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Death Valley National Park can best be described in superlatives: it is both the hottest and driest park in the USA and, at 282 feet below sea level, is the lowest point in North America.

Badwater Basin, Death Valley National ParkIts extreme temperatures make it best visited in the winter, when snow caps the mountains and the low light gives the desert a golden hue. Spring is another good time to visit when over 1,000 species of plants burst into flower bringing the landscape to vivid life. During the height of summer heat creates a shimmering mirage so it is highly recommended that sightseeing takes place just after dawn or before dusk.

The main villages in the park are Stovepipe Wells, located near the Panamint sand dunes, and Furnace Creek, home to the park's visitors' centre. The park's most unusual sights are found south of here. These include Artist's Palette, an eroded hillside covered in intensely coloured reds, golds, greens and blacks.

Further south lies Devil's Golf Course, a field of salt pinnacles, whilst Badwater is a 30-foot wide pool of water loaded with chloride and sulphates. From the pool two four-mile walks cross the hot valley floor and descend a further two feet to the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere. Dante's View, further on, offers wonderful vistas of the wide parched desert floor and the Panamint Mountains.

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Map of Death Valley National Park

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