Death Valley – Zabriskie Point


What? : Zabriskie Point is one of the most iconic Death Valley vista point. From the viewing point, just off highway 190, you can see when looking west the amazing and yellow and brown rock formations. Farther below you can see the Death Valley floor and away in the other side of the valley Panamint Mountains covered with snow at the winter towering above.

This location is considered to be the best sunrise view in Death Valley.


Where? : The Parking lot is located on highway 190, 3.6 miles east of The Inn at Death Valley, 5.6 miles east of the park Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

Google Map Link


When? : The recommended time to visit here is late fall, winter and early spring, summer is just too hot.

Few blogs links that provides additional information.

Due note 1: This is probably the most popular sunrise viewing point in Death Valley. Do not expect to be the only one here. try to come earlier than you think, the parking lot is getting filed but you can find place to park down the road.


Due note 2: There are restrooms at the parking lot.


Due note 3: From the parking lot there is a ¼ mile walk up a hill on a paved trail, this is accessible to wheelchairs.


Due note 4: when visiting or hiking at the Death Valley use several layers as clothing. You can start your day with cold temperatures during early morning sunrise to a very hot midday (even at fall, winter, and spring). At the afternoon it can warm but at sunset temperature plumage and it can be near freezing.


Due note 11: Pets are not allowed on any trail in Death Valley National Park, even if carried. Do not leave your animal in your vehicle. You may walk your pet on dirt roads.


My thoughts: I visit here several time at sunrise. This place and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are my favorite places in Death Valley NP for sunrise or sunset pictures.


The visit:

No matter how early you will be here there is probably someone that is already there.

Although crowded there is plenty of place in the upper or lower overlook locations so you can find your specific location.


The overlook is named in recognition of Christian Brevoort Zabriskie (1864-1936), president of the Pacific Coast Borax Company that was active in this region.


The sun that rises in the west start to light the mountains below you. Mixed eroded white, yellow, and brown Marl, carbonate minerals, clays, and silt rock formations create interesting view. The most dominate mountain below you is Manly Beacon. This jutting high point rises above all others in your center-view. This area does not grow any plants, things that add to it unique view. The red-rock high ridge on your right and the dark multicolored high mountains that tower behind the Artist’s Palette on your left create the framing for this unforgettable view.


As the sun rise above the mountains in the east the first sun rays paint the mountains below with growing colors and create mixed patterns of light and shade.

This is probably the best timing for taking pictures.

When the sun is high in the sky the view is still nice but the harsh light from above creates a “flat” landscape.


Nearby Hike:

Most people come here to see the sunrise and after 30 minutes the parking lot get almost empty.

I, on the other hand, decided hiked from here into the canyons below.

I hiked the Badlands Loop Trail from the parking lot, went down to Gower Gulch, connected to Golden Canyon trail head, hike to Red Cathedral, and climb up all the way back to Zabriskie Point. Overall, this is a 7.3-mile-long hike.

You can find a full hike description in my Death Valley – Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch Hike blog.

You do not need to hike the long loop that I did, hike down on the same trail explore the Badlands valley below and then hike up again when you had enough.


Twenty Mule Team Canyon:

Similar rocks in less impressive landscape can be viewed along the unpaved 2.7 mile, one-way Twenty Mule Team Road.

This dirt road is located 1 mile east on highway 190 from Zabriskie Point. The name of the road is a reference to the teams of mules that once pulled wagons loaded with borax from mines on the valley floor to the nearby towns. Although unpaved this road is good for any car.