Death Valley is one of the harshest environments in North America -- even the world. It's the driest, hottest and lowest (many areas below sea level) of America's National Parks. It's been over 30 years since I visited Death Valley, these photos taken before it was a National Park.
In the summer temperatures routinely exceed 100°F (38°C), and can top 120°F (49°C). So it's best to avoid the summer heat and travel to Death Valley in the winter months, as we always did when visiting the park. Beware that winter nights are often quite cold and windy, although day time temperatures are pleasant.
One of the most popular spots to visit in Death Valley is Badwater Basin, a large salt flat and the lowest elevation in North America at -282 feet (-86 m) below sea level. Normally you won't find any water here, but we'd visited after a winter storm so we lucked out to find this pool in Badwater.
Golden Canyon is a popular hiking spot within the park, where you'll find bright yellow rock and narrow canyons. The three photos above are from the Golden Canyon area.
I've always enjoyed just driving around Death Valley and taking in the unusual colors and stark appearance of the mountains.
Scenes from some of the Star Wars movies were filmed in Death Valley, for obvious reasons.