Death Valley may not sound inviting, but roughly 1.3 million people visit this landmark per year. The views and hiking trails in Death Valley are like nothing else in the United States. So, what is the best time to visit Death Valley?
The best time to visit Death Valley is from mid-October through March because of the comfortable temperatures. Summer is a dangerous time to visit Death Valley because temperatures can exceed 114 degrees during July and August. You can avoid crowds if you go to Death Valley between December and February when it is cooler and fewer tourists visit.
You need to value safety before you visit Death Valley. Extreme heat and challenging trails can be physically taxing, so it’s important to check the weather before you head out. Follow along as we explore the best time to visit Death Valley.
Worst Time to Visit Death Valley
Mid to late summer is the worst time to visit Death Valley Because of the extreme heat. You won’t be able to spend too much time outdoors during the day because it is so unpleasant. It can get as hot as 116 degrees between July and August in Death Valley.
Park closures are common during the peak of summer because of the dangerous hiking conditions. Heat strokes and dehydration are both major health risks during the summer in Death Valley. The extreme heat isn’t enough to keep tourists away from Death Valley as nearly 228,000 people visit each summer.
Cheapest Time to Visit Death Valley
You can save the most money if you visit Death Valley in the spring and early summer. Hotel room rates and airline tickets are the most affordable during this time. However, you don’t want to wait too long as mid-summer rates are quite expensive in Death Valley.
Flights cost as little as $90 when you visit Death Valley in June, but costs vary based on where you depart from. However, you can save a small fortune if you purchase your tickets far in advance of your trip. Airlines will give you the best rate if you purchase your tickets 3-4 months before you visit Death Valley.
You can also find affordable hotel rates during the spring and early summer in Death Valley. Budget hotels offer rates as low as $30 per night. Higher-end hotels in Death Valley charge $80 per night or more which is reasonable compared to a mid-summer or December rate.
What is the Best Month to Visit Death Valley?
January: Best Time to Visit in the Winter
January is the second coolest month of the year in Death Valley behind December. Temperatures fluctuate between 40 and 67 degrees throughout January in Death Valley. It is also one of the few months of the year with rain in death valley, albeit for a single day.
Badwater is the most notable in Death Valley throughout January, and it’s worth checking out. Otherwise, it is simply a good time to enjoy a hike without extreme heat.
- Digital Photography Workshop
- Cool Weather Hikes
February: Best Time to see Badwater Lake
You can expect temperatures between 46 and 74 degrees when you visit Death Valley in February. It’s rare for Badwater Lake to contain water, but February is when it is most likely to. Check it out for a sight you don’t typically get to see in Death Valley.
- Badwater Lake
- Mustard Canyon
- Desolation Canyon
March: Best Time to see Darwin Falls
Vision Quest is a unique group campout that lets you immerse yourself in the landscape. March is also the best time to visit Darwin Falls before it gets too hot. Temperatures fluctuate between 54 and 82 degrees during March in Death Valley.
- The Death Valley Experience
- Vision Quest
- Darwin Falls
April: Best Time to Visit in Spring
Sights such as the Eureka Dunes look breathtaking during April in Death Valley. The famous Wildrose campsite is a popular destination during April because of the perfect temperatures. Make sure to pack warm clothes for the evening if you camp in Death Valley throughout April.
You can expect temperatures between 62 and 90 degrees during April in Death Valley
- Eureka Dunes
- Explore Surrounding Towns
May: Best Time to Visit for Wildflowers
Death Valley looks the most beautiful during May. Countless hikers and tourists descend upon Death Valley with the prospect of seeing wildflowers. May is the best time to see colorful wildflowers because of the rain between January and April.
The heat returns during May with high temperatures of 100 degrees. Luckily, it gets down to 72 degrees at night in Death Valley throughout May.
- See Wildflowers
- Ibex Dunes
June: Best Time to Visit in the Summer
Check out the Ubehebe Crater at sunrise in Death Valley during June. Artist’s Palette is one of the most breathtaking sights in Death Valley, and June is the best time to check it out.
Temperatures fluctuate between 82 and 111 degrees throughout June in Death Valley which can be quite uncomfortable.
