* Death Valley National Park – To the west of Las Vegas is Death Valley, one of the most inhospitable climates in North America and in the world. Here, in the western Mojave Desert, you can visit Badwater Basin, the very lowest elevation in North America (280-ft. below sea level), and Furnace Creek, which has historically hit some of the highest recorded temperatures in history (134 degrees Fahrenheit).
As long as you’re in an air-conditioned vehicle and avoid the very hottest days, you shouldn’t have any trouble navigating Death Valley National Park by car or foot. There is an assortment of ranger-guided programming, as well, which highlights aspects of the desert such as its caves and lizards, as well as its man-made habitations like Lower Vine Ranch and Death Valley Ranch, popularly referred to as “Scotty’s Castle.”
If you’re exploring on your own, be sure you hit some of Death Valley’s hiking and mountain biking trails. Make your way through moderately difficult sites such as Desolation Canyon or the Badwater Salt Flat, or challenge yourself with unmarked hikes up the Death Valley Buttes. Alternatively, you can bike across Death Valley’s 800 miles of paved, gravel, and dirt roads.