Being nearly 8000 miles away from my family, there was no other way to celebrate the long Thanksgiving weekend than going camping! Death Valley was an obvious choice. It’s nearly 5 hours away from my place in west LA, so this 4 days break is perfect. Although I’ve been to Death Valley National Park once before back in February, Dante’s View and Zabriskie Point were the two main landmarks  that I skipped out.

Zabriskie Point in late afternoon.

Zabriskie Point is a popular viewpoint in the park due to its easy access from the parking lot, unique rock features even by the standard of Death Valley, and close proximity from Furnace Creek (the central area of Death Valley).

overview

Where: Death Valley National Park, Central California
How To Get There: Viewpoint located on HWY 190 about 5 miles east of Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Ranch.
Amenities: Toilets, parking area, paved walkway to the viewpoint
Trail: well maintained short trail around the viewpoint

My friend had a great idea that we should rise early for a sunrise view. I naturally agreed and Zabriskie Point was merely minutes of driving away from our base at Texas Spring Campground.

We got up at 5am and headed out to the point. We weren’t surprised that there were already 5 cars in the parking lot- many dedicated photographers here. When we got there, the sun was still far below the horizon and the moon was still shining bright in the sky. We knew it was almost time as the stars were disappearing fast.

Moon rising over Zabriskie Point

We picked a spot facing where the sun will come up and I got a few good shot of the moon with my new DSLR camera (still learning how to use it), which is a huge step up from my lovely Galaxy S3 camera.

When the lay of light started to touch the top of Telescope Peak, I moved to face the actual Zabriskie Point and was completely stunned by the illuminated pink lights behind the orange glowing peaks with still a few sparkling stars in the sky. It was all worth the early rise.

Sunrise at Zabriskie Point with pink light illuminated behind Death Valley Mountain Range.

Dozens of tourists joined us to appreciate this amazing sight. It was a busy weekend, and I made me want me to come back after New Year when the crowd calms down so I’ll have the 3.4 million acre park more to myself.

Several photographers lined up to take photos of the Zabriskie Point during Sunrise.

We spent a total of 2 hours at the viewpoint, and it was the best way to end an epic weekend of camping before heading home. Death Valley, see you again soon.

Sunlight hitting the top of snowcapped peaks. View from Zabriskie Point.

daytime images of Zabriskie Point

Hikers walked down below the viewpoint area.

more on Death Valley National Park

Written by Snook

I do one cool thing every weekend!

6 comments

  1. Hi Snook! I am camping at Death Valley this weekend for the first time. Which part of the park do you recommended camping at and do you have any tips for first-time campers at this site? Thanks in advance, and happy holidays!

    1. hey cyndi,

      So jealous that you will be heading out there!

      I suggest that you try to stay at either Texas Spring (first come first served) or furnace creek campground (reservation required). Because these two campgrounds are centrally located near the main attractions in the park that you probably want to go as a first timer.

      No matter which direction you enter the park from, these two campgrounds are most likely closest.

      If your goal is to go to ubehebe crater, the racetrack playa and scotty’s castle, you may consider Mesquite Springs campground which is a lot closer to them. This campground is also a lot more quiet and the last to fill up generally.

      As a first timer, i suggest that you look at the map of the park and give yourself a reasonable time to do everything you want to do. death valley is the largest national park outside of alaska. At 3.4 million acres, you shouldn’t expect to see everything in one visit. You can enter and exit the park at different point, which is great so the scenery changes a lot.

      I think that the highlights that you should see on your visit are zabriskie point, dante’s view, badwater basin (lowest point in the U.S.), and Artist Drive. Of courses, there are million other things to do and see but these places are nearby each other so you can do them in a loop.

      Lastly, i suggest that you enter the park from HWY 190 and exit via HWY 178 at Shoshone. So this way, you see two different sceneries.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.

  2. Thank you so much for this information! I really appreciate the help and your death valley posts! This may be my last question for this trip: what address did you put in your gps? The website for death valley suggested 328 Greenland Blvd, Death Valley 92328. I just hope that it’ll be easy to navigate to the park from that address

    1. Hey!

      The GPS from Google Map is 36° 27.182′, -116° 51.822′

      If you just type in Death Valley into GOogle Maps, it should navigate you to the right location.

      You may want to type in Furnace Creek, CA because that’s the town inside of the national park.

      The address that you have is also correct. Greenland is a road inside of the furnace creek resort, i think.

      Have fun and feel free to ask any other questions.

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