Explore Artist's Palette at Death Valley National Park



2 miles

Route Type


Added by Greg Harlow

Explore around the Multi Colored badlands of the "must see to believe" geological formation in Death Valley.

Let’s just start this off by saying,  PREPARE FOR THE HEAT.

Death Valley has the highest recorded temperature on earth at over 130 degrees Fahrenheit.  If you are planning to visit in the summer…be ready.  Luckily,  Artist’s Palette is not far from the parking the area and the saving grace of Air Conditioning in your vehicle.

Visiting in the early spring or late fall is recommended,  where temperatures will stay around the 90’s.

You will take a one-way, 9 mile drive through the Amargosa Mountains and some of the most diverse geology on the planet.  The drive is quite fun,  as there are steep dips and turns,  somewhat resembling a rollercoaster track.  

You overlook Badwater Basin,  a gorgeous valley for sunset colors,  and I suggest hiking Artist’s Palette at around sunset,  as you will see long shadows and golden light reflecting off colored dunes.

There are trails,  but no limits as to where you may want to wander.  

This unique erosion pattern is called an alluvial fan.  It is a cone shaped deposit of sediment built up by Death Valleys volcanic period 5-20 million years ago,  and has since been victim to the elements,  weathering away 5000 feet of debris. 

The incredible palette of colors is caused by the oxidation of the different metal and mineral deposits revealed by the violent erosive combinations of heat, wind, and rain.

Iron, Mica, and Manganese are the main culprits creating a diverse color scheme of green, purple, pink and yellow. Manganese is the most magnificent and strange contributor to Artist’s Palette, as it takes on a turquoise green tint.

I suggest wandering to your hearts content,  bring a ton of extra water,  and DEFINITELY don’t smoke any hippy lettuce as you let your mind and body wander through one of earth’s most dramatic locations. 

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Know for

Rock Climbing
Easy Parking
Family Friendly



Leave a Review

Artist Palette

Great roadside stop. We went into the “Palette” to explore a bit and it was awesome. The only thing I’ll say is in order to see the colors well, go during sunrise or sunset. We went during the peak of the day when the sun was bright, and the colors weren’t as noticeable or vibrant.

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Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on.

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