Van Life In Death Valley National Park, California


Thanks to Kristen Bor from Bearfoot Theory, we we're intrigued by this national park. We were heading down to Arizona from Chico, CA and saw that this park was on the way. We figured why not stop for a couple days and check it out. All we have to say is that this national park is one of our favorites so far. We stayed for two nights in Panamint springs and did the park in a day. We figured we wanted to share with you our itinerary so that you can go out and do this park in a short amount of time if you'd like. Although we really wish we had more time to stay there and a 4x4 vehicle to see some of the more remote spots, but with what we experienced in a whole day we had an amazing time.

WHERE TO STAY: We stayed at Panamint Springs Resort, but we found out that a lot of the campsites in the park were free! We definitely think that's great, but at Panamint Springs, we got free hot showers, had the place to ourselves, and there was a bar across the street with prickly pear margaritas. Can't beat that for just $10.00 a night.

BEST TIME TO VISIT: We visited on December 14-16. We arrived to Panamint Springs on Monday and took the day to relax, take a shower after 5 days of no showering, work on our business plan with no distractions which was great because there was no wifi and got to enjoy some margaritas followed by a campfire photoshoot.. On Tuesday we woke up early in the morning and made breakfast followed shortly by heading to the park. There were plenty of people visiting but no where near what you'd expect on the weekends. It was a good 72 degrees out, so being from up north we wore tanks and shorts. 

OUR ITINERARY: Honestly, we felt like this itinerary was the best; you could do in just 1 day and the times of day we chose for each one we're perfect. Especially with little daylight time in the winter.

10:00 AM- From Panamint Springs it took about 50 minutes to arrive to Furnace Creek. From there we paid our park fees, checked out the visitor center and grabbed a map to see where we wanted to go next. We spontaneously chose the most interesting places and set off.

11:00 AM- Our first stop was the devils golf course. This place was insane because the rocks we're so jagged and sharp they were a little scary to walk on.

11:45 AM- Next we drove south to the Badwater basin which is the lowest point in the United States at about 280ft below sea level. We walked out for a bit while we ate a snack.

12:45 PM- Next we turned around and decided to go through the artists drive. We stopped a bunch of times to climb on rocks and hike down the canyon washes.

3:15PM- By this time we we're pretty tired from walking all day and the sun definitely zaps the energy out of you. We parked at the golden canyon and made some food in our van with the door open looking out to the valley.

4:00PM- Next we decided to hike through the golden canyon. We had no idea why this was called the golden canyon because we just happened to see it on our drive and stop off, but we quickly figured it out once the sun started to reach golden hour. HIGHLY recommend doing this at golden hour just before sunset. The colors were absolutely phenomenal. 

After our hike, we had a plan to go to the Mesquite Flat Sand dunes for sunset, but we discovered that the night we were there was during the Gemini Supermoon and that it would be the last brightest moon of 2016. We read on map that the most magical time to visit the dunes was during a full moon. They said it was magical.......

5:30-7:30- MAGICAL MOONLIGHT HIKE During sundown, we walked until we found a good spot, and all of a sudden the moon was rising over the mountains and it was so bright. Being able to hike in moonlight was an amazing experience. We grabbed blankets, our camera gear and tripod, and used our Hydroflask to pour a bottle of wine into so we could watch the sun go down, and the moon rise. Honestly, this was the best part of the whole day. We had no idea that this day was a full moon so it was quite the surprise to experience such a beautiful phenomenon.

We can't recommend this park enough, if you have a van, or car camp..definitely visit this place. We are hopefully going to come back here with a 4x4 sometime to check out the remote areas. 

Stay tuned for our next vlog which will be sharing our experience through video. Please subscribe to our channel so that you'll be the first to know when it is up. Thanks for checking out our photos.