We finally made it to Death Valley towards the end of our 2021 travels. We usually run out of time heading back into California from where ever but I finally wrangled an extra week out of our schedule and we were able to plan for a visit.

Our visit covered a lot and I mean a lot of ground. We did multiple sites, hikes and jeep trails. Breaking up the visit in logical groups seemed to make the most sense for a series of posts.

What We’ll Cover

There was so much we did that I’ll cover the trip in a few posts which will cover:

  • The Must See Sites
  • Our Favorite Hikes
  • The Far Away Sites
  • Free Camping and Jeep Trail

The categories are helpful to focus in on how you may want to plan a trip. The Must See Sites is up first and if you only have a day in the park or even just passing through, these are the more popular and logistically closer together so you can see them in your days visit.

The Must See Sites

Based on spending several days and driving many miles, we found these to be the best sites to visit if you’re short on time but want to drive through Death Valley National Park.  If you have a day to drive through or maybe even a day trip from Las Vegas, these sites will be worth the effort.  From the lowest point in North America to colorful canyons and just how do those majestic white sand dunes show up in the middle of the park?

Badwater Basin

Bad water basin is the lowest point in North America at 282′ below sea level and you can walk a mile on the salt flats covering 200 square miles. You can walk out a mile to the opposite edge and can spend up to 5 miles.

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes created by the wind moving sand from the washes and eroding canyons. You can find everchanging ripples and evidence of the night time animal life just by doing a short walk in the sand. Or be more adventurous and walk further out and up to find your own footprint free dune.

Artist’s Drive

Artisit’s Drive is a short driving route through colorful canyons and overlooks. Quite a contrast to the badlands just a short hop away. Watch out for the roller coaster dips and turns.

Dante’s View

Dante’s View towers over the Badwater Basin and is the best view of this vast park area. There’s also a hike along the ridge if you want more exercise and solitude.  A grand place to visit for sunrise or sunset to catch that perfect shot or just hold your someone special’s hand.


Here’s a 1 minute clip on YouTube:

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