booking reservations a few months in advance.
As unusual as it might sound, summer does start early in Death Valley National Park. Therefore, as May approaches, the area is bound to be even hotter than usual.
Even with the extreme temperatures, the area is often packed with many visitors. Still, finding accommodation shouldn’t be an issue, although we strongly suggest that you avoid camping in lower elevations when visiting in the summer months.
Autumn is usually accompanied by clear skies and rather pleasant temperatures, making it a wonderful time to visit Death Valley National Park.
Ranger programs and camping season typically start in the fall and continue till springtime. While the number of visitors is usually less at these times, the area often receives a sudden influx of visitors during the Thanksgiving holiday and around the second week of November.
Winter remains one of the very best times to visit Death Valley. The cool winter rain is quite fitting for the relatively hot desert temps. Not only will you not have to worry about the usually dry heat, but the scenic drive around the high mountain peaks covered in snow as winter light reflects on them is also truly a sight to behold.
Note that the period before Christmas and after Thanksgiving is usually the least congested. Therefore, you should consider visiting around either of these times.
There are tons of fantastic and thrilling hiking trails in the Death Valley National Park, most of which are best enjoyed around March and November. Remember to bring along plenty of water when packing for your trip and enough sunscreen as you’re going to need them.
In case you’re wondering where the best campsites are on the Death Valley grounds, it would interest you to know that there are hundreds of possibilities. Here are some of some of the best camping options in Death Valley.
This is one of the finest options if you plan an overnight stay in Death Valley National Park since it covers all the best sights the park offers. Texas Spring offers a reclusive and quiet experience if you want to relax after a day of exploration and sightseeing. You’ll also be allowed access to clean running water and all basic amenities you may require throughout your stay.
You’ll find different campsites around Texas Spring perfectly suited for pitching tents. There are also designated spots for van-style camping if you’re traveling with company. Regardless of your chosen camping mode, you’re sure to have an amazing experience on the Texas Spring camping grounds.
The Mesquite Spring Campground had to be included in our list as its location is secluded with just the right amount of quiet and privacy for a relaxing time, and it doesn’t require an entrance fee. The Mesquite Flat Sand dunes are surrounded by the Panamint mountains and many major attractions like Dante’s View, which offers an almost enchanting feel under the dark sky of night.
Besides the secluded and private experience offered by the Mesquite Spring Campground, it also has all the amenities you’ll need, like picnic tables, barbeque pits, clean running water, and restrooms. The best part about this campground is that it’s open to campers all year round, although some of the best times to visit are during mid-February, mid-July, mid-April, mid-May, and cooler months
The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is not too far off from Death Valley Junction and every bit as good as each of the aforementioned camping options. Some might even consider it a better alternative.
Of all the various campgrounds the Death Valley National Park has to offer, Furnace Creek campground remains the most popular, and for a good reason, although you’ll need to book a reservation in advance.
The Furnace Creek Inn is situated at the lowest point of the Death Valley floor. It’s estimated to be 189 feet below sea level and offers a view of the Death Valley National Park.
There are lots of fun activities for campers to engage in during their stay in Furnace Creek, like exploring the Borax Mine, Jubilee Pass, Scotty’s Castle, Artist’s Drive, Devil’s Golf, and hiking through the different bike paths in the area.
The Zabriskie Point campground is particularly easy to get to and is also known for its spellbinding beauty. There are park rangers posted around Zabriskie point if you have questions or need help with a flat tire. There’s also a parking lot, although the nearest gas station is at Furnace Creek.
This camping site is open to visitors all year round and is free to access. However, it tends to get crowded, so you might want to get there early enough as there will be fewer crowds.
Death Valley National Park is a wonderful tourist destination worth seeing. There are many places to explore, like the Stovepipe Wells Village, the snow-capped Telescope Peak, the Bad Water Basin Salt Flats Trail, the Panamint Mountain Range, the Mosaic Canyon trail, and many more. By making your trip during any of the listed times, you will surely have a very convenient and fun-filled hiking or camping experience.