One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen is looking down at Badwater Basin from Dantes View in Death Valley National Park. Looking down the 5760 feet in elevation change to the salt flats covering the lowest spot in North America with snow capped Telescope Peak towering behind is just breathtaking.
This view is something that should be the reward after a grueling all day hike. Instead it’s a short stroll from the parking area at the end of the 8 mile Dantes View Road.
I hope you get a taste from this video and I encourage you to see for yourself. rk
Everyone has heard of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, right? I thought it would be interesting to look at the Seven Natural Wonders of the United States. Since I haven’t made it to Alaska or Hawaii yet, I will narrow this down to the Seven Natural Wonders of the Continental United States. Each of these places is magnificent and has been protected by our National Park System
- Crater Lake – Crater Lake, located in Oregon, is the deepest lake in the United States with a depth of 1949 feet. When measured by average depth, Crater Lake is the deepest in this hemisphere and 3rd deepest in the world. Crater Lake was formed when a volcanic caldera filled with water over hundreds of years. This lake is also known for its extreme water clarity.
Crater Lake (photo credit to guest photographer and friend, Katie)
- The Everglades – The Everglades are the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States. Covering 1.5 million acres in southern Florida, this area is also known as a river of grass. The Everglades used to consist of over 3 million acres before much of the area was drained for farmland in the early 1900’s. This area is home to alligators, manatees, and the Florida Panther.
- The Giant Sequoias and Redwoods – These enormous trees in California are the tallest and largest trees in the world. These two species are closely related. The Redwoods can reach heights of 375 feet and diameters of 25 feet. The Giant Sequoias can reach heights of 275 feet and diameters of 30 feet. These trees truely must be seen to be believed.
Redwood trees in Muir Woods 15 minutes north of San Francisco
- The Geothermal Features of Yellowstone – Located in northwest Wyoming, Yellowstone is an unearthly place. The first explorers of the area brought back tales of exploding geysers, colorful pools of hot and poisonous water, and boiling mud that were not believed. We now know that this area sits upon a super volcano that will one day destroy much of North America when it erupts again. In the meantime, it is a beautiful and mesmerizing place to visit.
Hot spring in Yellowstone National Park
- Death Valley – The commonly held image of Death Valley is of a swelteringly hot wasteland. While it is true summer temps here can top out at 130*F, there is a lot to be amazed at here. Badwater Basin in the center of the park is a giant salt flat and at 282 feet below sea level is the lowest point in North America. Telescope Peak rises directly behind Badwater Basin to a height of 11043 feet. The only population of the rarest fish in the world exists in Death Valley. There are less than 200 Devil’s Hole Pupfish left.
Badwater Basin in Death Valley
- The Arches of Utah – The highest concentration of rock arches in the world is in Utah. Arches National Park has over 2000 arches alone with thousands more spread out across southern Utah. Landscape Arch spans 290 feet. Rainbow Bridge boasts a height of 290 feet. Delicate Arch is arguably the most famous in the world.
Mesa Arch in Canyonlands National Park
- The Grand Canyon – The Grand Canyon is the only member of this list that is also one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. It is located in northern Arizona and was carved over a millennia by the Colorado River. The Grand Canyon has a length of 277 miles, width up to 18 miles and a depth of 6093 feet. To appreciate the Grand Canyon in all of it’s glory you will want to hike or mule down to the Colorado River.
Sunrise at Mather Point in the Grand Canyon
I had a few odds and ends from our recent trip to Death Valley NP that I thought I would share. I hope you enjoy the pictures and notes from each:
Ashford Mill was our first stop in Death Valley NP. It was notable for that reason. We were really excited to get out of the car.
We had an interesting encounter with a strangely friendly coyote on Hwy 178 in the southern portion of the park. We stopped so we wouldn’t hit it, and it then tried to follow us down the road. We joked that it was either Wile E. Coyote dazed from one of his crashes or more likely folks had been feeding him and he was now mostly tame.
Badwater Basin is a real highlight of Death Valley NP. It is amazing how far out the salt flat extends. The juxtaposition between the valley floor and the snowcapped Telescope Peak is breathtaking.
The Devils Golf Course is an odd feature very near Badwater Basin. The sign says these features were formed by wind and rain. They are surprisingly high, maybe 12-18 inches off of the ground.
Close up picture of the salt crystals at The Devils Golf Course.
This panoramic picture from Dante’s View doesn’t do the actual view justice. Get up here at sunrise or sunset for amazing views.
The Ubehebe Crater area is a must see at Death Valley. This series of volcanic craters dating back about 2000 years is a fun place to hike. You can easily access each of the craters in this area by a series of trails. I think this crater pictured is of Little Ubehebe Crater. The largest crater (Ubehebe) is 1/2 a mile across and 500 feet deep.
The long road leaving away from Stovepipe Wells heading west.
If you enjoyed this, please take a look at several of our “Sunday Hikes” features from our time in Death Valley NP. Thank you! rk