Death Valley National Park

Driving Through America’s Southwest – Day 7

Southwest Trip: Day ​Seven – ​From Utah to California

The seventh day of our southwest adventure was a transitional day. The Utah leg of our trip was over and we headed to our next destination—the Sequoia National Park. The 900km drive takes you through Utah, Arizona, and Nevada all the way to the Sierra Mountains of California.

Having driven the route before, I knew what to expect. It is always difficult to adjust to driving six to seven hours on a busy freeway after spending a week navigating small, empty roads where something new and exciting awaits you around every corner.

Related: Big Sur – Top Photography Destination in California

To make the boring drive through the deserts of Nevada more exciting, I plotted a detour through Death Valley National ​Park. Even though we only had three to four hours to spend there, it was better than nothing. We also needed to replenish our food supply, so we scheduled two stops in Las Vegas at Costco and Walmart. 

All in all, it was an uneventful day until we passed Las Vegas and took a less traveled road to Death Valley. I always get excited about the approach to Death Valley because the drive is visually striking as you transition back and forth between valleys below sea level to high mountains again and again. 

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Open road of the Death Valley

​Although the weather was not very exciting in terms of photography with hazy air and zero clouds, I still managed to take a few interesting shots. Plus, after two years of construction work, Dante’s Peak was open and we visited the new observation point at the top of the mountain.

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View from Dante’s Peak
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Zabriskie Point is not far from Dante’s Peak
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Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
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A pre-dusk hour in the Death Valley
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Leaving the Death Valley

We ended the day in a tiny motel nestled on the side of the road in the mountains of the Eastern Sierra

Related: Exploring Utah’s Backcountry: Cottonwood Canyon Road

I excitedly anticipated my first visit to the Sequoia National Park the following day. 

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Eastern Sierra

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by Viktor Elizarov
I am a travel photographer and educator from Montreal, Canada, and a founder of PhotoTraces. I travel around the world and share my experiences here. Feel free to check my Travel Portfolio and download Free Lightroom Presets.

2 thoughts on “Death Valley National Park – Southwest Trip: 7”

  1. Always great to follow your Southwest adventures. Welcome back and lets all enjoy a 2019 filled with a lot of scenic wall hangers. Will have to check out Dante’s Peak.

  2. Nice pictures–on weather you take what you get with time limits!


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