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Watch the sunrise from Dante's View at Death Valley (panoramic views & optional hiking)

Inyo County, California

Details

Distance

1 miles

Elevation Gain

800 ft

Route Type

Out-and-Back

Description

Added by Wendy Zhao

Catch the sunrise over the salt-covered basins and mountain ranges of Death ValleyLocated only two hours by car outside of Las VegasFind pure solitude and beauty here, as Death Valley is the largest yet least visited national park in the lower 48For snow-cover peaks and a fresh winter breeze, visit in the winter (e.g., January)

Whether you camp within Death Valley or stay at a nearby town, getting up early to experience the sunrise over the lowest point in North America is an unforgettable experience. It's not for the faint of heart. Depending on where you are staying, catching the sunrise requires getting up before the crack of dawn and dealing with the low desert night temperature. However, having done this, I wouldn't hesitate to do it again

How to prepare for the sunrise (overall logistics)

1) Check the time of sunrise. In the winter, sunrise is at ~6:30am. Based on that, determine when you will leave your campsite or lodging. Please make sure that you map your route with estimated time to Dante's View, instead of just the Death Valley National Park. The park is massive and it takes 30 min - 1 hour to reach a location. Make sure you account for traveling time within the park

2) Watch the milky way above the dessert land. As you drive towards the park, there'll be a good portion of the road with no lights nor signs of civilization. Find a good spot to pull off the side of the road and watch the stars!

3)Strongly recommend that you route this trip on your GSP or Googlemap before departing. Within ~1 hr of the park, you will no longer have cell signal. Once you get to the turn off to Dante's View within the park, note that the drive up gets a bit windy at times

SAMPLE ITINERARY: We departed from Las Vegas, having stayed on the Strip after finding a $50/night rate at the Stratosphere (Pro tip - check for cheap, last minute, off-season rates on the Strip if you are coming from Vegas). The drive would take ~2 hrs so we left at around 4am. About 1.5hrs into the drive, we pulled off the side of the road and watched the stars outside. There was no lights out there...just the stars, the cold winter air, and silence of the night

Dante's view parking lot (direction)

1) Once you make the turn from the main road in Death Valley to the side road leading to Dante's Point, the drive to the top should take about 15 min. You'll pass an RV lot first. Continue driving up. Near the top, you'll see a "parking" sign with a parking lot accompanied by toilet facilities. Do not stop here either. Keep on going a bit further to the lot at the very top. There should be panels there with descriptions of the mountain ranges.

2) I recommend parking your car to the left of the information panels for the best view of the mountains + basin as the sun rises over the valley. If you do so, the sun will actually come up behind you (you are facing West)

Optional hike: to the left of the information panels, there is a clear overlook with a path that goes down. This is an optional hiking route that you can explore once the sun is completely up and the air is a bit warmer. We continued down this path for about 0.8 miles. It is extremely steep and thus few ventures beyond. Walk to the tip of the track and you can actually continue down the ridge from there! Please note that the route is not maintained and require high level of caution and proper shoes if you do want to venture down

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Features

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
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