It wasn't until last March that I finally conjured up the courage to go to Death Valley. It just had one of those ominous names (emphasis on the 'Death') that kept me away from the park for so long. Best know for being the hotest, lowest and driest place in America, I just figured there wouldn't be much there to see. I couldn't have been more wrong. Death Valley is absolutely amazing...
...and there is no better time to visit the desert than Spring. The temperatures are still in the 70's, the snow is still on the surrounding mountain tops and if you time it right, you can be there for the truly spectacular desert bloom. Right now it is projected for early March
Get Me There: Only about four and a half hours outside of downtown LA, you can make this trip as quick, or as long as you'd like. I think 3 or 4 days will give you plenty of time to explore. My only advice is that you stay away from the RV's and the valley floor as much as possible. I highly recommend the Wildrose campground. Its perched high above the valley floor, where the weather is a bit cooler and the traditional tourists (and their generators) further away.
Give Me Something To Do:
~Day One: Journey to the center of the Earth..or at least get a little closer to it by visiting Badwater Basin. Noted as the lowest point in North America, with an elevation of 282 ft below sea level its a bit of a tourist trap but also a must do. When you can't take the gravitational pull any more, take a hike (literally) and check out Golden Canyon. Its an easy stroll through a colorful canyon at the base of Red Cathedral rock. If you'd rather not work up sweat or fight the heat, crank up the AC and take the Artist Drive instead.
~Day Two: The Sand Dunes. Hike on em, slide on em, sit on em. Whatever you do, you'll enjoy them. It'll feel like you were dropped in the middle of the Sahara Desert. Done playing in the sand? Take a drive down Titus Canyon and then finish the day by hiking up Mosaic Canyon. Before heading back to the tent, pick up some ice cold brews at the Stovepipe Wells Village and head up to Aguereberry Point for an unforgettable sunset at 7,000 feet.
~Day Three: By now you are probably in need of proper meal and dying for a pool. Well, you are in luck. Pack up the tent, clean out the cooler and check in to one of the coolest, retro resorts SoCal has to offer. The Inn at Furnace Creek (Not to be confused for the Ranch at Furnace Creek). It is the definition of a desert Oasis and the perfect way to end your trip. Spend your last day in Death Valley sipping cocktails by the pool while overlooking the desert valley and majestic Panamint Mountains. You'll wake up perfectly rested for the drive home to LA.