Recently, a large number of burros have been seen in the Wildrose area. We have had a few near-misses with vehicles, and urge visitors to use caution while traveling along the Wildrose and Emigrant Canyon roads! Burros, also known as donkeys, are not native to Death Valley but are remnant populations brought here by early prospectors. Despite the sparse vegetation, burro populations have exploded here, especially around springs in Saline Valley, Butte Valley, and Wildrose. Invasive burros have had a large impact on fragile desert springs and ecosystems. They also aggressively defend their territory, and are known to keep native species like Desert Bighorn and other wildlife away from water sources. Park management is working with a non-profit no-kill sanctuary to help control burro populations through humanely capturing animals and transferring them to facilities where they receive medical care, training, and are adopted out. Please do not feed burros or disturb trapping pens; drive slowly on the winding roads near Wildrose as they are frequently in the roadway. Stay in your car, as they can be aggressive! Photo: burros standing in the roadway 📸: death_valley_knight
From the white salt flats at -282 ft, to red paintbrush blooms at 11,000 ft and the nearly constant blue skies above, Death Valley is proudly showing its colors this #IndependenceDay . Also sharing a friendly reminder that fireworks are not permitted within the park. Additionally please travel with flexible plans in mind, as Mahogany Flat and Thorndike campgrounds have been filling along with higher altitude trailheads. Wishing everyone a safe and happy #4thofJuly ! Image: an American Flag composite using pictures of clouds in a blue sky, white stripes from salt flats and red stripes from red flowers.
Have you seen Death Valley dust storms? This park can experience strong wind events, which pick up the fine dust and sand from places like the Mesquite Dunes and blow it across the valley floor. Sometimes the blowing dust is so thick it blocks out views of the mountains!. We have experienced a few of these dust storms in the past weeks, but mercifully they came without damage. Pictured here is a relatively small dust storm from this summer, blowing towards Furnace Creek. We would love to hear your stories if you've witnessed this too! Image: clouds over the desert, with a wall of dust at the bottom. 📸: NPS/J. Jurado #duststorm
This weekend, Death Valley opened access to more areas of the park, and staff welcomed visitors back. Unfortunately, not all our visitors chose to #RecreateResponsibly , and Park Law Enforcement Rangers had to respond to numerous incidents. This weekend alone there were over 8 miles of new off-road driving scars added to the park, stuck vehicles, drug use, a DUI, and a strenuous search and rescue in 120 degree heat. . With extreme summer heat, incidents like this not only can cause damage to the park, but also risk the lives of visitors and park first responders through increased exposure to the furnace-like conditions of the valley floor in summer. . While considering a trip to Death Valley, please plan ahead for current conditions, avoid areas with extreme heat warnings, and follow park regulations -- they are in place to protect you, the experience of your fellow visitors, and this incredible park! . Image: a red truck stuck in soft soil (taken this weekend ) 📸: NPS #staycool #hikeearly #stayonroads
Park Update! Death Valley National Park is expanding access to areas of the park as part of its phased reopening plans. These plans are based on local, state, and national guidance. As of today, all park roads will begin to reopen (examples: Dantes View, Badwater, Artist’s Drive, Emigrant, Wildrose, Ubehebe, Devils Hole, and backcountry dirt roads ). Campgrounds at Furnace Creek, Emigrant, Wildrose, Thorndike, Mahogany, Mesquite Flat, and Saline Valley, as well as dispersed camping. Please note that given the distances involved, it might take a few days for staff to fully open all gates and remove all barricades as we work to open a park larger than the state of Connecticut! Driving around gates or barricades is strictly prohibited and enforced, but you may walk into those areas. Entrance fees are required. Pay kiosks can be found near park entrances and in campgrounds that have nightly fee. Only debit/credit cards are accepted at this time. At this time, Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station remain closed, as do the Saline Warm Spring soaking tubs. Please also note the extreme temperatures associated with visiting the valley in summertime. The park had its first 120-degree day in May, and temperatures continue to be a health risk. Please finish any low to mid-elevation hikes before 10 a.m. to avoid potentially deadly heat illnesses. (We know how excited people are to return to the park, but we want to make sure your trip is full of positive memories! ) Visitors are also encouraged to bring their own hand washing supplies as well as face masks (which are required by the county to be used in indoor spaces ). For more details on current closures and phased reopening plans, please see: https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/conditions.htm For trip suggestions for summer visits, please see: https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/summer-visit.htm Image: Death Valley Entrance Sign 📸: NPS/Kurt Moses
