Driving an RV Through the Hottest Place on Earth

caution extreme heat danger

Ok, it is probably not THE hottest place on earth. You know, clickbait and all. But it does get rather warm in Death Valley, the hottest place in North America at least. Despite it being so hot, you can actually drive through there, even with a 7.5 ton RV. Besides being pretty hot it is also very low. It’s actually 86 meters below sea level. How cool is that? Ok, you don’t really notice it when you are there but the thought alone fascinates me.

Before you get going I recommend filling up your car. There are no gas stations in the valley but tons of warning before. Take these warnings to heart.

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The Drive

Ok, now to our drive. We drove through the Death Valley on our way to Las Vegas. Before you can get into the Death Valley you obviously need to gain some height before going down into a valley.

Ascend before getting into Death Valley Ascend before getting into Death Valley

It was surprisingly easy to get up these hills with our heavy RV. And I am glad it was because you don’t want to get stuck out there. It was 47℃ the day we drove there. There are a lot of rest areas on the way up to the hill. But not really rest areas for humans but for machines. There are wells with water so you can cool down your engine. I suppose bigger trucks make use of them quite often.

There were also signs saying that you should turn off the AC for the next few miles to prevent overheating of the engine. Luckily, that was never necessary for us. After we ascended all the way up it was time to descend into the actual valley.

View of the Valley from the top View of the Valley from the top

Badwater Basin

We followed the 190 until we took a detour to Badwater Basin, the lowest place in North America. Badwater Basin is a huge salt flat inside the Death Valley National Park. If you are driving through Death Valley, make sure you stop off at Badwater. It’s 12km long and 8km wide. AKA huge!

100 feet below sea level 100 feet below sea level Salt flats at Badwater Basin Salt flats at Badwater Basin

If you wander around on the huge salt flats make sure you bring a hat and enough water. We were there in September which is probably already considered “cool” but it was still 47 ℃. Staying outside for too long is not very pleasant. It at least feels like the hottest place on earth.

After our stop at Badwater Basin we returned onto the 190 and drove to Las Vegas.

This was the first time visiting salt flats for me. I now really want to visit Salar de Uyuni, the worlds largest salt flats in Bolivia. Who is with me?

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