- Yosemite National Park, USA, June 2020
- Yosemite to Death Valley, June 2020
- Death Valley National Park, June 2020
Death Valley National Park, June 2020
After a very nice drive from Yosemite to Shoshone we visited Death Valley National Park proper; starting with a morning stop at China Ranch just outside Tecopa where we had stayed the night before. This is a date ranch that was named after a Chinaman who had worked at the Borax mine nearby; pictures below
After the China Ranch, we drove back to Death Valley. We had 2 choices to get back; go back the same way we had come the previous day; or go via the backroad thru Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the USA, 282ft below sea level. The Badwater basin was something I had definitely wanted to visit while in Death Valley National Park; the problem was that the National Park; though open, was only opening in phases, and the Badwater Basin portion of it was still closed 🙁. The road from Shoshone to Badwater basin was closed with several barricades but was easily by-passable. 😀
Since this was a place I badly wanted to visit, we decided to go directly to Badwater Basin, and then continue to our hotel in Death Valley National Park; hoping that road was also open/by-passable at the other end. The problem with doing this was IF we had problems on this road like a car breakdown or any other issue/emergency because:
- There was no cellphone service on this road
- There were not likely to be any other people here
- There were no Park services open & no Park Rangers or patrols along this stretch
- There was no place to get drinking water or food on this stretch
- It was going to be very hot
- The roads inside may be barricaded and not passable
- We could get into deep trouble with the Park for not following their rules
We filled up several bottles with water, took some food, and drove past the barricades on the road and drove to Badwater Basin; taking all the risks. Looking back; that was probably not the smartest idea. Some pics below
We soon arrived at Badwater Basin, but the road was closed with a swing gate 😀 and no way to get around this by car. I checked the gate, and fortunately, it was not locked 🙂 ; so I was able to swing it open and get to Badwater Basin. Hopefully, there would be no more of such roadblocks further on.
We had arrived 🙂 and it was 110F (43C). We were the only people here; normally this place is very busy with tourists. At 282ft below sea level, this was not the lowest point we have visited; the lowest was the Dead Sea in Jordan at 1410ft below sea level. See pics and explanations below for Badwater Basin
Panoramic view of Badwater Basin
The Salt flats were big, but not as impressive or extensive as the Raan of Kutch.
After checking this area for a short while (it was very hot); we got back in the car and headed towards Furnace Creek, where we were staying the next few days; hoping no more roadblocks. Some views along the way.
360 degree view on this road to Furnace Creek from Badwater Basin; absolutely desolate
We reached the end of the road from Badwater Basin to the main road in Death Valley National Park Hwy 190 at Furnace Creek. Fortunately, there had been no other roadblocks along the way, and there were barriers on this road where it met Hwy 190, but once again, were easily passable on the side of the road and no Park Rangers around; so the risks we took turned out to be good for us; we were finally at Furnace Creek. We checked into The Oasis at Death Valley resort which was a very nice resort that had just re-opened (we had checked and booked this place in advance a few days prior); and since it was not yet dark, we decided to check out a little more of Death Valley. Some images below
Sunset Panoramic view at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
After watching the sun go down over Mesquite Sand Dunes, we went back to the hotel; had dinner at their restaurant and called it a night.
Next day, it was time for more exploring in this area. We first drove over to the Badlands at Zabriskie Point, where there is a maze of badland canyons. Badlands are a rocky terrain, with lack of water and extreme temperatures that make it very difficult to traverse. Some views here
Panoramic views at Zabriskie Point
After this, we drove around to check out more of Death Valley; Dante’s Peak road was closed and no way to get around the roadblocks, so we missed that. Some scenes along the way
I love the sand dunes; so we went back to the Mesquite Sand Dunes
We then went to a site where Borax used to be mined and processed. Some scenes from here
By this time, it was very hot, so we went back to the hotel/resort area at Furnace Creek. Behind the resort, we discovered the Furnace Creek Golf Course, and right next to it, was a landing airstrip for small planes. This Golf course and the airstrip were at 214ft below sea level; the lowest in the US. This is where the rich fly in, get out of their plane, jump into the waiting golf cart, play golf, have lunch at the Oasis resort, and then return on their plane the same day. What a life.
Where does the water come from? Well, there is a natural spring here; that is used to water the grass and landscape, as well as provide water for the resort and nearby settlements. Not far from this golf course, was a small settlement of the Timbisha Shoshone Indian tribe reservation (Death Valley Indian Community); which looked in very poor shape. Very sad to see the differences between the jet-setters and the neglected population.
