Death Valley Weather by Month + Tips for Visiting
Death Valley is a place that you must see at least once in your life. A total bucket list destination, there’s a lot to experience in the area, but it’s important to choose the best time to visit Death Valley so you can enjoy the desert in all its glory.
Keep reading for our complete guide on the best time to visit Death Valley (including Death Valley weather by month), along with the specific times of year to visit if you want to see sights like wildflowers or the Milky Way.
Best Time to Visit Death Valley: Death Valley Weather by Month
The best time to visit Death Valley depends on the season and what you hope to see. Here’s a breakdown of Death Valley weather by month, along with what you can expect during each time of the year at North America’s lowest point.
Visiting Death Valley in Spring: March-May
The best time to visit Death Valley is during springtime, between the months of March and early May. It’s warm enough to enjoy the area without uncomfortable heat, and the season brings with it colorful wildflowers, so long as there was rain during the previous winter months.
The major downside of Death Valley in the spring is it’s the windiest time of year, which means dust and sand blow in every direction. If you’re planning a spring camping trip in Death Valley, keep this in mind.
Since spring is the best time to visit Death Valley, expect plenty of crowds, especially around the Easter holiday and school spring breaks. If you hope to visit during these months, be sure to book accommodation or campsites way in advance to ensure you have somewhere to stay.
Visiting Death Valley in Summer: Late May – September
Towards the end of May, Death Valley temperatures start to creep into the triple digits, and by mid-July and August, it’s one of the hottest places on earth, frequently topping 120° Fahrenheit. The heat during summer months deters many domestic tourists, but July and August see plenty of European travelers on their annual holiday.
To enjoy Death Valley in the summer, be prepared for early mornings. Temperatures start soar around 10 am, so any hiking or outdoor activities need to be done before this time. Any later, and it becomes dangerous to be outside.
The middle of the day is a prime time to see Death Valley by car, with lots of points of interest on the side of the road. Don’t forget to crank up the AC!
Visiting Death Valley in Autumn: October – November
Autumn is another one of the best times to visit Death Valley because temperatures start to cool off, and the summer tourist crowds thin out. These months offer the most favorable camping conditions because the wind is minimal, the weather is decent, and you won’t bake in your campervan, RV, or tent setup. Hikers should still start early in the morning to avoid the mid-day heat, but it’s not nearly as fatal as the summer sun.
The only time to watch out for during autumn months is the second week of November, which brings out the Death Valley 49ers annual encampment, celebrating the pioneer parties of the mid-1800s. Thanksgiving week also sees a decent amount of tourism, so it’s best to book camping or lodging well ahead of time.
Visiting Death Valley in Winter: December – February
Winter is one of the best times to visit Death Valley to enjoy cooler temperatures, scenic views, and even the occasional rainstorm. While the days are short, they’re super pleasant, with plenty of hiking and camping opportunities, free from fair weather crowds. Enjoy snow-capped mountains, empty trails, and less expensive accommodations during this period.
It gets surprisingly chilly in Death Valley during winter, so pack some extra layers, especially for early morning excursions and stargazing at night. You’ll have much of the national park to yourself during these months, minus the Christmas and New Year period. Since many people have long weekends for MLK Day in January and Presidents’ Day in February, avoid these periods to soak in Death Valley with minimal congestion.
Cheapest Time to Visit Death Valley
The best time to visit Death Valley if you’re looking for a cheap vacation is during the summer months. Since it’s so hot, prices drop dramatically, especially during July and August, because the triple-digit temperatures can be quite limiting, activity-wise.
So long as you’re not booking a trip during Memorial Day weekend or the 4th of July, expect cheaper accommodation and less expensive flights during the summer.
It’s also inexpensive to visit Death Valley during October, and the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas because the area sees the lowest amount of visitors during this time. Most people are saving up vacation days for the holidays, so take advantage of discounted lodging and campgrounds around this time frame.
Best Time to Visit Death Valley to Avoid the Crowds
In general, Death Valley sees the most tourism during the spring months (March and April), and during summer – mainly people visiting from overseas during July and August.
