I hope you all enjoyed Christmas and a new year celebration. I hope the year 2017 brings joy and happiness to your life. Some people celebrate Christmas at home with family, and I took a vacation on Christmas. I am so excited to share my latest experience on the west coast trip with you. This time Midwest was caught up with the storm in December, So we decided to use our Christmas leaves and get away someplace which is warmer than Midwest. We decided to visit Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Page, and Las Vegas during the Christmas week as we planned our trip two weeks before. We were worried about getting a booking of hotels and rental car. We planned to fly to Las Vegas and drive around to visit nearby places. Our very 1st destination was Death Valley, California, and I am so excited to share my “Day trip itinerary for Death Valley, California.
How to reach Death Valley?
- You can take a flight to any of three airports McCarran International Airport Las Vegas, Bob Hope Airport Los Angeles, and Inyokern Airport. Once you reach the airport, get a rental car and head to your destination.
- If you live in California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona, or colorado, try to have a road trip. It will be so much fun.
- We took a flight to McCarran International Airport, Las Vegas, and rented a car from the airport.
Where to stay?
- In Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells Village, Furnace Creek, and Panamint Springs have enough lodging and camping facilities.
- There are also a few lodges around the Death Valley junction, which is around 45 mins to one-hour drive.
- We stayed in Pahrump town, around 70 miles from Death Valley Park.
- There is another town named Beatty, where you can find lodging services. It’s around 30 miles drive from the park.
Day trip itinerary for Death Valley, California
If you are unsure about preparing an itinerary, check out my post, ” How to prepare the ultimate itinerary?” We stayed at Pahrump Nugget Hotel and Casino in Pahrump town and started our trip from Pahrump.
- Dante’s View
- Twenty mule team Canyon
- Zabriskie Point
- Furnace creek center
- Devil’s Golf Course
- Bad water basin
- Artist’s Drive
- Harmony borax works
- Mesquite flat dunes
- Stovepipe wells village
Dante’s View and Furnace creek are around 25 miles apart, So instead of going to furnace creek and coming back all the way, we head directly to Dante’s viewpoint. I have shared google maps to explain to you the sequence of places.
This is the highest viewpoint in Death Valley National Park. You can look at the Bad water basin and Devil’s Golf course from around 5000 feet. They have a dedicated parking area, and you can walk around and enjoy the 360-degree view of a park. There is little hiking overall 1 mile in two different directions, but it’s steep, so be careful while roaming around.
Twenty Mule Team Canyon
It is an unpaved one-way loop drive of around 3 miles. It is accessible to vehicles other than buses and RV’s. If you want to have some off-road adventure, then this is the perfect drive for you. You can view canyons right from your drive seat and capture amazing shots.
This is the next stop right after Twenty team mule Canyon and is the most famous among visitors. You can see the canyon and get down to near once from this point. They have made the paved road to walk up to the point, and you can view it from different angles.
Furnace creek center
At Furnace Creek, you will find a visitor Center, Gas Station, Campground, and hotel. You have to buy Pass for the park from the visitor center. The park ranger also helps to learn about the park and answers all your questions. They also have 20 mins long movie in which it explains about the park. Don’t forget to check out the museum Exhibit.
Devil’s Golf Course
Don’t ever miss this point. This is my favorite spot by name. This area of rock salt has been eroded by rain and the wind and made golf ball size holes. The holes are made in such a way that only devils could play golf on such rough links. I think words are not enough to explain, but the picture speaks it all.
Bad water basin
The Bad Water Basin is the lowest point in North America. It is a surreal landscape of vast Salt Flats. The Bad Water Basin is around 280 feet below sea level. You will be able to see the Sea level marker on the rock. We did around 0.7-mile hiking and explored the salt flats. It’s an overall 1-mile hike on the flat surface and accessible by wheelchair.
The name itself suggests what to expect from this drive. The Artist’s drive is one way around a 10-mile loop surrounded by canyons. There are two spots for hiking and photography. The Artist’s Palette is an area on the face of the Black Mountains, noted for various rock colors. All these colors are caused due to the oxidation of different metals. You will be able to see the pink, red, green, and brown colors of rocks. It looks like the painting. This drive can take 30 mins to 3-4 hours, depending on you. We stopped at two points for photos and enjoyed the view, which took 45 mins, but we didn’t go hiking.
Mesquite flat dunes
The Mesquite flat dunes are picture-perfect and the easiest to visit in the national park. It is located in Death Valley near Stovepipe Wells Village. It is easily accessible from Hwy 190. If you are driving from the Furnace Creek Center to Stovepipe Wells Village, you will see dunes on your right side. There is a small parking lot where you can park. It’s a great place to spend an hour. It looks beautiful during sunset. We reach here before sunset and walk on the dunes. It’s such a great moment to enjoy watching the sun slipping through the sand.
Stovepipe wells village
After Furnace creek, Stovepipe village has a gas station, general store, and restaurant. If you plan to stay overnight in Death Valley Park, stovepipe wells village is an excellent place to choose. It also offers an Rv park and camping facilities. It is a western-style rustic village and gives the natural feel of the west world. In Death Valley, only Furnace Creek and Stovepipe wells have a gas station. Hence, keeping your gas tank full whenever you get the chance is advisable.