There were several restaurants in and around the resort where we had dinner after relaxing in the pool. Next day, we drove to Las Vegas, stopping for a very delicious lunch at the Pahrump Valley winery in Pahrump, Nevada; before continuing to Las Vegas, where we stayed one night returning the rental car at Las Vegas airport, before flying home. A most memorable trip; the natural parks and spaces in the USA are very beautiful and amazing to visit.
Our tripThis entry was posted in North America, USA, Yosemite & Death Valley
24 thoughts on “Death Valley National Park, June 2020”
I enjoyed the travel and photos! Love the format you use to incorporate videos and photos !!! Nicely arranged. I would have liked a little more description in the use of the 5 senses and maybe what type of food you ate and where. What were the feelings you had when seeing these astounding locations?
I enjoyed the trip so much, I just wanted more of the experience💕 to take my imagination away and be present, in the moment, vicariously.
Thanks Pamela for the note. Glad you enjoyed the blog as much as we enjoyed the trip.
Really appreciate the feedback; I will definitely try and incorporate more descriptions involving all of the 5 senses (sight, sounds, taste, touch & smell) and about the types of food we ate, and feelings we had when seeing these new locations. Appreciate your help in getting me to improve my blogs.
Love to Dilshad.
Love, Light & Cheers
Many thanks Muslim; glad you liked the images
Ali & Dilshad,
I am so glad I toured such remote Parks through your adventure..
You both make a team to be admired.
Thanks for the incredible description of your Journey. The photography is exceptional👌
Keep up your good work, travels and continue to let us see parts of the world through your eyes.
Thanks so much, for the feedback and all the encouragement.
It is because of readers like you that we continue to write blogs of our travels.
So glad you were able to enjoy the tour with us
We were too scared to go there in peak summer heat. Now we see what was there
Thanks Nasir. Hope you liked what you saw of Death Valley NP
Cannot believe a place like this is even exists in USA.
When i read all the reasons one should not go to Badwater Basin, I was thinking that you would go anyways. I was right. I know you too well.lol
Talking about Dead sea, we are headed there in December. Any tips-we were planning to go to Jordan for a week and spend a couple days in Amman, then Petra 2 days, then wadi rum and then 2 days dead sea-makes sense?
Thanks Mahamud; you do know me too well.
Thanks for the feedback.
RE: Dead Sea; I will PM you my recommendations.
In the meantime, please check out my blog at https://alikarimtravelog.com/category/middle-east/jordan/jordan-nov-2013/
Your photography, as always, is outstanding.
You and your beloved are some amazing adventurers.
Thank you for sharing your fun with us – and educating us with quality pictures and blogs.
THanks Iqbal for the nice comments; so glad you are enjoying traveling with us.
Feedback like yours warms the heart 🙂
Very nice! Just wondering if you guys camped out at Badwater Basin or there were hotels near? How much did you walk and hiked 😊
Thanks Salimah. We did not stay at Badwater Basin; there are no accommodation’s there. We stayed at a resort at Furnace Creek; which is about ~40 mins dive from Badwater Basin . RE: Hiking and walking, we did some hiking and walking, but because this area gets very hot, they advise people to stay outside until 10AM, then stay indoors. So time to hike is limited to early morning and before sunset.
Very nice; enjoyed the trip with you
Thanks Amir & Roshan; so glad you enjoyed
Hi, very keen to know about your experience in China. Especially more information on the JK there. How can I connect with you?
Hi Saloni, thanks for contacting me. I have sent you an email with how to connect with me so I can let you know of our experiences in China. Please reply to the email
Ali and Dilshad,
Enjoyed reading about you trip to Death Valley National Park and the surrounding areas. What a great experience.
On your way to the Death Valley did you pass through Searles Lake? There is a borax factory and I have been reading about it – because of my interest in collecting minerals – Halite (pink salt crystals) which is abundant in the lake. The lake is south of the Death Valley Park – on way towards Southern California.
After reading your trip notes I am definitely going to visit the lake and the park. I have a place in Dana Point (souther California) and when I am there later this year I will visit the Death Valley and the Searles lake. Will follow your excellent advice and plan accordingly. As always, thanks for your beautiful pictures and write up.
Thanks for the comments and feedback. We did not get to Searles Lake, in-fact, I didn’t even know about it until you enlightened me 🙂 . Seems like an interesting place. They have tufa’s there, just like at Mono lake further north in California.I am so glad you are going to check out Death Valley; it is my goal to encourage all my readers to check out all the beautiful places on this earth for themselves.So by you deciding to go there has made me achieve my goal; one person at a time 🙂
Obviously a mind blowing experience.
I wouldn’t dare go to such a dangerous place yet it is beautiful.
Good for you and many thanks for sharing.
Thanks Ismail; glad you enjoyed
Enjoyed the virtuaL excursion
Thanks Abdul, for the feedback