Located in the Mojave Desert, Death Valley encompasses much of the Death Valley National Park. Although regarded as the driest and lowest place in North America, Death Valley offers a variety of outdoor activities, historic sites and nature viewing.
From snow-capped mountains to colorful sand dunes, the unique desert landscapes of Death Valley are like no other place in California. Places of interests include the scenic vista of Zabriskie Point and historic sites like Scotty's Castle, the Wildrose Charcoal Kilns and ruins of ghost towns.
Death Valley is a desert valley located in Eastern California. It is the lowest, driest, and hottest area in North America.
Death Valley's Badwater Basin is the point of the lowest elevation in North America, at 282 feet below sea level. This point is (136.2 km) east-southeast of Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States with an elevation of 14,505 feet. Death Valley's Furnace Creek holds the record for the highest reliably recorded air temperature in the world, (56.7 degree C) on July 10, 1913. This has been contested by other weather experts.
Death Valley is one of the best geological examples of a basin and range configuration. It lies at the southern end of a geological trough known as Walker Lane, which runs north into Oregon.
Death Valley has a subtropical, hot desert climate, with long, extremely hot summers and short, warm or mild winters as well as little rainfall. As a general rule, lower altitudes tend to have higher temperatures. When the sun heats the ground, that heat is then radiated upward, but the dense below-sea-level air acts as a blanket and reflects the heat back.
In addition, the high valley walls trap rising hot air and recycle it back down to the valley floor, where it is heated by compression.