22/63 – Death Valley National Park | 5.14.17

I’ll go ahead and say it- Death Valley was not as hot as I was expecting it to be. Granted, it was still pretty hot, and if there hadn’t been any wind it would’ve been a LOT hotter, but it wasn’t the worst. And to be fair we also didn’t spend much time out of the car because of the dog – HE was definitely hot. But he’s always hot if it’s over 65 degrees… spoiled turd.

Death Valley Sign Blog

It was also, surprisingly enough, pretty green (by Death Valley standards) on the way into the park. It’s been close to 20 years since I’ve been to Death Valley, and I had no real memory of the place beyond Scotty’s Castle (which is currently closed for restoration after some massive flooding a few years ago). I’m quite certain that in the week after we left, everything green mostly died, as it was over 100 degrees every single day after we were there. Good timing!


Buts seriously, look at all of that green!!! In DEATH VALLEY!


We made a quick stop at the Furnace Creek visitor center to get our stamp (I had to actually ask for it, which was really bizarre, normally they’re out on display). Quick pro tip though- if you need gas in Death Valley, don’t go to freaking Furnace Creek. It’s SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper in Stovepipe Wells. Like, 40-50 cents a gallon cheaper. Thankfully we didn’t need to get any gas in the park, but we still wanted to pass along the info because a 50 cent difference in less than 10 miles is just freaking absurd to me.


They need to install these covers EVERYWHERE, seriously. Especially in the campgrounds. The shade makes an enormous difference.


We stopped by to check out the campground… let’s just say I wouldn’t want to camp there any time but like, the dead of winter. Way too hot. This was the most shade in the entire campground, and the ground is seriously rock hard. It wouldn’t be terrible in the winter when it’s in the teens in Utah and in the 70s in Death Valley, but anytime other than the winter, skip it and get yourself a hotel or rent a camper with a solid AC unit. I can imagine this would be a pretty miserable camping experience in a tent in the spring and fall, and nearly deadly in the summer. You can read our Dyrt review of the campground here.

After our brief stop at the visitor center, we headed down to Badwater Basin to experience the lowest point in North America. The drive there was pretty in its own way, like the rest of Death Valley. There is a certain kind of beauty in that kind of desolation.


See that little sign wayyyyyy up on the mountainside? Yep. That’s sea level.


My watch struggled a bit with the crazy changing barometric pressure due to the wind, so it got the altitude a bit wrong a couple of times. hahaha. Close enough.
People probably get annoyed when we bend the rules and put Teddy in a pack, but seriously, there was no way in hell I was leaving him in the car by himself when it was almost 100 flippin’ degrees. This was the only time we got out of the car and we were walking around for less than 15 minutes. You can also see how intense the wind was on Brady’s shorts, hahaha.


Okay, but check out this insane wind. It’s hard to capture in a photo but it was seriously so intense.
Brady’s hair is not that long, and it was even getting windblown!

IMG_6323IMG_6326IMG_6329Badwater Pan

Can you find the sea level sign again?

After that short little jaunt, we headed out of the park to get going home. Some people probably think that we didn’t really experience Death Valley when we were only there for 3 hours max, but 1. It’s hard to do it with a pet when it’s hot and all you have is a car, 2. It’s hot, 3. We have to go back anyways when Scotty’s Castle reopens in a couple of years, so spending a ton of time here wasn’t huge on our priority list. It was just on the way home (sort of), so why not? I don’t think there’s such a thing as a “wrong” way to experience a park.


Our Death Valley National Park “Must Do”:

Badwater Basin, obviously. You really can’t miss it, and it’s seriously so insanely accessible (the sign is like, 10 yards from the parking area) there’s not really any excuse for not going there.

3 thoughts on “22/63 – Death Valley National Park | 5.14.17

    1. Hi Steven! Of course! I’m happy to email a full-res copy of that photo or any other of our numerous sign photos. Just shoot me an email at thewildgroves[at]gmail! 🙂


      1. Thanks! I sent you an email with a list of other park signs that we’re looking for!


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