National park tips: Greet dawn on these dunes

The colors go flat at midday, but at sunrise and sunset, the light can be magical at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Get to sunrise at Death Valley National Park’s Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Failing that, sunset.

These dunes, about two miles east of the Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel, aren’t the tallest dunes in the park, but they’re the easiest to reach from Furnace Creek, the park’s most popular overnight spot.

The highest dunes are about two miles’ hike directly north of the parking lot. If you’re a photographer looking for virginal dunes, the foot traffic is usually lighter to the east.

Check out this video shot at Death Valley’s Mesquite Flat sand dunes and the Inn at Furnace Creek.


In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.

Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.