Updated: Mar 27
If you like the idea of camping, exploring new landscapes, sand dunes, volcano, canyons, and hiking like me, than go visit Death Valley. I arrived in Death Valley National Park on Thursday December 5th, 2019 in the afternoon and left the park on Saturday December 7th in the morning. So in total I was in Death Valley National Park for about 2 days. 2 days is enough time to see all the main highlights of the park. I like to hike fast also, so I was able to fit in a lot of hiking during the time I was there. Here is my 2 days itinerary in Death Valley National Park.
ABOUT MY ITINERARY
This itinerary works best if you are driving your own vehicle and entering the park through the town of Beatty. This itinerary is for camping in the park for 2 nights. And is for people who enjoy doing a lot of walking and hiking with little breaks. My goal in Death Valley National Park was to try to fit in as many hikes as I can within the time I had there.
Itinerary Map: Below on the map are all the places I visited in Death Valley National Park all pinpointed out. Each location has many things to do and see.
Day 1: Thursday December 5, 2019
I arrived through the entrance to Death Valley National Park in Beatty. I got there in the afternoon around 1:30 pm. The first thing I did while arriving was taking a photo of the welcome sign. Once you get into the park from Beatty you will be driving on Daylight Pass Rd, after a few minutes of driving you will arrive at a small visitor information stall where you can pay the park entrance fee. Once you arrive at the junction continue on high 190 towards Furnace Creek. Just before arriving at Furnace Creek is Harmony Borax Works, which is a short walk to see an old mining site. Furnace Creek is where the main visitor center is located and where many people camp for the night, there are also 2 resorts located there. I decided to spend both of my night at The Ranch at Death Valley resort in their campground. Because I was living in my van and needed a place to shower and use WiFi. If you stay at there campground than you will have access to their swimming pool and shower and be able to use the WiFi. The first day was not as crazy busy, instead I spent some time talking to other campers and talking to the park rangers to figure out what hikes I wanted to do.
Day 2: Friday December 6, 2019
I had a lot planned for the day, so I made sure to set my alarm early and got up before sunrise. My first destination for the day was to drive to Ubehebe Crater. Furnace Creek to Ubehebe Crater is just over an hour drive away. I managed to get to Ubehebe Crater by 8 am, and did the Ubehebe and Little Hebe Crater Trail which took me about 40 minutes to do. I left Ubehebe Crater at about 9 am and headed over to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. I got to there around 10:15 am and the sand dunes were so cool and went on for a long time, I ended up spending close to 2 hours exploring the sand dunes.
After the sand dunes I decided to head over next door to Stovepipe wells, as I heard the gas prices are a lot cheaper there than at Furnace Creek. It's true the gas prices are much cheaper, so after filling up on gas there I headed back over towards the direction of Furnace Creek. Pass Furnace Creek is the start of Golden Canyon Trail head, I got there around 12:15 pm. I spent a long time here as it is the most popular hiking spot in the whole park. I hiked the Golden Canyon trail to Red Cathedral, and over to Manly Beacon and down Gower Gulch. I was there for just over 3 hours hiking.
After all of that hiking at Golden Canyon it was close to 4 pm. From there I drove down Badwater Rd to go to Badwater Basin. It is a fairly short drive from Golden Canyon to Badwater Basin. Badwater Basin was busy and the parking lot was full. Everywhere else I visited on this day was not busy at all. At Badwater Basin it is about a 15 minute walk to get out towards to salt formations and another 15 minute walk to get back to the parking lot. The walk is all flat thought, so it was easy. After exploring Badwater Basin it was started to get late and the sun was going to set. Since it is winter the sun sets very early just before 5 pm. But before heading back to the campground at Furnace Creek, I went to visit Artist's Palette as it was on the way back. Artist's Palette was interesting with the different colors on the rocks. Over all the day was filled with amazing adventures and memories and I made it safely back to the campground 6 pm.
Day 3: Saturday December 7, 2019
Before leaving Death Valley National Park there was still one hike that I wanted to do, which was Zabriskie Point and the Badlands Loop. I didn't get up as early today as there was not as much that I needed to fit in for one day. I arrived at Zabriskie Point around 10 am,and from there headed straight off to the Badlands Loop trail. The Badlands Loop trail took me under 2 hours of exploring and hiking. And than went up to see Zabriskie Point which is just a short walk from the parking lot. After all of that it was pass 12 pm, I than decided to make my way out of Death Valley National Park by continuing on highway 190 to my next destination.
SOME THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE GOING ON THE TRAILS
I had no cell service for the majority of the time in Death Valley National Park. The only place that I got a bit of service was in Furnace Creek, but it was very limited. Don't expect to be able to make any phone calls or send text messages. And if you are hiking alone or if there is not a lot of people on the trail than I highly recommend having a satellite phone with you while hiking for emergency help. Having a GPS will be helpful too, since if you were to get lost you can than easily find your way back out. I recommend picking up a paper map from the visitor center as back up as well. Remember to fill your gas up regularly. The park is huge and has a lot of driving to do, and you do not want to be stuck somewhere without gas.
I visited the park in the beginning on December, and I found that to be a perfect time to visit. The weather was comfortable at night for camping in a van and day time temperature were highest at 23 degrees Celsius. It was not very busy at all, and most of the campgrounds had a lot of space available. You can visit Death Valley National Park in the summer time, but be prepared to sweat a lot and skip the hikes as it will be dangerously hot.