Death Valley National Park comprises more than 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert scenery, rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness and sites of historical interest. Death Valley is unique because it contains the lowest, hottest, driest location in North America. Nearly 550 square miles of its area lie below sea level. Ecologically, its plants and animals are representative of the Mojave Desert.
Death Valley is one of the hottest places on earth, attaining the second-highest temperature ever recorded, 134 degrees F. in 1913. It contains the lowest point in the western hemisphere -- 282 feet below sea level near Badwater -- as well as numerous high-rising mountain peaks, including Telescope Peak at over 11,000 feet. Death Valley was named by gold-seekers, some of whom died crossing the valley during the 1849 California gold rush.