Happy National #PollinatorWeek ! We are taking a moment to celebrate the bees, beetles, butterflies, birds, moths, wasps, flies, ants, bats, and a whole host of others that ensure that flowering plants, from avocados to zinnias, carry on to the next generation! We would love for you to help us celebrate pollinators by adding comments of some of your favorites (or favorite plants that they help )! Photo: a bee with pollen sacs on its legs, on the yellow stamens and white petals of a Prickly Poppy flower. 📸: courtesy of J. Jurado
Happy #FathersDay from Death Valley National Park! Today we take a moment to recognize and thank the dads and father figures who have helped instill a love of nature and culture through national park travels with their loved ones. Image: a father and daughter looking through a Junior Ranger book 📸:NPS/Kurt Moses #juniorranger
The colorful hills of Zabriskie Point have long been a favorite! This is just one of many popular points along the CA-190 and Daylight Pass roads that have reopened this week for day use. Just a friendly reminder that all other roadways within the park are still closed -- driving around barricades is strictly prohibited and enforced as rangers continue to patrol these areas. More information about closures can be found on our website, www.nps.gov/deva. When visiting the park please, #recreateresponsibly , give other visitors space, and bring a mask to wear within buildings to comply with county regulations. Thank you to @chanthachacknick for letting us share this photo! Image: colorful weathered hills at sunset 📸: @chanthachacknick #sunset #zabriskiepoint
Park Opening Update! Death Valley National Park is beginning its phased reopening plans, increasing opportunities for visitors along the main road through the park, CA-190. Overlooks, trail heads, bathrooms, and limited other facilities are now opening along this road. Currently open sites are for Day Use only. In another few weeks, the park plan to being the process of opening additional roadways (examples: Badwater, Dantes View, Wildrose ) as well as some camping opportunities. More details on what is open now and what will open in the next phases can be found at https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/conditions.htm. If you are planning a visit to Death Valley over the next few months, please plan ahead for the extreme heat that summer brings. Learn more about visiting safely in the summer at https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/summer-visit.htm. We thank our visitors for their patience and understanding as we have worked to navigate this pandemic with the health of visitors, staff, partners, and our local communities as a topmost priority. Image: park entrance sign 📸: NPS/Kurt Moses
“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.” –Sarah Williams We hope this brings you a moment of calm, inspiration, and wonder as the beauty of Death Valley's night skies captured by @jessicacepelephotography made us fall in love with the stars all over again! NOTE: original post edited. Originally we incorrectly attributed this quote to Vincent VanGogh, based from a museum’s web site that was incorrect. We have corrected this error and thank our followers for holding us to the highest standards. Image: milkyway rising over polygons of white salt crystals 📷: @jessicacepelephotography #darkskypark #starrynight
California tortoiseshell butterflies are another splash of color that can be seen around Death Valley National Park! This species is known to have population explosions that can cause them to migrate to new areas, bringing their shimmer of orange. To learn more about butterflies in Death Valley, visit our website at: https://www.nps.gov/deva/learn/nature/butterflies.htm Image: a black and orange butterfly on a purple flower Image credit: J. Jurado #butterfly #californiatortoiseshellbutterfly
Hoo are you looking at? This long-eared owl was spotted recently by staff near Wildrose Campground, where it kept a watchful eye on the photographer! While these are not well known owls, they live in areas with dense vegetation and an ample supply of deer mice, kangaroo rats, snakes, and lizards to feast on. We would love to hear of some of your favorite wildlife sightings in the park! Image: a large brown owl on a tree branch looking at the camera. Image credit: courtesy of C.Rohe #owl #longearedowl #wildlife
