Death Valley National Park

Do you love going on an adventure outdoors? If yes, then the Death Valley National Park will most likely pique your interests!

Death Valley National Park: A Land of Extremes

Located in both California and Nevada, the Death Valley National Park is known as a land of extremes. It is not only the hottest but also has the lowest elevation in North America! It receives fewer than two inches of rainfall annually, and the lowest point in the park, which can be found in the Badwater Basin, is 282 feet below sea level.

Badwater Basin Death Valley National Park
The Death Valley National Park is home to the lowest elevation in the United States called Badwater Basin. Image courtesy of Adriaan Van’t Riet and Death Valley National Park’s Facebook page.

Despite the extreme heat in the park with the highest record being 134-degree Fahrenheit, about a million adventurers visit the park yearly! Many are particularly interested in the diversity of life in a park ironically named Death Valley National Park.

How did the park get its name, you ask? Well, during the period of the California Gold Rush, a group of emigrants traveled the valley for over two months, enduring hunger, thirst, and silence. One of the last to leave bid farewell to the place saying, “Goodbye, Death Valley.”

Flora & Fauna

You probably think of the Death Valley as an inhabitable place because of its name. On the contrary, it is home to diverse wildlife. Various animals live and thrive in the valley by adapting to the heat and water scarcity. The bighorn sheep, for example, simply drink less water. They can go on without water for several days and can drink gallons once water becomes available again.

The Death Valley National Park is the hottest spot in the United States with the highest record of heat being 134-degree Fahrenheit. Image courtesy of Death Valley National Park’s Facebook page.

Some animals, on the other hand, just rest during the day and stay active at night such as the jackrabbit and coyote. Nonetheless, there are still those who roam the landscape during the day despite the heat like the roadrunners. They possess a naturally high body temperature that allows them to do so anyway.

The Death Valley is also home to diverse plants. Of course, vegetation is abundant in places in the park with water available.

Places to Visit

If it’s your first time to visit the Death Valley National Park and you only have a limited time to enjoy it, the National Park Service (NPS) recommends prioritizing these spots: Badwater Basin, Artists Drive, Devils Golf Course, Golden Canyon, and Zabriskie Point.

Badwater Basin
Badwater Basin. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

Badwater Basin

Badwater Basin is a salt pan where you can see the lowest elevation in the entire continent of North America. During summer, you can enjoy viewing it from your vehicle. During months when the sun isn’t as harsh as it is usually, you can enjoy walking over it. Just after a 400-meter walk, you can see salt formations in the shape of polygons that seem to go on endlessly.

Artists Drive Death Valley National Park
Artists Drive. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

Artists Drive

The Artists Drive is a nine-mile drive that lets you see a view of kaleidoscopic and eroded hills. It brings you to the Artists Palette, which offers another awesome view that’s worth your camera shot! A Star Wars fan? Note that the Artists Palette is home to spots where certain parts of Star Wars, a New Hope were filmed!

Devils Golf Course Death Valley National Park
Devils Golf Course. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

Devils Golf Course

The Devils Golf Course is an extensive salt pan. It is full of spiky salt formations, which is why NPS stated that “only the devil could play golf” in the area. Since it’s difficult to walk on, NPS recommends viewing it from the parking area instead.

Golden Canyon Death Valley National Park hiking
Enjoy easy and difficult hiking trails at Golden Canyon. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

Golden Canyon

The Golden Canyon offers both easy and difficult hiking options! NPS, however, does not recommend hiking in the low elevations in the area during summer.

Zabriskie Point Death Valley National Park
Zabriskie Point is one of the most popular viewpoints in the Death Valley National Park. Image courtesy of the National Park Service.

Zabriskie Point

The Zabriskie Point is a popular spot during sunrise and sunset. It offers a view of the badlands of Furnace Creek.

Weather

As mentioned, Death Valley is the hottest place in North America. The heat during the day in the summer is usually around 120-degree Fahrenheit. At night, it can drop to the 90-degree Fahrenheit range. Needless to say, bringing lots and lots of fluid is essential when you visit the land of extremes.

Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas

Have you reached a point in your life where you just want to take a good rest? A place where you can just unplug and breathe life in? You don’t need to go far away to do that. We know a good place within Las Vegas where you can be one with nature and experience various adventures, giving you the best of both facets of a vacation: fun and rest. Red Rock Canyon or Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area (RRCNCA) is a place that has so many outlets of the stresses and sources of fun to offer.

Red Rock Canyon allows you to take on scenic drives and hiking trails. It allows you to do different physical activities such as rock climbing, biking, and camping. It also features wildlife, cultural resources, amazing rock formations and so much more.

Sunsets are more amazing paired with the landscape of Nevada. Photo courtesy of Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas’ Facebook account.

Traverse an Amazing Scenery

Red Rock Canyon offers a 13-mile long scenic drive, which visitors may tour through a car or a bicycle. The drive comes with multiple scenic stops and trailheads. If you choose to take a tour of the place through your bike, there are designated paved roads and trails for you. As you go around the area, you would be able to see different species of flora and fauna.

Learn the variety of flowers you can see in the Mojave Desert. Photo courtesy of Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas’ Facebook account.

Hiking and Climbing

Looking for a challenging hike or trail? You would definitely want to visit Red Canyon Cove. The place has 26 hikes and trails. It features a maze of canyons, peaks, ledges, chimneys, chutes, and gullies, giving you the opportunity to make your ultimate hiking or climbing experience! But if you’re a novice in hiking or climbing, don’t fret! There are designated trails for you too.

Interested to take this adventure now? Go for it, but just don’t forget to wear a helmet. Be wary of the falling rocks and debris as well as loose gravel as you make the most of the moment in the place.

Now, if you only have one day to spare in this place, we advise that you leave at night time. The view of the sunset and the sky turning dark is nothing short of spectacular! It’s one great way to end your vacation and prepare for your grind the following day.

There are individual and group shade structures available throughout the campground, by the way. There are drinking water faucets around the area for your convenience too.

Explore Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas and you might see a rainbow in one of their scenic views. Photo courtesy of Red Rock Canyon Las Vegas’ Facebook account.

Feel Alive at Red Rock Canyon

When was the last time you took a break? When was the last time you did something for yourself? If you can’t remember anymore, maybe it’s time that you do. Taking a step back is oftentimes what we need to take a step forward. Be grateful to live as you feel alive at Red Rock Canyon.

Bootleg Canyon

Are you looking for something distinct and entertaining, but away from the Las Vegas Strip? We have one in Boulder City that might be the perfect candidate for a one-of-a-kind experience. It is conveniently situated in 1027 Canyon Road in Boulder City, Nevada, just between Sin City and Hoover Dam.

The park is called “Bootleg Canyon”, sometimes referred to as “Bootleg Las Vegas”. It is a world-famous mountain bike park in the River Mountain Range, which includes Red Mountain and Black Mountain. Bootleg Canyon has a vast array of geographical features of volcanic rocks and offers some impressive rockscapes of different colors, together with the remarkable view of Boulder City, Lake Mead, and Las Vegas.

Challenging Trails

Bootleg Canyon is known for its trails that were mostly designed and built by Brent Thomson, a local artist in the early 1990s. It is now the site for hiking and mountain biking trails. It consists of 24 trails, which have over 36 miles of single track and a lot more unofficial trails. There are a lot of challenging trails. You can start with the easier – the flat ones, to the more extreme ones.

An adventurer doing one of the biggest gaps and fastest jumps in a trail at Bootleg Canyon.

There are popular trails called Girl Scout, Boy Scout, West Leg, East Leg, Inner Caldera, Middle Lake View, POW, Connect, Skyline, Dual Slalom, Caldera and GS Connect to name a few. There are trailheads that will lead to those courses. The most popular trailhead is “The Gazebo”, named as such because of the large covered area projecting over the trailhead.

Outstanding hiking trails, beautiful lake views, best mountain biking in the country

It offers paved parking, covered picnic tables, separate bathrooms/showers for ladies and gentlemen and even drinking fountains. The second one is the River Mountain Hiking Trail Trailhead. This is being used by bikers more than runners. It has paved parking and uncovered picnic table, unlike in The Gazebo. There are a whole lot more for you to discover and enjoy once you visit the park.

