Chimani Ambassador Post: Kim Howard on Death Valley National Park.
When you think of Death Valley most people think of sand, heat, and did I mention heat?…
Death Valley, despite its name, is full of life. This 140-mile basin is full of major wildflower blooms, ghost towns, historical mining artifacts, resorts, and even a waterfall. The park is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. There is a $20.00 entrance fee per car. The weather is mild during the Fall and Spring. The Winter days can be a bit chilly as it is a desert climate. Temperatures in Death Valley National Park from May to September may be too hot for some visitors.
In 2016, the park experienced a “Super Bloom,” the best Wildflower Bloom it had seen in decades. The park’s roadways and dirt fields were covered in yellow, purple, and white wildflowers.
I personally found the Salt Beds to be the most amazing place in the park. Badwater Basin is located 282-feet below sea level. It is the lowest point of elevation in America. When you begin walking out onto the Salt beds, it feels like you are walking on snow.
This area does have a small pool of “bad water” next to the road in a sink ; the accumulated salts of the surrounding basin make it undrinkable, thus giving it the name. These pools litter the walkway as you make your way down the path. The Badwater Basin does have animal and plant life. The repeated freeze–thaw and evaporation cycles gradually push the thin salt crust up on the surface creating the Salt beds.
Darwin Falls was a treat to see in the middle of what is supposed to be just dunes of sands. When you begin the hike up to the waterfall, the rocks and sand make way for green vegetation and running water. It becomes an oasis of trees, bushes, and a small creek. It’s easy to forget that you are in the hot desert of Death Valley.
Make sure to stop by the Furnace Creek resort to get a bite to eat, do some shopping and visit the mining museum. Unfortunately, Scottie’s Castle (and the road to Ubehebe Crater) is closed due to severe weather damage last season. It will be a must stop on your trip to the Death Valley National Park when they have completed repairs.
This is the 100th year of our National Parks System, get out this summer make memories for you and your family and friends.