While Death Valley is known for being really big and really hot, it’s also a place of subtle surprises, like the secret tunnel system beneath Scotty’s Castle, a remarkable complex built in the park’s far north corner. Guided tours let you explore the underground maze as well as the “castle.”
Digging into the park’s ancient history is another amazing—and surprisingly popular—experience, with ranger-led paleontology tours exploring normally closed-off areas. The full-day experience includes a 7-mile/11-km hike, but that doesn’t deter folks; the hikes are so popular they are only available by lottery.
Death Valley’s almost 1,000 miles/1,609 kilometers of paved and dirt roads make the park a natural for guided Jeep tours; Pink Jeep Tours (yup, your ride is bright pink) are one popular outfitter. Nighttime, with millions of stars visible in the ultra-dark, ultra-clear skies, make for outstanding stargazing; join ranger-led “new moon” events to learn about constellations and more. Or, take advantage of lunar glow on special full-moon tours of canyons.