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Photographing the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Death Valley, California

4.9/5
based on 8 reviews

Description

Added by Tiffany Nguyen

No official trail to get to the dunes so you can venture out as far as you wish. Check for sunrise and sunset times as this is when the lighting on the dunes is at its most striking. Dunes are surrounded on all sides by stunning mountain ranges. Make your way to the highest peak and have a cold one during sunset with some good company.

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are the most photographed dunes at Death Valley National Park. To reach the dune’s parking lot from Furnace Creek, drive 22 miles west on Highway 190. Three miles before you reach Stovepipe Wells, the dunes will be clearly visible from the road and you’ll turn right into the parking lot. There’s no official trailhead to get to the dunes so follow the path of least resistance toward the dunes to make your hike as comfortable as possible. If you’re like us, you’ll want to get to the dunes with the highest peak to get the best views, which is about a quarter mile trek.

The best time to photograph the dunes is during sunrise or sunset when the dunes cast shadows creating a stunning contrast. With the right lighting, the dynamic shadowing on the dunes makes all the difference in your photos. It’s not uncommon to see sandboarders taking advantage of the smooth faces of some of the taller dunes. No permit is required for sandboarding at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Carrying your board up and down the dunes can be pretty punishing in the desert sun but, it’s definitely worthwhile. The dunes are constantly changing and their appearance can vary quite a bit depending the season and the wind conditions. Bring some drinks and enjoy the view!

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Features

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

Reviews

We went to the dunes for sunset and sunrise a couple of days apart. There were great colors at both times, and by visiting in the winter we had great weather. The dunes are a little far from the Furnace Creek area, so make sure you head over early to get there in time for sunset.

Just park your car, grab your gear and take off into this empty canvass for you to make a shot of the impressive dunes with the backdrop of the mountains. Sunset was when I visited and it gave color of purples and pinks against the sand. It was also really quiet which was a added plus.

Hiked up the dunes for sunset, which was beautiful. The sand makes it tiring but, most people can get to a high peak just fine.

Got to mess around these dunes while I was in Death Valley in December. I highly suggest going during the winter so the temperatures are a lot more bearable. And sunsets from the dunes are definitely are a can't miss!

To avoid the summer heat, the alternative way photographers do is going out at night :)

By far one of the coolest parts of Death Valley. The beginning of the dunes can get crowded but if you are able to get past the crowds the views get even more amazing. Be sure to bring water even if you're not planning on being out long as this hike can drain you pretty fast.

When you visit the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley, it will be hard to believe that you're still in California. The views here look amazing, especially during sunset. Be prepared for an intense leg workout! Climbing up the dunes was very hard and tiring. But the view was definitely worth it. Bring a mat so you can lay on the sand. After sunset you would want to wait for the night sky to view the stars.

Sunset is no joke here. We visited in the dead of winter and the lighting was absolutely perfect. Definitely trek a little further than the others to get the shots you want.

Walk just a little farther...you will find a point at which the footprints end..and there you will find photographic bliss.

Leave No Trace

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

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