Death Valley: Pupfish & More – Episode 03
Here are my top 10 must see locations within the park:
1. Badwater Basin
The hottest place on planet earth, and the lowest point in North America. If you're into hot, flat, and salty, be sure to check it out.
2. Zabriskie Point
A colorful painted desert scene. An easy park and view spot. And an great starting point for a vibrant hike.
3. Ubehebe Crater
Tucked in the very north part of the park is this oddball crater. It wasn't created by a meteorite, but by an even more frightening event. A giant boil of magma crept up into the groundwater; heating it and forming a giant steam bomb. The magma and steam exploded through the earth's crust and created this disturbing scar.
Bonus points for hiking around the rim.
4. Mesquite Dunes
The most accessible dunes in Death Valley. Vast and tall, it's a great place for a sunrise. Or to roll down the hills like an idiot.
5. Salt Creek
A literal oasis in Badwater Basin, and the last remnants of the ancient lakes. The spring fed ecosystem is a out of place and a unique location to explore.
6. Teakettle Junction
Pretty much what it sounds like.
7. The Racetrack Playa
Bizarre sliding rocks create snail trails on this remote dry lakebed. Until recently, the way these rocks moved was an utter mystery. But in 2011 scientists began what was called 'the most boring experiment ever'. They brought in similar rocks and outfitted them with GPS and waited for nothing to happen. Two years later, the rocks began to creep, and the were able to unravel the mystery.
When the playa is covered in large ice sheets, the afternoon sun begins to melt the sheets producing thin floating ice panels that are driven by the wind and shove the famous rocks around the racetrack.
8. Lipincott Road
A 4x4 only road, but if you have a capable vehicle; it's pretty amazing to go from the valley floor to snow covered peaks.
9. Devil's Hole (Ash Meadows)
The hole itself is somewhat disappointing, but the unique fish that live there are far from it. Check out Ash Meadows while you're there and see the highest concentration of endemic biology in the United States.
10. Super Bloom
About once a decade spring flowers take over the park. A typical lifeless desert landscapes comes alive with spectacular colors. A rare event, so keep a tab on the Death Valley Facebook Page around March and April for a chance to catch this amazing sight.
Visit Death Valley: https://www.nps.gov/deva/
Death Valley on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/AqhRTytLAAu