Out of all the National Parks within in the vicinity of Los Angeles, Death Valley was the last one I had yet to visit. I always knew that I wanted to visit during the winter (because we all know how hot it gets during the summer), so with a few days off on my hands, I decided to take another solo trip and see the park for myself!
The drive there was about 4.5 hours long. I chose the route that took me up the 395 since it’s one of my favorite freeways here. The views during the drive did not disappoint!
Upon getting to the park, I had lunch real quick then went to my first stop.
At 282 ft below sea level, Badwater Basin is the lowest point in the United States.
I don’t know why.. but I was expecting a lot more from this stop. It was a quick hike to the bridge, which was not that grand to be honest. Getting to the trailhead did require some off roading which made the journey fun regardless.
Artist’s Drive + Palette
Next, I headed to Artist’s Palette. I remember being so excited to see this years ago because of the photos I’ve seen in the past. However, after seeing it with my own eyes, the whole view is kind of underwhelming. The drive however was a fun one, and is totally something I recommend doing!
If you could tell by this point, I wasn’t really enjoying my trip. It was pretty hot (I expected it to be way colder since it’s the winter..), there were loads of people at every stop, and the views were nice.. but they weren’t as breathtaking as I expected them to be. I was actually thinking of heading home that night instead of camping like I originally planned.
So for a few hours in the afternoon, I retreated to my campsite and took a nap before heading out to the sand dunes to catch the sunset.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Whatever bad vibes I was feeling earlier in the afternoon completely disappeared when I got here. This place was absolutely gorgeous and I couldn’t think of a better place to catch the golden hour. I may have also taken waaaay to many photos but whatevs.
I also stayed behind here an hour after sunset to catch a view of stars! We never get to see these type of views in the city so it’s something I always try to take advantage of when I’m out in nature.
The next day, I woke up in THE best mood. I had just slept in my car and woken up in a National Park. The sun was shining on me. I had hot chocolate in my hand. Life was literally perfect.
This was my last spot before heading home. There was a cool little view point that you could walk up to that gave you a general view of the area (where everyone seemed to go), but I found a trail that took me inside and I decided to follow it. Best. Idea. Ever. I hiked for about an hour and only bumped into a couple of people the entire time. And the views inside were amazing! This was the feeling I was looking for during this trip, and I’m so glad that I found it before I left.
After that, it was time to head home! Saw this on the way out. Desert in the front, snow-capped mountains in the back. Only in California.
That concludes my trip! It wasn’t what I expected it to be, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At least I was able to spend a couple of days outside.
That’s always a win in my book.