More Than The Trails

Aside from the trails, it also has been inhabited by a variety of desert animals. The most special is the herds of Big Horn Sheep that can also be witnessed using the very trails the park is well-known for. It also has a Zipline, which is ideal for first-time visitors and nature lovers. Just check for tours and packages that include a professional guide if preferred.

One of the views you’ll see when you Zipline at Bootleg Canyon.

Great Bootleg Canyon Experience

Reviews from Google and TripAdvisor are 5-star ratings. See what some people had to say about their experience:

Diverse & challenging trails & sweeping views. Some services such as a restroom & water are offered.
-Marisa B (Google)

I live in Boulder City and my brother started Bootleg Canyon and built great trails. It is challenging for advanced riders but also has trails for beginners. Must for those looking for a great place.
-Vegastravelr (TripAdvisor)

Bootleg Canyon is an incredible place. There are more trails than you can count! There are bathrooms, shower, shaded picnic area, great signage, and lots of upgrades to give the area a nice feel. If you like mountain biking you must try this place. June-August is very hot. Stay hydrated!!!!!
-Jeannine B (TripAdvisor)

One of the contenders at the Nevada State Champs in Bootleg Canyon last 2016.

The Park is open year-round. Don’t forget to warm up, pack sunscreen and a lot of water if you are planning to visit. For those who are into mountain biking, it is best to visit from April until September. Your trip will not be complete without a snap of the big bike welcoming you, so don’t forget to take a selfie!

Lake Mead National Recreational Area

Las Vegas and its nearby towns are rich in amazing places. Sometimes, we go away to have fun and relax. We tend to lose ourselves in partying at clubs or going to concerts, yet what we really need is to refresh the soul by visiting beautiful scenic sights. Just 30 minutes away from The Strip is Lake Mead National Recreation Area. It is a recreational area that spreads across 1.5 million acres of mountains, canyons, valleys, and two lakes. It’s for boaters, swimmers, fishermen, hikers, photographers, campers, and sightseers. National Park Service operates Lake Mead National Recreational Area.

The beautiful scenic view of Lake Mead National Recreation Area.

The park, located in southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona, which includes Lake Mead and Lake Mohave is accessible all year-round. Lake Mead is a large reservoir held by the Hoover Dam while Lake Mohave is a reservoir impounded by Davis Dam.

The Historic Railroad Trail is a national recreation trail.

One of the great places to go in the park is the Historic Railroad Trail. For instance, it is the only remaining section of the Hoover Dam Railroad system that is not highly disturbed or underwater. You can see information about the tunnels taken from the National Park Service’s website:

  • The first tunnel is around 1 mile from the trailhead.
  • The fifth tunnel is around 2.2 miles from the trailhead.
  • The elevation change from the trailhead to the fifth tunnel is about 11 feet.
  • After the fifth tunnel, the trail continues another 1.5 miles to the Hoover Dam Parking Garage. The elevation change between these two points is around 445 feet.
  • Total distance = 7.5 miles (12 kilometers) round trip.
You can explore the Historic Railroad Trail that provides panoramic views of Lake Mead.

Fun Fact

Based from the website too, a section of the railroad was used in the motion picture “The Gauntlet” starring Clint Eastwood and Sondra Locke for a sequence in which they were on a motorcycle being chased by an assassin in a helicopter.

The park has nine wilderness areas. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages some of the wilderness that lies outside Lake Mead National Recreational Area.

Here Are Some Tips When Visiting Lake Mead National Recreational Area:

  • Engage in outdoor activities early in the morning or in the evening during summer.
  • Don’t forget to wear sunscreen and hydrate when engaging in outdoor activities.
  • Wear hiking shoes and avoid open shoes if you will participate in hiking activities.

It is undeniable that Las Vegas gains tourists because of the numerous casinos, shows, concerts, and shops it has. People should be reminded that one of the uniqueness of Vegas is that it is located in the desert, surrounded by parks with wonderful weather throughout the year. Exploring the outdoors should be on the list of every tourist. Finding solitude just takes a trip to the Lake Mead National Recreational Area.