From the magical burst of wildflower blooms in spring to the allure of ghost towns, historic mining operations, wildlife and raw natural beauty, Death Valley National Park offers something for everyone. About 140 miles long, Death Valley is home to a wide variety of wildlife, from bighorn sheep and mountain lions down to abundant butterfly species like the Square-spotted Blue, Indra Swallowtail and Western Pygmy Blue.
Named a national monument in February of 1933, Death Valley National Park owes much of its early development to the Civilian Conservation Corps, or the CCC. From 1933 until 1942, twelve CCC companies improved the area by creating trails, buildings and camps. They also introduced phone and water service to some areas of the valley. Much of what they built is still in existence and utilized in Death Valley Park today.
Not only rich in beauty and pioneer history, Death Valley was known as a prosperous mining mecca for many decades. The valley was mined extensively for gold, silver, copper, tungsten, lead, zinc, antimony and borax. The last mining operation, the Billie Mine, located along the Dante's View road, ceased operations in 2005.
Death Valley National Park Weather
Death Valley is most well known for being one of the hottest places on earth. Death Valley weather is influenced by the surrounding mountain ranges and the sparse rainfall. Summer daytime temperatures of 120°F are routine, dropping into the 90-degree range at night. Careful planning and attention to detail allow visits to Death Valley National Park year round although the most popular time is the winter season, due to the park’s extreme weather in summer.
Death Valley National Park Tours and Camping
From the natural beauty of Badwater Basin, the lowest point on the North American continent, to the breathtaking views of Twenty Mule Team Canyon and allure of fabled Scotty's Castle, Death Valley is a mix of intriguing natural and historical offerings. There are nine separate Death Valley camping facilities as well as inns and resorts that are able to accommodate the over 800,000 visitors that come to Death Valley National Park each year. Natural history, hiking and biking tours are available as well as many miles of road way that can be traveled by car. For the especially adventurous, there is plenty of rough terrain for backcountry camping, hiking and four-wheel drive vehicles. The Furnace Creek Visitor Center offers the chance to learn more about the history of the park or view a Death Valley map.