Death Valley National Park

It is not possible to fully understand the July heat when in Death Valley National Park without experiencing it for yourself.  It’s the kind of heat that takes your breath away and feels like you are in an oven.  But the scenery is also breathtaking and otherworldly which makes it well worth a visit. Undoubtedly, summer is not the most ideal time to visit Death Valley if you want to hike or camp so we made do with one day during out Southwest road trip.  (Click here to see our basic road trip itinerary.)Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

To start our visit, we stopped at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to watch the park interpretive video, pick up Junior Ranger packets and to get some advice from the park rangers about how best to visit.  Because of the heat, they advised us to tour by car and get out for short periods of time to see the sites.  We focused on the eastern portion of the park since we were only visiting for the day and decided to head to Zabriskie Point, the Devil’s Golf Course, Golden Canyon and Badwater Basin.

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

The unusual scenery in Death Valley National Park is quite beautiful and the contrast between the hard stark earth and the bright blue sky was gorgeous. In a way I am glad we visited during the hottest time of the year as it was definitely an experience I won’t forget but I also hope to visit Death Valley National Park again during the cooler months as the terrain begs to be explored and the stark beauty of the park was awe inspiring.

Death Valley National Park

Bad water basin Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

If you go to Death Valley National Park-

-I can not stress enough how important it is to have an abundance of water with you during a visit at any time of year, but especially in the intense heat of summer.  While water is available at the Visitor Center, the park is huge and you could go a long while without a water source so it is essential to bring more than you think you need. We brought 8 gallons of water with us for our one day visit and drank every drop.

-Have protective clothing on hand such as a hat, long sleeve shirt and sunglasses.  Sunscreen is essential as well. The sun is intense! To help keep cool we were grateful to each have a Polar Pad Cooling Towel which worked wonders to cool us off.

-Summer is off season in Death Valley for obvious reasons, and the dining options in the park are minimal in July.  We packed a picnic and ate in the shade of some tall trees near the Visitor Center. 

-Know your limits. Make sure to take it especially easy when experiencing the intense heat of Death Valley.  Extreme temperatures can be dangerous and even deadly so plan your activities accordingly.

Have you been to Death Valley National Park?  I totally loved it even in the heat of summer.  What did you think?

Happy Travels!

Death Valley National Park


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Written By

I love to plan family travel adventures with our four kids. Encouraging time in nature, National Parks travel, backpacking and hiking are my passions and I love to write about them.


  • I have also visited in July. I was a firefighter for 15 years and never experienced heat quite like that. I can not imagine how early miners in the area worked in that environment! One of areas we visited (Salt Creek) the temperature registered 129 degrees. You are absolutely correct in advising carrying lots of water. Lack of preparedness has been fatal for people in the past. That aside, the area has it’s own unique beauty.

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