Death Valley National Park

Solve Nature's Mysteries in Death Valley

Posted April 16, 2010 by Jaclyn Liechti

Death Valley Despite the unwelcoming name, millions of visitors head to Death Valley National Park each year. The extreme heat during the summer (an average of 115 degrees in July) may be intimidating, but more comfortable temperatures during the spring, fall, and winter attract adventurous travelers. Spread across three million acres of land, the park holds wide open deserts, stunning canyons, the lowest point in North America on the salt flats of Badwater Basin, and even a castle. Visitors to Death Valley should take precautions such as bringing plenty of water, ensuring their cars are filled with gas (since gas stations are few and far between and cell phones have no signal), and bringing a map (as GPS units do not always work).


The Racetrack: A visit to Death Valley wouldn’t be complete without a trip to the Racetrack playa, the source of a much-debated mystery. The dry lake bed received its name from the rocks that move around the playa, leaving behind strange trails (up to 1,500 feet long), but no explanation. Although several theories have been formed explaining how the rocks—some up to a foot tall—travel, nobody has actually seen them in action. The best views of the stones are found on the southeast corner of the playa, about two miles south of the Grandstand.

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(Photo: iStockphoto/Jon Larson)

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