3. Death Valley
Death Valley National Park is a place of superlatives: Hottest, driest and lowest elevation. And as stunning as potentially
dangerous. And extremely diverse in terms of wildlife and geology. For the National Park Services official 12 page park
guide of Death Valley, with campsites, attractions and regulations, see here: Death Valley Guide
3.1 Dantes View
The mountain-top at Dantes View, over 5 000 feet over the valley itself, offers the most breathtaking view in the park.
3.2 Zabriskie Point
Zabriskie Point has also a wonderful view, with simply awesome colours! Sunsets and sunrises are very polular among
photographers and other visitors. And for a good reason. And a clear advantage in Death Valley is that the sun is very
reliable most of the year.
Badwater should clearly not be missed when visiting the park. It´s the lowest point on the entire western hemishpere!
And a great place to take pictures of the very intersting patterns on the ground.
3.4 Artist´s Drive
A scenic drive that is very popular. Particularly in late afternoons, when the warm light is creating wonderful colours
over the hills.
4. Bristlecone Pine Forest
You should probably be a fairly dedicated amateur photographer in order to take the detour from Highway 395 to the
Ancient Bristelcone Pine Forest
, altough very few would regret taking the tour. The elevation is high, very high
up there on the White Mountain Range (over 11 000 feet), and litte else is growing except for the ancient pinetrees.
They are very photogenic though, especially late in the afternoon. The oldest living tree in the world: The Methuselah
(over 4 600 years old) is unmarked though, so don´t bother looking for that. There are a few nice trails there, and
a primitive campsite a few miles down from the top if you intend to stay late and take some pictures late in the afternoon.
4. Big Pine/Bishop area
Take your time and slow down on Highway 395 in these communities. Have a lunch and enjoy the view of Owens Valley
between the massive White Mountains and Sierra Nevada mountains. Enjoy the view of Mount Whitney, the highest
mountain in Americas lower 50 states. Or visit Mountain Light Gallery
in Bishop, and envy the stunning photographs
by the late Galen Rowell - one of the best nature photographers ever.
Owens Valley from White Mountains
Cows with unsurpassed view in Big Pine
5. June Lake Loop
If you´re not in a hurry, it´s well worth the effort to take the June Lake Loop. Particularly if you´re into fishing
(there are large trouts there) or if it´s fall (it´s one of the few places in California where there are nice fall colours).
And there are a couple of campgrounds there if you want to stay.
6. Mono Lake
Mono Lake is a fairly known attraction, due to it´s often photographed tufa. Sunrises are supposed to be the best time to take
pictures. And the lake itself is very interesting: It´s huge and extremely salt.
Tufa at Mono Lake
View over Mono Lake
7. Lundy Lake and Virginia Lakes
These lakes are somewhat hidden secrets except for fishermen and initiated photographers. You´ll reach them from detours a few miles
north of Lee Vining, at Conway Summit. Fall is the best season as there are absolutely beautiful colours at that time. There are always
fishermen at both Lundy Lake and the Virgina Lakes. And take it easy at Virgina Lakes: The elevation is very high, and it´s easy to
get really dizzy while hiking too fast.
Lundy Lake in fall
Fishermen at Virginia Lakes in spring
Bodie is perhaps the best preserved ghost town in America. It used to have 10 000 inhabitants by 1880, with 65 saloons! Bodie
is very popular among photographers, and for best light avoid mid day. Bodie is open year round, but chains are necessary during
the winter du to it´s high elevation. To reach Bodie take State Route 270 from U.S. 395 about 7 miles south of Bridgeport.
Go east 10 miles to the end of the pavement and continue 3 miles on an unsurfaced road to Bodie. The last 3 miles can at times
be pretty rough.
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