Death Valley National Park, located along the border of California and Nevada, is best known for its infamously high temperatures and harsh conditions. However, the winter months offer far milder temperatures, making it a great time for a visit. Here are the top 5 reasons you should consider planning a trip to Death Valley National Park this winter.
1. There’s Pleasant Weather
If there’s one thing Death Valley National Park is known for, it’s hot weather. And while this is true in the summer, with the area having been home to record-breaking heat waves, winter temperatures are much milder. Temperatures hover in the 70s during the day and can drop as low as the upper 30s at night. This makes the cooler months the perfect time to explore this gorgeous desert area!
The pleasant weather will allow for outdoor activities such as hiking and camping without worrying about concerns such as heat stroke, as well as providing a more comfortable experience overall. December and January are typically the coolest months. The weather starts warming up to a still mild 80 degrees Fahrenheit in March and begins to soar again by April. This makes Death Valley National Park a great choice for a vacation over winter break.
2. It’s Home To Stunning Scenery
Death Valley is home to some gorgeous and surreal sights. Head over to Badwater basin, for example, to take in the stunning salt flats stretching on for as long as the eye can see and making up the lowest point in North America. Artist’s Palette, as well as Ubehebe Crater, are two other jaw-dropping natural sights worth adding to your itinerary!
Many of these sights can also be viewed from in your car or viewpoints located nearby parking lots, so these are great choices for those looking for some quick stops or not wanting to embark on longer hikes.
3. You Can Explore After Dark
The adventure doesn’t stop at Death Valley National Park when the sun goes down! Not only do the already cool winter temperatures get even chillier – potentially enough so to warrant a sweater or jacket – the night skies above come alive with constellations, planets, and even glimpses of the International Space Station.
Spots such as Badwater Basin can also make for a great location for a nighttime stroll, though you’ll want to bring a flashlight and keep your eyes and ears peeled for any nocturnal critters! Finally, for those who aren’t sure if they want to explore the area in the dark on their own (or those looking to learn more about the park), consider checking out the scheduled ranger programs.
4. It’s A Great Place To Camp
Summer temperatures would probably make camping in Death Valley an uncomfortable experience at best, but the milder weather in the winter makes it the perfect time for sleeping under the stars! This national park is home to a variety of campgrounds.
For those looking for a more established site, Furnace Creek and Sunset Campgrounds both offer potable water, restrooms, and a camp store. If you’re looking to rough it a bit more, Eureka Dunes Campground sits at the base of some of the tallest sand dunes in California, though it does require a vehicle with high clearance to reach.
5. There Are Great Hiking Opportunities
Death Valley National Park is home to a wide variety of trails, from shorter paths leading around popular sightseeing attractions to longer, more remote hikes. If you’re looking for a fun, beginner-friendly hike, check out Ubehebe Crater Loop (1.5 miles) or Natural Bridge (1 mile). For a longer hike, Mosaic Canyon, a 4-mile out-and-back trail, features some gorgeous rock formations.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com