The lowest point in the United States, at 282 feet below sea level, is Death Valley National Park. In addition to being the lowest point, Death Valley has the hottest recorded temperature on earth—134 Fahrenheit! Average rainfall is less than two inches per year, making Death Valley a difficult environment for plants to grow. This produces a barren environment in which the amazing colors of the rocks are highlighted. The easiest way to get there is to take Interstate 15 to the town of Baker. From Baker, drive 83 miles north on Highway 127 to the junction with Highway 190. Take the 190 west 25 miles.
My favorite spots in Death Valley are Zabriskie Point and Artist's Pallette. From Zabriskie Point, one can view intricate features of gold-colored sandstone. For those willing to go the extra miles on this circular route on Artist's Drive, Artist's Palette has mineral-stained rocks, including some that are an amazing shade of turquoise. By driving west on 190 through the park, you will pass the Mesquite Flat Dunes. Another 50 miles west on 190 will allow you to exit the park through Owens Valley, which looks up at the Sierra Nevada. You will drive through another unique rock formation at Red Rock Canyon State Park (33 miles north of Mojave) on your way back home on Highway 14.