The best time to visit Death Valley is between fall and spring. However, whenever I get asked when to visit Death Valley my standard answer is: it depends.
If you’re looking for wildflowers stunning colors spring might be the right time for you.
But if you’d like to beat the crowds and find some solitude, October is a great month to visit Death Valley. For crisp, clear views of the Milky Way bundle up and visit during a new moon in the middle of winter.
There are certain times of year where you would want to avoid visiting Death Valley such as the dead middle of summer.
In this guide, to the best time to visit Death Valley we’ll dive into all the different things you need to know before planning your trip to this amazing national park.
As an expert in the outdoors and a full-time freelance writer for major outdoor brands, I know a thing or two about visiting national parks. In fact, I’ve seen all national parks in this country. My work takes me to the best national parks in the US each year.
Not only do I have insider knowledge on how to beat the crowds but I’m also an expert at finding the best time to visit Death Valley for your chosen activities.
So don’t travel like a noob – be an expert in the outdoors. Use this exclusive guide to gain that insider info you need for an unforgettable adventure.
About This Guide to the Best Time to Visit Death Valley
This guide is designed to help you easily figure out the best time to visit Death Valley based on what you’re looking to do when you’re exploring the park. The guide covers:
- When to visit Death Valley depending on your favorite activity
- When to camp in Death Valley
- When to see wildflowers in Death Valley
- When to visit Death Valley for the mildest weather
- When NOT to visit Death Valley
- What to expect for Death Valley weather in each season
When is the Best Time to Visit Death Valley National Park?
Death Valley is a desert, and that means it gets incredibly hot! So the best time to visit Death Valley and plan a Death Valley itinerary is really any season that isn’t summer.
And summer starts early in Death Valley, so visiting in the early spring – sometime before May – is ideal.
Late fall in Death Valley is also pleasant for exploring, and winter has its charms (like fewer crowds).
But avoid Death Valley in the summer if you want to do anything more than drive around in an air-conditioned vehicle.
Best Time to Camp at Death Valley National Park
Fall is the best time to visit Death Valley for camping. The weather is still warm, but not ridiculously hot, so spending a night in a tent is comfortable.
While fall is a very popular time to visit Death Valley, it is usually slightly less crowded than the spring.
We visited on a weekend in October and – aside from Badwater Basin – felt like we had the park to ourselves.
This will potentially give you more campsite options, too. Furnace Creek Campground takes reservations, while all other campgrounds are first-come, first-served.
When to Visit Death Valley to See Wildflowers
If you’re hoping to catch the peak wildflower bloom, you’ll want to visit Death Valley in spring, specifically late March to early April.
This is when you’ll find desert gold flowers, desert marigolds, alpine lupine, and more. About once a decade, you could even be lucky enough to experience a superbloom!
Photographers will love it in Death Valley this time of year however you’ll be contending with tons of crowds so come prepared to not be alone.
Best Time to Visit Death Valley for Mild Weather
For the most comfortable temperatures, you should actually visit Death Valley in the winter.
While the nights will probably be a little chilly, day time temps from November to February are very pleasant, averaging in the high 60s to low 70s. You might encounter some rain in the winter, but heavy rain is uncommon in Death Valley.
Winters are also a great time to visit for stargazing – one of the best things to do in Death Valley.
The area is known for its dark sky territory meaning the skies are not polluted by nearby cities or towns. The crisp dry night air provides the best visibility during a new moon or when the moon can’t be found in the sky.
When NOT to Visit Death Valley
Trust me, you don’t want to visit Death Valley in the summer. Death Valley is the hottest place on earth, and summer is just a miserable experience.
The daily temperatures average above 100°F and can easily reach over 120°F. These temps make hiking almost unbearable and also quite dangerous.
Plus, most of the campgrounds in the park are closed, since it stays extremely hot at night. In fact, it might still be 100 degrees at midnight!
While you could drive through Death Valley in an air-conditioned car during the summer, it’s really best to avoid the park altogether from May to September.
The best things to do in Death Valley during the summer is to hike the high peaks and discover some of the most challenging hikes in California. During this time the weather is quite pleasant. However, avoid lower elevations unless you’re only out at night.
Weather in Death Valley During Different Seasons
If you’re still wondering when to visit Death Valley, here’s a quick rundown about what to expect from the weather during each season:
- Spring: Warm and sunny. Expect day time temps in the 80s-90s.
- Summer: Hot, hot, hot! Temps average well above 100°F, and will often be above 120°F.
- Fall: The weather begins to cool down, but will still be in the 90s until late Oct/early Nov.
- Winter: The season of the most moderate temps, with days in the 60s & 70s.
When to visit Death Valley largely depends on what you want to do. But the weird, otherworldly Landscapes you can find throughout the park are best suitable from October through April.