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Want to see fighter jets in Star Wars Canyon? It’s Death Valley — so be prepared

Directions to get to Death Valley and Star Wars Canyon — and a few tips on preparing for your trip

So, young Padawan, you want to see fighter jets zoom through "Star Wars Canyon" (officially known as Rainbow Canyon) in Death Valley National Park? Here's how to get there — plus a few tips on how to make your trip a pleasant one.

The best time to visit is between October and May. (In the summer, Death Valley highs average about 115 degrees and often top 120). Although there is no schedule for fighter jet flybys, aviation buffs say Mondays and weekends tend to be slow days.

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The drive from Los Angeles to Star Wars Canyon typically takes about 3½ to four hours. Once you reach California 190 East in Inyo County, type "Father Crowley Overlook" into your navigation system. The vista point offers a great view of the fighter jets passing through Star Wars Canyon. And don't forget to walk the dirt track east of the parking at the overlook for an amazing panoramic view of the desert valley.

 
  (Lorena Iñiguez Elebee / Los Angeles Times Graphics)

Fill your gas tank before entering the park, and make sure you have a map of the area you're visiting. Cellphone coverage is spotty in many parts of the Death Valley area, and you may not be able to access digital directions.

Carry plenty of water and snacks. Shops may be far from the areas where you are hiking or stopping.

Prepare for both hot and cool weather. Nights can be quite cold. Use plenty of sunscreen, reapply it regularly, and wear boots or sturdy shoes.

Even though you are hoping to see a lot of fast fighter jets, don't limit yourself. As long as you are in the area, take advantage of the many other things to see in Death Valley, including Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, and beautiful sand dunes.

Are you a "Star Wars" fan? The National Park Service lists film locations and tips for visitors online.

Star Wars Canyon flyover animation
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