Oh, hi! This prickly poppy looks to be popping out to check out the views on the other side! This #WildflowerWednesday we celebrate prickly poppies: nearly every surface of these plants is sharp and repelling, from prickle covered stems to spike-like leaves, and yet it produces a delicate tissue paper thin flower that we can't help but enjoy! Image: a white flower angled through a metal fence. Image location: Father Crawley Vista. Image credit: NPS/J. Jurado
On this #MemorialDay , we take a moment to pause and reflect on those who gave their lives for our nation, whether deployed overseas or here at home. The rugged landscape of this park has been a training ground for top military pilots for over a century, and few months ago in July we lost one of these heroes within the park when a training flight turned fatal. Today we take a moment to honor the life and service of Lt. Commander Walker and the countless other dedicated, talented, and brave heroes who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Image: F/A-18 from Lemoore Naval Air Station which was where Lt. Commander Walker served and the type of aircraft he flew. Image credit: Courtesy of Brian Emch
Sharing a little beauty with the world! While checking up on remote areas of the park, rangers came across this blooming Mojave Mound Cactus at Aguereberry Point. We think it has one of the most spectacular views! What are some of your favorite Death Valley vistas? Feel free to share pictures in the comments below! Image: red flowers on a cactus, overlooking desert scenery. Image credit: NPS/J. Jurado.
Daring to dream! Death Valley Ranch ("Scotty's Castle" ) started out as a dream vacation home in the desert hills of Death Valley, and slowly became a reality for the Johnsons and their friend Walter Scott. Last winter, special junior ranger programs used this as an inspiration, and creative kids built their own special desert dream castles! If you're dreaming of the deserts of Death Valley yourselves, we challenge you to get creative and draw, build, or dream of your own desert vacation home, and and share some of your favorite imagined features in the comments below! Image: a compilation of the castle-like Death Valley Ranch with cardboard cut out castles in desert scenery.
Do you have an amazing hi-res picture of jets flying at Death Valley? We are looking for photo donations that could be used for an exhibit! We are specifically looking for images taken at Father Crawley vista of military aircraft flying through Rainbow Canyon (aka "Star Wars Canyon" ). Ideally the picture would feature aircraft and visitors (like pictured here ), with resolution of 3500x2100 pixels or greater. Please submit any pictures to DEVA_Information @nps .gov by May 25th for consideration. (And because we know you'll ask, no, we don't have any information about when military flights might resume at this popular viewing place. ) Image: military jet with silhouetted people in foreground, made to look as if viewed through a camera lens, with words "Attention Photographers! Want to see your pictures on exhibits?"
Did you know? A mother scorpion carries her new offspring on her back for several days until their exoskeletons and stingers fully develop. Once they are ready, the baby scorpions (aka scorplings! ) hop off her back and head out on their own. One problem though- if the mother scorpion hasn't been able to find enough food, those babies become fair game, and often she will eat them if they don't get away quickly enough! If you still need to find a gift for your mom, her favorite snack might be the safest bet... Today, we celebrate mothers for all they do for us! Happy Mother's Day from all of us at Death Valley National Park! Image: A scorpion covered in small babies on the ground. Credit. J. Jurado
No weekend plans yet? Consider participating in Migratory Birding Day tomorrow! Saturday, May 9th is the Global Big Day when birders around the world race to document as many species of birds within a 24 hour period and submit their lists to eBird. Observations of backyard birds are equally valuable and can contribute to the understanding of global bird populations, so even while staying at home people can help this project! Pictured here are American Avocet, which specialize in ephemeral wetlands in the arid western states. They have been sighted in various parts of Death Valley this spring. We hope that you join many of us who will be birding from our own back yards! #migratorybirdday #GlobalBigDay #backyardbirding Image: a flock of black, white, and tan colored birds standing on pavement surrounded by desert. Image credit: NPS
Things are heating up! We hope wherever you are, you are enjoying good weather and those gentle signs of spring. Here in Death Valley, we first hit 100 degrees Fahrenheit on April 22nd, and broke 110 degrees a week later. Now that scorching temperatures have arrived in the valley, the desert will undergo some big changes as the plants and animals prepare for a hot summer. Many of these creatures have unique ways of adapting to the desert extremes, and we look forward to sharing those with you during the long, long Death Valley summer days! In the mean time, we hope you are sheltering somewhere a little cooler!
