Adventures written by the VAMONDE Team
When you find yourself ready for an adventure away from the casinos, nightlife, and buffets, jump in a car and head west. Only two and a half hours away is the hottest, driest, and lowest National Park in the United States. Death Valley is a wonderland of colorful wildflowers in the spring, and a desolate but dazzling landscape of sand dunes, rock formations, and canyons throughout the rest of the year.
Death Valley is located in a bowl with the Sierra Nevada mountains framing its eastern horizon. Sophisticated Instagrammers can capture time-lapse images of the night sky unpolluted by artificial light and aglow with stars. The International Dark-Sky Association awarded the Park its designation in 2013. The rest of us will love to snap quick selfies in what remains of one of the ghost towns that emerged during the California Gold Rush. If you want some other ideas of what to see in Death Valley, check out the YouTube video from Kapil Ricky as he and a friend road trip to this westward destination from Las Vegas.
If you are in a rush to return to Vegas and don’t have time to explore the entire 5,270 square miles of mountain, valley, and dunes, then Badwater Basin is the spot to move to the top of your list. At a depth of 282 feet below sea level, it has the second lowest elevation in the Western Hemisphere behind Laguna del Carbon in Argentina. In the basin, a repeated cycle of freeze, thaw, and evaporate has transformed a crust of thin salt into a geometric pattern in the shape of a honeycomb. At sunset, a saffron glaze covers the expansive salt flat and is the traveler’s reward for venturing into the desert.
Cover image by Johannes Plenio is available on Pixabay.