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Facts For Kids About Death Valley


  • Death Valley is the hottest, driest, lowest location in the United States.
  • It has an elevation of about 282 feet below sea level.
  • It’s known for being extreme in its hot weather and desert landscape.
  • The park gets about 2 inches of rain annually, making it one of the aridest locations in North America.
  • The highest elevation in Death Valley National Park is Telescope Peak at 11,049 feet.
  • The climate of the valley is created because of the mountains on all sides which trap dry and hot air masses.
  • According to the National Weather Service, it receives an average annual rainfall of just 2.36 inches.
  • This valley is home to Badwater Basin which is also the lowest dry point in America, at 282 feet below sea level.
  • This national park receives nearly a million visitors each year on average.
  • February tends to be the wettest month in Death Valley, with an average of 0.51 inches of rain.
  • The valley is only 76 miles from the highest point in the country, Mt. Whitney, which tops out at an elevation of 14,505 feet.
  • The lack of water makes the valley a desert, but it is by no means devoid of life. It also has more than 600 springs.
  • The valley received its English name in 1849 during the California Gold Rush by prospectors and others who sought to cross it on their way to the gold fields.
  • The Amargosa river flows through Death Valley but large parts flow underground through the sandy valley.
  • The area is rich in fossils and evidence of ancient volcanic activity.
  • Las Vegas and other cities around the valley cater to the large influx of foreign visitors that come to see the local attractions.
  • The first recorded recorded sighting of Death Valley was by Spaniards led by Don Pedro Fages in 1776.
  • The first permanent recorded inhabitants were Paiute Indians who called themselves “Gosiute” (meaning “people of the Canyon”). Captain John C. Frémont made his expedition through Death Valley in 1844 along with Kit Carson, who believed the river could be navigated by using it as a highway to cross into an area that would have been called California then.
  • A law was passed in 1953 which allowed for the level of Lake Tahoe to be regulated through a series of dams.
  • In 1964, naturalist and writer Edward Abbey identified the desert around the valley as a national park. President Ford signed it into law five years later.
  • In 1980, gas lines from vehicles passing by were found to be creating muddy patches in the valley floor. As a result, partial sections of Highway 190 where they bisect Death Valley National Park were paved over to prevent this problem.