Death Valley is home to incredibly varied and beautiful landscapes. In our last post we wrote about its most famous viewpoints and easily accessible spots. In this post, we share day hikes, some of which are in less-visited areas of the park.
Natural Bridge Canyon is a short hike featuring a large natural bridge. It’s an easy way to experience one of Death Valley’s many canyons, which provide endless nooks and crannies to explore.
Anna walks under the natural bridge.
Once past the bridge, the number of hikers quickly drops off, and you have the canyon almost completely to yourself. There’s a boulder to squeeze under and a small pouroff to scramble up before you reach the larger dryfall that ends the trail.
Ubehebe Crater is a volcanic spectacle half a mile wide and 700 feet deep. You can walk the rim of the crater, then follow the trail over to Little Hebe.
Walking around the rim of the crater
Little Hebe Crater as viewed from Ubehebe
Mosaic Canyon provides a winding tour of unusual geology. The entire trail is 4 miles, but you don’t have to hike the whole thing to enjoy plenty of beautiful rock.
When you think of Death Valley National Park, you are probably envisioning Badwater Basin. It’s extremely dry and one of the hottest places in the world.
So that’s why we decided to visit in January! We experienced highs in the 70s, well below the 110+ degree heat you can expect in the summer months. The record temperature in Death Valley is a blistering 134 degrees!
We attended an excellent ranger talk at Badwater. Check out this program or any ranger talk at your next national park. They are consistently fun, informative, and great for all ages.
Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America
Badwater got its name from a traveler literally writing “bad water” on a map. The water here is too salty to drink.
Salt flats at Badwater Basin
There is so much more to the park than Badwater though.
Bears Ears National Monument is threatened. Please sign this petition to protect it.
On our 4th day in Bears Ears National Monument, we woke to a lovely morning, then packed up and left Grand Gulch behind. The final day of our hike would involve 7 miles of climbing up Bullet Canyon. Hummingbirds zoomed around us as we began our day.
Early in the day, the hiking was flat and easy. Not so much later!
We continually marveled at the great variety of rock shapes and layers all around us.
After 2 miles, we came upon Jailhouse Ruin nestled in the canyon wall. We noticed the large, bold white circles first. According to an interpretive sign at the ranger station, they are thought to possibly depict a shield, moon, or eye-like openings (for the pictograph on the right). The ruin’s structures occupy two levels in the rock face.