No doubt because of its name, Death Valley National Park ranks just 21 most visited of the 59 U.S. national parks. It can’t possibly because of the scenery that Death valley doesn’t rank higher, because the scenery is spectacular – from canyons to badlands, sand dunes to lake beds, craters and even flowing streams and fragile wetlands.
It is, however, the hottest place on Earth – hotter than the tropics; hotter than the Sahara and Namibian deserts. The hottest recorded temperature there was 134 degrees F. It also has the lowest spot below sea level in the Western Hemisphere. It also is America’s largest national park in terms of physical size.
Death valley is about variety. And while it can be brutally hot in summer, it is very pleasant to hike its trails in spring, summer and winter.
I was there in the spring of 2016, and while I encountered many photographers, the overall number of visitors seemed low by comparison to a place like Yellowstone or Yosemite national parks. The desert sunsets and sunrises were often dramatic during my five days there. The soaring mountains that flank the valley on both sides make the landscape that much more appealing. Choose your passion – silky sand dunes, colorful tapestry of mineral-rich hills, white salt flats. From Zabriskie Point to Mesquite Dunes, the photo opportunities are endless. It’s a place I hope to return to again and again.
© Stuart L Gordon Photography