- Ubehebe Crater
- Artist’s Palette
July: Best Time to see Zabriskie Point
Exercise caution if you visit Death Valley in July because of how hot it gets. Daytime highs average 116 degrees during July in Death Valley, but it can get hotter than that. It rarely gets cooler than 88 degrees at night throughout the month, and the hiking conditions are quite dangerous.
Landmarks such as Keane Wonder Mine are worth checking out as long as you stay hydrated.
- Keane Wonder Mine
- Zabriskie Point
August: Best Time to see Dante’s View
Check out Dante’s View in Death Valley in August, but exercise caution because of the extreme heat. It is dangerous to spend too much time outdoors when you visit Death Valley in August. Bring plenty of water and limit your time hiking because of the 86-114 degree temperature span.
- Dante’s View
- Panamint Mountains
September: Best Time to see Furnace Creek
Hike up to Telescope Peak for some breathtaking views of Death Valley. September is also a great time to check out Furnace Creek as long as it isn’t too hot outside. It is still extremely hot during September in Death Valley, but it luckily gets down to 76 degrees at night.
However, it can still get as hot as 107 degrees on hot days in mid to late September in Death Valley.
- Telescope Peak Hike
- Manzanar National Historic Site’s Public Archeology Program
- Furnace Creek
October: Best Time to Visit in Autumn
You won’t find any special events during October, but you will find comfortable weather. It’s the perfect time for a hike or campout without excessive heat. Temperatures fluctuate between 61 and 93 degrees during October in Death Valley.
- Telescope Peak Geo-HikeDeath Valley
November: Best Time to Camp
The Death Valley 49ers Encampment is arguably the most fun event of the year. This event celebrates art, music, and the local history unlike anything else. UBERFEST: Death Valley is the only other notable event throughout the month, especially if you like to camp.
Death Valley gets much cooler during November with average highs of 73 degrees. It gets as cool as 48 degrees at night during November.
- Death Valley ’49ers Encampment
- UBERFest: Death Valley
December: Best Time to see the Dunes
December is the coolest month of the year with average lows of 39 degrees at night. Daytime highs average 65 degrees during December in Death Valley.
It’s the perfect weather for a dune hike without having to worry about the extreme heat that comes in the spring and summer.
- Dune Hike
- Wildrose Charcoal Kilns
- Scenic Drive
Best Time to Visit Death Valley With Family
Early spring is the best time to visit Death Valley with family because of the weather. It can be dangerous to visit Death Valley with family in the late spring or summer. March and April are great months to bring your family to Death Valley because temperatures don’t exceed 90 degrees.
Families with small children need to be careful about when they visit Death Valley. This applies to the time of day just as much as the month that you plan your trip. For example, it’s common for it to be in the low 70s and 80s earlier in the day during March and April.
This provides you the chance to safely explore Death Valley even if you have smaller children. Your family will also get to admire wildflowers in the spring when they look the most vibrant.
Best Time to Visit Death Valley to Avoid Crowds
Early winter is the best time to visit Death Valley to avoid crowds. You won’t encounter large crowds if you visit Death Valley between December and January. Hikers slowly return to Death Valley during February and throughout March as it warms up.
Not only can you avoid crowds in the winter, but you will also be safer. You won’t have to worry about the dangerous daytime highs that can make Death Valley unpleasant. Winter is a chance to enjoy temperatures in the mid-60s and hike without fear of danger.
Is Death Valley Dog-Friendly?
Death Valley is dog-friendly as long as you keep them in areas that are developed. You are allowed to bring your dogs, but you must prepare for the heat. Dogs are even more susceptible to the extreme heat in Death Valley than humans are.
Bring a leash and more than enough water for your dog to avoid health risks. Campgrounds in the area sometimes restrict dogs to stay strictly within the campsite area. Otherwise, your dogs are allowed to visit mostly unrestricted in the main area of the national park.
How Many Trails are There in Death Valley?
There are 91 trails to explore in Death Valley. The area is massive and covers 5,270 square miles of desert land and beautiful trails. Some hikes are much harder than others, so it’s important to do your research before you head out.
For example, the Badwater Salt Flat and Harmony Borax Works hikes are great for beginners. However, you wouldn’t want to embark on the Wildrose Peak hike in Death Valley if you aren’t experienced.
Stick to trails that are under 5 miles, such as the Willow Canyon Hike unless you hike regularly. Bring plenty of water and snacks no matter which trail you choose.