Other busy periods include any US holidays, Easter, and the week between Christmas and the New Year.
If you visit outside of these times, expect to have Death Valley mostly to yourself. Though if your only option is to visit Death Valley during the busy periods of the year, start your day early (before 8 am) to beat the crowds at popular points of interest.
Best Time to Visit Death Valley for Wildflowers
One of the most remarkable sights in Death Valley is the blooming wildflowers blanketing the area during spring months. It’s a sheer wonder that such a hot and arid place sees such colorful beauty, so if you want to experience Death Valley at its most dazzling, visit during the spring.
You can find Death Valley wildflowers at lower elevations from mid-February to April. After that, different varieties of wildflowers bloom at higher elevations through mid-July.
The only caveat to wildflowers in Death Valley is that it needs to have rained enough during the previous winter. Since the area is so dry, without ample rainfall, it’s impossible for the wildflowers to bloom.
Check out wildflower reports for Death Valley ahead of your trip if this is the main reason you’re visiting!
Best Time to Visit Death Valley for Stargazing
Death Valley is home to the best stargazing in the USA since it’s the largest Dark Sky National Park. There’s no light pollution, which means visitors are treated to mesmerizing night skies lined with constellations and a crystal-clear Milky Way.
While the stars are pretty incredible wherever you are in Death Valley, rangers suggest visiting the following locations for the best experience:
- Badwater Basin
- Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
- Ubehebe Crater
- Harmony Borax Works
Visitors can enjoy stargazing year-round, which is particularly handy if you’re looking for outdoor things to do in Death Valley during the hot summer months.
When NOT to Visit Death Valley
If you have flexibility around planning your trip to Death Valley, avoid the summer months. July and August regularly top 120°, which makes it dangerously hot for most outdoor activities. You’ll likely be confined to your car, traveling between points of interest. Otherwise, you have a lot of early mornings ahead, as some activities are manageable before 10 am when the heat spikes.
While you’ll likely find some great deals on accommodation and flights, it may not be worth it if you can’t enjoy all that the area has to offer.
FAQs About the Best Time to Visit Death Valley
Still have some lingering questions about the best time to visit Death Valley? Check out these FAQs for some final answers.
1. How many days do you need in Death Valley?
If you spend two to three days in Death Valley, you’ll have enough time to hit the major sights and enjoy the best of the park. The area is easily accessible from Las Vegas or Los Angeles, though still requires a decent amount of travel time. Factor this into your trip planning, as you may want a couple of extra days in the area, especially if you’re visiting from somewhere further.
2. Is it worth going to Death Valley?
It’s definitely worth going to Death Valley since it’s the lowest point in North America and one of the hottest places on earth. These two phenomena draw crowds from far and wide to experience the natural desert wonder. Though besides the heat and low elevation, Death Valley is a remarkable place to see wildflowers in bloom during spring and for some of the best stargazing in the USA year round. There are also plenty of trails to explore and lots to do in the area.
3. What is the best way to see Death Valley?
The best way to see Death Valley is by campervan. Not only does this allow you to sleep under one of the starriest skies on earth, but Death Valley by campervan allows you to travel to all of the points of interest in style, providing the opportunity to park up and enjoy scenic spots without paying a fortune for fancy accommodation.
Check out Death Valley campervan rentals for a one-of-a-kind vacation.
4. What should I not miss in Death Valley?
There are a lot of amazing things to do in Death Valley, but if you’re pressed for time, don’t miss the following attractions:
- Badwater Basin
- Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
- Ubehebe Crater
- Zabriskie Point
- Devil’s Hole
- Dante’s View
California Van Rentals (Visit Death Valley in Style)
Without a doubt, the best way to experience Death Valley is in a campervan. TB Outdoor Rentals offers California van rentals to soak in the desert in style. Our rigs are fully outfitted with all you need for a successful camping trip in Death Valley, with lots of premium add-ons to upgrade your rental.
Click here to discover California van rentals to book for your upcoming Death Valley trip.