My name is Shirin and I am an Iranian American living in the Pacific Northwest. Welcome to my journal where I share my travels throughout the PNW and beyond!
You will find travel itineraries, PNW bucket list hikes, and PNW weekend getaways, road trip ideas, and more! My aim is provide travel options for the working professional living in the Pacific Northwest to take advantage of your free time and get out in this big wide world!
February 28, 2023
Looking to spend one weekend in Death Valley? Look below for the most recommended hikes and what to expect.
Now, one weekend in Death Valley is barely enough to touch the surface. Death Valley is huge, and each hike offering a unique terrain. I also understand that a weekend trip with family versus friends versus with kids looks very different. I did this weekend trip with a large group of same-age peers who had different fitness levels. We had one group who did the shorter trails, and one group that did the harder routes. Regardless of the trail, both groups were moved by their one weekend in Death Valley.
Before talking about the hikes there are a few important things to note:
1) Know the season before you go. Death Valley holds the record for the world’s hottest temperature so you may want to avoid Summer. On the other hand, the desert can also get incredibly cold and windy. So be prepared and know the weather conditions before planning.
2) Cell reception in most national parks is unreliable. You will want the maps downloaded before hand. I use AllTrails or Gaia, as well as paper maps. At the visitor center they will also give you a map. If you absolutely need service, you may have luck at Furnace Creek or Stovepipe Wells.
3) There are different lodging accommodations within Death Valley ranging from camping to hotels. Within the park you can also find gas and food in case you need it, however Death Valley is HUGE. I suggest always having extra water, food, gas and a spare tire on hand.
For lodging options within the park, you can look into: Panamint Spring Resort, Oasis at Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells or various camp spots.
4) Just like any other national park, dogs are not allowed on the trails.
5) Bring sunscreen!
Now.. on to the hikes!
-Wake up and eat breakfast! On short weekend trips, I usually try to take full advantage of all my trips. That means I am always on the go and taking advantage of every minute of daylight. For that reason, I usually eat lots of high calorie and protein snacks throughout the day. This way I don’t spend an entire hour for breakfast and washing dishes.
–Zabriskie Point is a must for all. I would start with this. If you are a photographer you will want to check this out before sunrise. Zabriskie Point is an easy that will take about 10 minutes to hike.
-If you’re looking for an easier day, I would then leave and drive to the below places. If you’re wanting to hike a bit more, I would suggest continuing the 2.7 mile loop from Zabriskie Point to Golden Canyon Trail. Golden Canyon Trail is incredibly unique and filled with bright golden badland looking formations!
-Regardless of whether you hiked Golden Canyon Trail, next on the list is to drive the 2.7 mile one way dirt road along Twenty Mule Team Canyon Road. You will see this canyon as your on top of Zabriskie Point.
-Next, Drive to the iconic Dante’s View Overlook. This is a unique area because you can see both the low and high peaks from summit.
-Drive to Badwater Basin. This is the lowest point in North America and one of the most unique geographical areas.
-Hike the Natural Bridge Canyon Trail. This should take less than one hour.
-Drive the one way road through Artists Palette. Imagine a colorful desert that looks like it’s out of Narnia. This is usually best at sunrise or sunset, especially for photographers. For the sake of this itinerary, this will be your sunset drive!
-Finally, it’s time to eat a tasty dinner!
-Start the day with breakfast and a full gas tank!
-Once loaded with calories and fuel, make your way to the Mosaic Canyon Trail. Expect 2.5 hours round trip and rocky wash formations within the canyon.
– After that, visit the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. One of the few deserts in North America that make you think you’re in the Sahara Desert. I would make sure you start this early in the day and have sunglasses on hand. If you choose to do this later in the day the sand may be too hot for the bottom of your feet. Also, be prepared for some huffing and puffing. Walking in rolling sand dunes is extremely exhausting.
-Finally, end your day at the Ubehebe Crater. You will literally feel like you are in Mars. There are many hiking options around the crater, or you can choose to use this as a lookout. If you choose to hike you can either hike: to the bottom on the crater, around the crater rim, or to little Hebe (my recommendation). Little Hebe will lead you to an up close small crater.
-As you are just visiting for the weekend I am sure your day has come to an end. You will sadly now need to pack up and head back to your final destination.
All in all, I hope you enjoy your one weekend in Death Valley.
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