Death Valley

My boyfriend broke up with me right before we were supposed to take a trip to Mexico. So instead of going to a new country, I went to a new park. I got to visit Death Valley in the middle of winter, when the temperatures were perfectly mild and the park was uncrowded. I landed at LAX, got my rental car, and started to drive into the desert. It amazed me how quickly Los Angeles melted away, and then all of a sudden I was in the middle of nowhere, with huge gray mountains popping up like a giant wall in the distance. Death Valley is the largest national park in the Lower 48. It’s bigger than Delaware. And over a few days, I completely unplugged from the world—enjoying the time to reflect with no cell phone service—and explored on my own. I jammed to Katy Perry’s Chained to the Rhythm while driving, stopped at gorgeous viewpoints where South Korean tourists asked to get their photos taken with me (for whatever reason), and watched in awe as a small coyote trotted alongside the road. In the middle of the night I stumbled out of my cabin to go to the bathroom and saw a sky so full of stars I gasped aloud. I went up to Dante’s View and saw the park from above, and then I went down to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America. From there, I made my way out of the park. There was nowhere to go but up.

Quick Facts:

  • Visited: 2017

  • National Park founded: 1994

  • Location: California

  • Size: 3,373,063 acres

Learn More:

Highlights & Hikes:


  • Mosaic Canyon

  • Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

  • Salt Creek


  • Badwater Basin - the lowest point in America

  • Dante's View

  • Watching sunset from the sand dunes

  • Zabriske Point