Death Valley is a misnomer. Situated in the adjacent states of California and Nevada, Death Valley National Park has, in fact, been a place of life and living for tens of thousands of years. It has been home to Native Americans since at least 7000 BC, and is also home to various species of animals, including wild dogs called ‘coyotes’, and kangaroo rats, which can survive their entire lives without water.

looking for gold

So where does its name come from? The name Death Valley was given to the area by a group of European-Americans who passed through the park while traveling west to participate in the California Gold Rush in 1849 — because one of the people in the group died there.

the hottest place on earth

Today, Death Valley is the largest national park in the contiguous United States, the driest and lowest national park in all of the US, and the hottest place on Earth. It has an area of about 7,800 square kilometres, with its lowest point in Badwater Basin, at 86 meters below sea level, and its highest point on the desert mountain of Telescope Peak, which is 3,454 meters high. Last year alone, the park had a maximum recorded temperature of 54.4°C.

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drink water

More than a million people a year visit Death Valley to explore the park, go hiking, climbing, and camping, and see the dramatic night skies. While many find it uncomfortable to cope with the extreme heat, provided they keep hydrated and follow the recommendations, the outstanding beauty of this valley outshines its grim reputation.