Death Valley is one of the most popular photo destinations in the world — and for good reason! As it's seen in this shot, the distinctive layers of textured sand illuminated by the diffused light of golden hour create magic in terms of depth and patterned beauty. Not only is this location within the largest national park in the contiguous United States, it's also constantly changing due to wind and rain reshaping the landscape. Each time you visit, you'll be met with a one-of-a-kind scene that's guaranteed to produce a mesmerizing image.
$25 Death Valley National Park Fee
Telephoto lens (300mm)
Wide-angle lens (optional)
Proper footwear for hiking in sand
Face covering (bandana)
Camera protection from sand (it can be very windy, 15-20mph+)
How to get there
N36° 37' 00.3288"W117° 06' 09.9648"
This image was taken of the Mesquite Flat San Dunes in Stovepipe Wells, which is a part of Death Valley in California.
This location must be accessed by car. It's recommended to drive 22.4 mi (36 km) west on Highway 190 and then park your car in the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Parking (36.606029, -117.116142). Feel free to park in the main lot and walk in from there, but I've found that I prefer parking further east near a river washout (36.608797, -117.085412) and then walking in from there. Most of the compositions I've been happy with, I've found closer to east/southeast side of the dunes, so parking further east should be best.
Sand dunes are always changing due to wind and light angles so be prepared to spend some time scouting out the area and putting in time to really explore. Reference the GPS coordinates provided and you'll be able to find a similar perspective.
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Learn more about the locations and
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Best times to go
Current weather conditions and times around twilight