Must see road trip stops/drives Badwater Basin and Artists Drive. We also saw The Devil’s Golf Course. Badwater Basin is 282 feet below see level and the temperature while we were there was 95 degrees. The temperature outside the park was in the low 70’s, a benefit of visiting during the fall/winter. We found that our older boys did not fully get the big deal about the temperature. We plan to bring them back in the summer sometime in the future.
What you need to know about Artists Drive.. It’s amazing and there are vehicle size restrictions. The parks stated restriction is less than 25 ft in length. We were happy to be in our Subaru. The drive is 9 miles of winding, dipping and driving through low clearances. The low clearances are why we were happy to not be in our Dodge 2500 with kayak racks on top. It can be done, but it would have stressed us out. Our advice is to believe the signs.. the dips are huge.
The park has plenty to offer and we are hardly scratching the surface here. Use the link at the bottom of this post to visit the park website. During the summer, it is not recommended to get out of your car for any longer than a few minutes – meaning no hiking in the summer. Visiting during the cooler months opens up opportunities to explore the many trails. During our visit we explored the Badwater Basin, because we were not prepared for hiking. There are a few trails in the park, but most routes are cross country. We stuck to the roadside trails.
What to bring.. It should go without saying, but I’m going to say it. Bring plenty of water, even if you have no plans for hiking. This is the hottest, driest, lowest place in North America. Check the parks website, listed below, before going to find out about closures and know the weather. Flash flooding is an additional hazard that may occur in the park.
At Devil’s Golf Course large fields of eroded rock salt can been seen. If you listen carefully, you can here the salt crystals exploding due to expanding and contracting with the changes in temperatures. Despite being sharp and pocked we did see some fellow park goers attempting to navigate walking across the salt as well as taking souvenirs. It’s a big no-no, illegal, to take the salt or remove anything from a protected National Park.
Visit the National Park Service Website for more information about Death Valley National Park