Death Valley 2016

Where is Death Valley? What makes it famous?

Death Valley, a California desert near the Nevada state line, is North America’s hottest and driest area. Although Death Valley hardly ever receives rain, during our 2016 visit, it had just received a few days of rain, which made the scenery extra special.

Death Valley became famous for a party of pioneers who tried to find a shortcut from Salt Lake City to California in 1849. Instead, they were attacked by Paiute Indians at the bottom of this barren but colorful desert. In the wake of the assault, the hearty pioneers killed their oxen, burned their wagons to cure the meat, then headed west on foot. Thirteen died during this arduous journey, though the rest succeeded in reaching California.

Death Valley is also known for mining, which started soon after gold was discovered in California. Later the Valley became a significant Borax production center. In 1933, Death Valley was declared a national monument – nearly 1.9 million acres (7,690 square kilometers) in California and Nevada. In 1994, it became a national park.