Explore Death Valley's Spectacular Mesquite Flat
Death Valley, CA 92328

The dunes at Mesquite Flat undulate off to the horizon. It’s as if you’ve arrived at a secret inland ocean. The heavy, rippling sand sucks at your feet, and the footsteps of lizards have left tiny, delicate patterns across the dunes. A wren rustles the leaves of a mesquite bush. Your own footsteps squeak in the sand.

This dune field includes three types of dunes: crescent, linear, and star shaped. Polygon-cracked clay of an ancient lakebed forms the floor. Mesquite trees have created large hummocks that provide stable habitats for wildlife.

Chief naturalist Terry Baldino, who has worked in Death Valley for 15 years, will tell you that this is what he loves about the park—there is so much to explore, on a small and large scale. “A lot of other parks give you a list and say, ‘Here are all the trails, stay on the trails.’ We don’t really have trails,” he says. “It’s the sense of adventure you get from this vastness.”

Exploring is fairly free form, with no specific trails into the dunes. For details on hiking here and in other Death Valley locations, visit the park’s online hiking page .