Death Valley National Park

Campsgiving 2016

Some friends and I decided to #optoutside and go camping over the Thanksgiving holiday. It was a long drive (about 9 hours from San Francisco), but worth the fun. For Thanksgiving, we had a potluck dinner. On Friday, the guys were in charge of breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner. The gals took charge of the food for Saturday. It was a fun way to break up the cooking duties. We also modified the drinking game Thumper to include sound effects. The results were hilarious. Try it on your next game of Thumper. Overall, this trip was full of fun, food, and funny friends. I urge you to rally your crew and head out for some outdoor fun.

Campsite:

Texas Spring Campground – This is the best campground for Death Valley in my opinion. It is centrally located near the visitor center. Sites are $16 per night and include a fire-pit, picnic table, water, and flush toilets. There are 92 sites available first-come, first-served during the high season. We arrived at about 10:00 AM on Thanksgiving morning and we got the LAST site available by sheer luck. We were driving down the different rows of campsites near the back and snagged the last one right before another car had just turned down the same row.

The sites, however, are pretty stacked next to each other. Our campfire was near a huge tent with a family of four, and holy cow did the dad SNORE! I’d be surprised if the family got any sleep between us laughing around the campfire and their dad. Also on one night, I felt like I was surrounded by a snoring orchestra. I couldn’t fall asleep from the cacophony of snoring slumber until my buddy started snoring in our tent and drowned out everyone else. A lot of campers left Saturday morning, and we had a whole new set of neighbors for Saturday night. We invited a couple of them over to hang out by our campfire.

At night, make sure to climb up to the top of the small hills surrounding the camp and do some stargazing. Death Valley is one of the premier places for stargazing and you can get some majestic views of the Milky Way.

Points of Interest:

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes – Definitely one of the major highlights of the park. We spent half the day here sand sledding and climbing dunes. Pro Tip: Use snow saucers instead of cardboard. Scenes from Star Wars: A New Hope were filmed here.

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Sand Shredding Crew on Black Friday
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To Sled or To Shred
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Dune Gang

Badwater Basin – A popular attraction that attracts a lot of visitors. It is the lowest point in North America. Interestingly, the highest point in the contiguous 48 United States, Mt. Whitney, is also nearby.  Definitely venture past the walkway and walk out into the basin.

Everyone Wants a Photo at Badwater Basin
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The Lowest of the Low
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The Long Walkway

Devil’s Golf Course – Another cool site to visit. You have to drive a little over a mile on a gravel road to reach it. The crystallized salt formations are pretty neat, but can also be very sharp. Ooh Ahh…Ouch.

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Not An Actual Golf Course

Golden Canyon – This was the longest hike we did. The loop is just over 6 miles and allows you views of Manly Beacon and Zabriskie Point. Scenes from Star Wars: A New Hope were also filmed here.

Some Fun Slots to Climb Down in Golden Canyon
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Lunch Break with a View on the Golden Canyon Loop
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Looping Out of Golden Canyon

Other Points of Interest:

Mosaic Canyon

Artist’s Drive

Titus Canyon

Ubehebe Crater

Dante’s View

Rhyolite, Ghost Town

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