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California Camping in the Beautiful Desert of Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a beautiful California camping spot with vast landscapes, wonderfully clear night skies, diverse geological features, historic sites, and a wide range of desert animals and plants. It is the largest U.S. park in the lower 48 states and is the sixth largest of all 50. Badwater Basin is the second lowest spot on Earth at 282 feet, second only to the Dead Sea. Since the Park has over 3 million acres of deserts and mountains, there are many things to see and many places to go.

For a Woodall's approved California camping site, visit one of these California campgrounds.

Death Valley National Park is open year round. However, it is often thought of as a winter park because of the searing heat during the summer. Spring time is also very popular since the weather remains tolerable and all the beautiful wild flowers are bluming in the desert. When winter bring rain to the driest park in the U.S., spring often follows with vibrant flowers not usually seen in the blistering hot, and very dry land. Summer gets an early start in the desert and generally arriving in May and bringing higher temperatures that are unbearable for most visitors. The average temperature in May is around 85 degrees Fahrenheit, soars up to 115 degrees in July, and finally cools off again to 85 in October. The cooler winter and spring months bring temperatures down between 50 and 80. The park averages less than 2 inches of rain a year, most of which falls between November and March.

Death Valley is so hot and dry primarily because of its location, shape and depth. Four separate mountain ranges stand between the Valley and ocean, and with each mountain range weather passes through, the less water there is for the Valley. When clouds finally do reach Death Valley National Park, they have already deposited most of their water on the mountain ranges. The length and depth create a trap for hot air. As the hot air rises, the tall valley walls trap it, forcing it back down. As the already hot air sinks back down, it is heated further by the low elevation air pressure, creating heat pockets. The combination of the dry, sparsely vegetated ground absorbing and releasing heat with the high valley walls that trap the heat in the basin keeps the valley hot, rarely dropping below 85 degrees on a summer night. This is why it is often referred to as a winter park, but many visitors do go during the hotter months. The park charges a $20 fee to enter the park, which is good for 7 days. An annual pass for Death Valley National Park is $40, while a national annual pass that gets you into most national parks is $80.

With over 3 million acres of wild land, Death Valley has a lot to offer. From hiking and mountain biking to bird watching and many ranger lead programs, there is something for everyone. To fully enjoy everything the park has to offer, it's best to have at least a few days to spend. The wild park allows for many excellent hikes and biking trips. It is important to limit the impact you have on the park so that it can be preserved for future generations. There are also a number of ghost towns throughout the park left over from the Gold Rush days and they vary in size, history and preservation.

Scotty's Castle is an excellent attraction in the northern part of Death Valley. Built in the 1920's, it is nestled in the green oasis of Grapevine Canyon and is considered to be an engineer's dream home. Modern technologies have been implemented to help preserve the castle, but guided tours will bring you across technology that was very advanced considering the time, and location, of the build. Guided tours of the home and its underground tunnels are available daily, and tickets are required.

Tickets for the main part of the house for an adult are $11, seniors (62+) are $9, children 6-15 are $6 and children 5 and under are free. A guided tour is the only way to see the interior of the house, although you can go on unguided tours of the grounds. To see the underground tunnels beneath the hose, you do need to purchase a seperate ticket at the same prices. Buying them together at the same time will save you a $1 off each ticket. With so much to offer, Death Valley National Park is a great California camping destination.

To locate a Woodall’s approved campground, visit one of these California campgrounds.

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