The desert is no Disneyland. With its scorching summer heat and vast, sparsely populated tracts of land, it's not often at the top of the list when most people plan their California vacations. But the natural riches of Death Valley—the largest national park outside Alaska—are overwhelming: rolling waves of sand dunes, black cinder cones thrusting up hundreds of feet from a blistered desert floor, riotous sheets of wildflowers, bizarrely shaped Joshua trees basking in the orange glow of a sunset, tiny pupfish that enthrall youngsters, and a silence that is both dramatic and startling.
- Roving rocks Death Valley's Racetrack is home to moving boulders, an unexplained phenomenon that has scientists baffled.
- Lowest spot on the continent Stand on the lowest spot on the continent at Badwater, 282 feet below sea level.
- Wildflower explosion During the spring, this desert landscape is ablaze with greenery and colorful flowers, especially between Badwater and Ashford Mill.
- Ghost towns Death Valley is renowned for its Wild West heritage and is home to dozens of crumbling settlements including Ballarat, Cerro Gordo, Chloride City, Greenwater, Harrisburg, Keeler, Leadfield, Panamint City, Rhyolite, and Skidoo.
- Naturally amazing From canyons to sand dunes to salt flats and dry lake beds, Death Valley serves up plenty of geological treasures.