"May the Fourth be with you!" National Parks have many stories to tell, from rich history to spectacular resources. Death Valley also has stories about... telling stories! Including when this place set the stage for what was to become a pop-culture icon: Star Wars. Sharing the stories of a park is one of the many roles of a park ranger. This past February, Ranger Gray and her family helped share a chapter of the park's history in a special Star Wars themed program -- given just twice, it drew in over 300 visitors to Golden Canyon to watch, listen, and learn! And Death Valley National Park will continue to be the stage for stories to come, from future films to the stories our visitors will write of memories made and shared on their social media or told over campfires to family or friends. As together we help tell and write stories for this park, please make sure to do so in a way that will not damage or degrade this treasured experience for future visitors and story tellers. To learn more about Death Valley's starring role in the Star Wars franchise, visit our website at: https://www.nps.gov/tripideas/star-wars-tour-of-death-valley.htm Images: a ranger with people in Obi-wan and Jawa costumes. #maythefourthbewithyou #starwars #stories #maythe4thbewithyou
With warming temperatures, conditions are perfect for reptiles to bask in the sun. This behavior helps raise their internal body temperature and stimulate their metabolism both before and after meals. For some lizards, these meals include small rodents, bugs and smaller lizards. Others are omnivorous, adding creosote, brittlebush, beavertail cactus flowers and other plants to their diet. 1st image: male long-nosed leopard lizard basking on top of a rocky shelf. 2nd image: female Desert Iguana, who is either pregnant or has eaten a lot of creosote and brittlebush flowers. 3rd image: female Great Basin collared lizard basking on a rock. All images: courtesy of C. Rohe. #reptile #lizard #wildlife
Pronghorn may be some of the newest residents to our park! While on patrol, rangers have recently spotted a herd of these quick-footed animals and at least one lone male exploring the park, likely the result of a migration that has been years in the making. While pronghorn have been witnessed in the park on occasion for the past two years, this increase in their presence suggests these graceful creatures may become long-term residents of the valley. If you happen to see pronghorn in the wild, please remember to view them at a distance! They are famously shy and easily stressed animals. #wildlife , #pronghornantelope
Most of our employees here at Death Valley National Park have been teleworking as they shelter in place. However, there are still folks working in the field to care for our park's resources and tackle some essential projects, and we wanted to share a bit of what we have been doing during the park closure: Picture 1: Law enforcement rangers continue to patrol the entire park to ensure the safety of park resources, respond to emergencies, and enforce closure violations. Credit: NPS/K. Moses Picture 2: Almost every public restroom in the park is getting a fresh coat of paint during the closure. During normal operations, these kinds projects are difficult to complete without causing inconvenience to our visitors. Picture 3: Typically, the Furnace Creek Visitor Center is open every day of the year, including holidays. This makes it difficult to clean or make certain repairs that would normally disrupt the visitor experience. During the closure, our maintenance crew completely stripped and waxed the floors throughout the building. Picture 4: A microburst storm damaged the roof of a building at the Mesquite Springs campground. A maintenance crew is hard at work replacing the roof and repainting the building. Picture 5: While campgrounds are closed, NPS staff are thoroughly cleaning all sites and fire pits of accumulated trash and debris. A friendly reminder to all- trash goes into the dumpster, not your fire pit! Picture 6: Essential personnel who work in the field are fit tested for N95 respirator masks. To test if masks are properly fitted, the employee puts on the plastic head cover and are exposed to a strong smell. They move their heads and bodies around while talking. If at any point they sense the test smell, their ventilators are refitted. We hope you have found positive things to accomplish during the pandemic, and look forward to the day when we can invite people to safely return to the park and enjoy this beautiful place together (although we do not yet have a date on when that will be ). Until then, we continue working every day to protect Death Valley and its many resources for the future. #socialdistancing #flattenthecurve #weareallinthistogether