A few weeks ago, I took a crazy spontaneous road trip to Death Valley. 19 hours of driving over the course of 3 days. But it was National Park Weekend! Gotta capitalize on that free admission. Looking back, the admission fee was only going to be $25…I probably would have been willing to pay that for a few extra hours of sleep…and maybe a chance at some more detailed trip planning. Oh well, still no regrets! The drive to Death Valley was 8-ish hours one way with no traffic. So we broke it up in two chunks. We left Friday after work (always a bad idea) and got to the halfway point near Bakersfield around 12:30am. Around 1am we decided that we wanted to get to the park for sunrise, which was around 6am. With another 4 hours of driving left, that meant we had to leave at 2am. So on 30 minutes of sleep, we hit the road again.
Not gonna lie, the drive to Death Valley was quite possibly the worst drive I’ve ever done. And I wasn’t even the one driving. We were both starting to doze off, and there were literally no other cars on the road. It was pitch black and the roads were super windy. I’m happy we made it there alive, to be honest. Never again. We cut it pretty close too. We got there just as the sun started peeking out. Any later and we wouldn’t have been able to see the glorious shades of pink dancing across the hills. I highly recommend watching sunrise at Zabriskie’s Point. Hopefully you’ll be driving from a closer starting point than we were, though. The rock formations are absolutely breathtaking. I’ve never felt quite so small. And I mean that in the best way. Soak in the landscape around you and marvel at nature’s masterpiece! It’s not too crowded early in the morning either, so you’ll be able to find a nice spot to enjoy the scenery. I hear sunset is gorgeous too, but since we had to drive 4 hours to get back to the halfway point, we didn’t want to stick around that late. Maybe next time 🙂
The rest of the park I’ll share in a separate post. Zabriskie’s Point was definitely my favorite. Driving between scenic points within the park took quite some time, so keep that in mind when you’re planning out your day. On the bright side, there were parking lots and bathrooms at all the scenic points we stopped at. The park itself is huge and it gets really hot really fast, so I’d recommend doing as much as you can in the morning. We were actually out of the park by 2pm, and we got to see a lot! That’s actually another reason we decided to go spontaneously that weekend. I hear that starting in May, the heat gets unbearable, so since we only had 2 weekends left in April….well…YOLO 🙂