With an elevation of 282 feet below sea level, Death Valley is the lowest place in the United States. Summer temperatures in the valley commonly run about 120 degrees Fahrenheit, with the highest temperature ever recorded coming in at a sizzling 134 degrees. Daily highs in the winter months run in the 60s and 70s.
Death Valley has three campgrounds that are open year-round (Emigrant, Furnace Ceek, Mesquite Spring and Wildrose), two that are open spring to fall (Mahogany Flat and Thorndike), and three that are open from fall to spring (Stovepipe Wells, Sunset and Texas Spring). Fees vary from free to $16 a night. Pets are allowed throughout the park, but must be on a leash at all times and never left unattended.
There are more than 3 million acres and more than 350 miles of dirt roads available for backcountry camping, where the recommended means of transportation is a four-wheel-drive vehicle. Wilderness campgrounds are free and required by law to be situated at least 200 yards from any water source. Campfires are not allowed in the backcountry.
Ghost Towns and Old Mines
There are at least a half dozen ghost towns and several abandoned mines within the park. All these places are considered a "living museum," where remnants of the past can be looked at, but not touched.
Death Valley is open year-round, with summer providing extreme desert conditions at the lower elevations. Due to the large range in altitude, higher places in the park (6,000 feet and above) can experience snow accumulation and severe winter conditions.
The entry fee for the park is $20 per vehicle for one week. This fee includes all passengers. However, an individual on foot, bicycle or motorcycle will be charged $10 a week.