Updated: Apr 25
Places You Can Reach on a Prius
Travel locally! Spring break is a great time to travel throughout California. It's not so cold anymore yet it's not hot. This year I'm exploring Death Valley National Park on my Prius. Though I couldn't reach some fun places, I had an amazing experience traveling in Death Valley. If you don't want to rent a 4WD off road high clearance vehicle or don't own one, follow me! We stayed at Pahrump's Saddle West Casino Hotel for 2 nights, and it was the closest place at a great price. Pass to Death Valley park is $30 and valid for the whole week.
You probably heard that Death Valley is the hottest and lowest place in the US. It's one of the largest National Parks in the US with 3.4 million acres of land. No wonder there are so many awesome things to do here. Some day I'll return here on a 4WD car and see sailing stones, Titus Canyon, and Darwin Falls. So, here are 15 things you can reach on a regular city car:
The best view ever! The feeling is just cosmic. You can see the Bad Water Basin and mountains, so beautiful! It's better to come here on the sunrise or sunset, the colors just unbelievable. You can simply enjoy it from the top or go on a small hike around.
2. 20 MULE TEAM CANYON
This was my favorite canyon, my kids loved it too! It's a one way road drive and reminds me of a "Cars" ride in the Disneyland Adventure Park. So fun with so many unexpected twists and turns. Be careful and drive slow, it's an unpaved road.
3. ZABRISKIE POINT
It's an easy walk from the parking lot to the view point. The view is fantastic! You may also check out a cult movie with the same name :) Recommended to enjoy with a pinch of a sunset.
4. GOLDEN CANYON AND GOWER GULCH
It's a nice hike about 3 miles round trip. You can explore some small side canyons and cracks and enjoy a breathtaking view from the red cathedral at the end of the trail.
5. ARTISTS DRIVE AND ARTISTS PALETTE
Artists Drive is a one way 9 mile drive through a beautiful landscape with many stops to hike and take pictures. Must see spot is an Artists Palette - rocks colored with different bright colors - eye candy!
6. NATURAL BRIDGE
It's not a super exciting hike her or I'm just tired? I went all the way till the end, but you can stop and do some pictures by the natural stone arch. The condition of the arch is kind of concerning, there are so many big cracks, so Next time I'm here this natural wonder may not exist anymore. Worth to visit anyway.
7. BAD WATER BASIN
If you want to visit a lowest place in North America -this is here. It seats 282 feet below the sea level and it's salty. I even tasted salt, I earned my salt lol. It's the most visited spot in Death Valley. No wonder I had to do a lot of Photoshop here to take out crowds from the picture.
8. MESQUITE FLAT SAND DUNES
The far from the parking lot the quieter it becomes without people walking far on a loose sand which can be tiring. This place is so much fun for kids. My boys jumped from dunes, looked for the animals' traces, and made sand angels. It's a paradise for photographers, though you need to travel pretty far from your car.
9. OLD STOVEPIPE WELL
While you walked around sand dunes and it made you tired, just stop by an Old Stovepipe Well - a historical landmark. Please, don't litter!
10. KEANE WONDER MINE
When you have your little explorers with you, this spot worth to check. You just need to take a cautious ride on an unpaved road, and you are here. Feel free to hike and explore, but don't go near, the structure is unstable.
11. UBEHEBE CRATERS
Oh boy, this place you have to visit! It's not only a breathtaking view, it's a nice hike in all directions you would like to go. It was crazy windy, so stay away from the rim. There are two craters: large and small. Yes, it was an active volcano one day. The largest of two craters has a beautiful star shape.
12. RHYOLITE GHOST TOWN
It's not within the boundaries of the National Park, but must visit place. Today you can find several remnants of Rhyolite’s glory days - 1920s. Some of the walls of the 3 story bank building are still standing, as is part of the old jail. The train depot (privately owned) is one of the few complete buildings left in the town, as is the Bottle House. The Bottle House was restored by Paramount pictures in Jan, 1925. The ghost town of Rhyolite is on a mixture of federal and private land.
13. STOVEPIPE WELL TOWN
Not many things to do, but if you are super hot from the Sand Dunes and need some gas, it's a place to hang on. Grab ice cream or brain freezing slashes in the middle of hot.
14. MOSAIC CANYON
This is a beautiful canyon to hike. Take an unpaved road right after Stovepipe Town, and you are here. The beautiful smooth white stone and pretty views will accompany you.
15. FATHER CROWLEY OVERLOOK
While leaving the park, you may do the last thing - stop and enjoy the view over the Rainbow Canyon - Father Crowley Overlook. It's simply beautiful and a good thing to do since the exit is going to be very long.
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