However, when a small storm moved into the Sierras mid-week, bringing wintry conditions to the mountains, we took the opportunity to head back to Death Valley National Park knowing that it would be unseasonably cool. Park rangers were quick to point out how lucky we were to explore the park at a perfect temperature of 75 degrees (not unlike January), which made for awesome trail running, camping, and bird watching. We were even able to see the elusive Salt Creek Pup Fish!
Death Valley offers good trails through some of the classic locations of the park. With the temperatures being a relatively chilly mid 70’s we opted for a 7.8-mile loop took us through some of the popular sites. The trail started at Golden Canyon near Furnace Creek, led through narrow passageways to the Red Cathedral, over to Zabriskie Point, and then weaved back through the badlands of Gower Gulch. We got to do the run at sunset with beautiful light that lit up the colorful hills and made for some unforgettable views.
After a comfortable camp under May’s Full Flower Moon, the next morning we did a quick 4-mile run/hike up the Mosaic Canyon before heading back to the mountains of the Sierras. On the way out of the Park we hit up a few park highlights like the easy .5-mile Salt Creek Interpretive boardwalk hike where the Salt Creek Pupfish were in spawn! Great interpretive signs along the way explained the pupfish’s cute behavior and the species’ special adaptations throughout time.
If you can plan your visit to correspond with cooler temps, Death Valley National Park is a trail runner’s and naturalist’s paradise.