Photographers have long been intrigued with the beauty of Death Valley National park. There are many wonderful Instagram spots in Death Valley for you and your camera to discover! This guide is similar to a things to do in Death Valley list, but differs by showing you exactly where and when you can take some incredible pics for your Instagram. From epic photogenic canyons to wonderous viewpoints and quirky remnants of the old West. Which Instagram locations in Death Valley will you add to your Death Valley national park itinerary?
List of Instagram Spots in Death Valley National park:
- Zabriskie Point
- Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
- Mosaic Canyon
- Cabin in Panamint Springs Resort
- Highway 190
- Elevation Signs
- Badwater Basin
- Artist’s Palate
- Fighter Jets
- Old Wagon
- Death Valley Mines
- Ubehebe Crater
- Golden Canyon
- Dante’s View
Zabriskie Point is a gorgeous view point in Death Valley national park. You can take some wonderful photos and Instagram pics at this Instagram spot in Death Valley.
Zabriskie Point can easily be accessed by parking your car in the nearby car park. There is then just a short walk up a paved path to reach the Zabriskie look out point. From there you can take photos of the incredible Death Valley landscape.
Instagrammers can sit on the outlook wall or go down onto the plateau. Just remember to stick to the trails to minimise footpath erosion.
A great time to take photos at Zabriskie Point is sunrise. The sunset at Zabriskie point is equally as spectacular as the desert turns golden in the late afternoon light.
Zabriskie Point is one of the best views in Death Valley and therefore also a great Death Valley Instagram spot. The otherworldly colours and shapes make Zabriskie Point a favourite for photographers.
Mosaic Canyon is one of the most popular canyon hikes in Death Valley. Mosaic Canyon is also a great Death Valley Instagram spot!
Reaching Mosaic Canyon is an adventure in itself. From Highway 190 you leave the nice tarmac road and head onto a dirt track. Many visitors don’t expect this and feel rather shaken by the time they reach the Mosaic Canyon trailhead. (You can check out this post for more useful tips for first-time visitors to Death Valley.) The road is not too rough and is easy to do in a normal car like a sedan.
One you reach Mosaic Canyon trailhead you are in for an epic hike packed full of Instagram-worthy views. Mosaic canyon received its name due to the small mosaic-like stones in the side of the canyon. On the other side of the canyon are smooth bands of various sediments. This beautiful canyon was created over thousands of years. Eons before our time, a huge sea covered the area that Death Valley now occupies. Sediments and fossils of marine life collected on the sea bed. Over time the weight of the sea compressed these sediments into limestone and dolomite. Further processes such as pressure and heat transformed the rock into what we know as marble. Finally, volcanos have created mountain ranges and folded these marble layers.
The canyon itself was of course created by water erosion. Water erodes the rock and transports debris which cause further erosion.
You can admire this geological history whilst hiking in Mosaic Canyon. Take plenty of pictures in the narrow canyon – there is a short scramble which is fun to climb up! After the narrow part, the valley widens into a wash. You can walk along the ancient river bed or climb along the ridges of newer rock formations.
There are plenty of rocks for you to balance a camera on if you are trying to get a #instagramcouple photo too.
Everywhere you look offers another photo of this alien landscape. There are so many Instagram spots in Mosaic canyon, you must add mosaic canyon to your Death Valley itinerary.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
One Instagram spot in Death Valley that you cannot miss are the Mesquite Sand Dunes.
The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes have been attracting photographers for years. The ever-shifting sea of sand is what many see as a typical desert. Yet less than 1% of all deserts in the world are covered in sand. For sand dunes to be created you must have sand, winds to move the sand and most importantly an area where the grains of sand can be trapped. The sand dunes in Death Valley have been able to form thanks to the mountains trapping the sand in the valley. There is plenty of sand in Death Valley thanks to the eroded canyons and many washes. Few people know that there are actually several sand dune systems in Death Valley national park. Yet the most famous, and instagrammable, are the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Park your car next to the sand dunes and bring your camera. The further you walk from the car park, the fewer foot steps will cover the sand dunes. Depending how much time you have, you can get the perfect Instagram shot by walking out to the more distant dunes. If you are short on time however, you can still get your Death Valley Instagram fix by posing on the closer dunes.
Adventure lovers and extreme sports photographers will be happy that you can sand board on the dunes! This is not allowed at any of the other dunes as to protect delicate eco systems.
The Mesquite Sand Dunes are particularly instagrammable at sunset. It is said to be one of the best sunset spots in Death Valley. Sunrise is also a great time to take photos in these epic geographical features.
The ease of getting to the Mesquite Flat Sand dunes and the sheer wonder of these sand giants make this a must-see Instagram spot in Death Valley.
Cabin in Panamint Springs Resort
If you are approaching Death Valley from the West you may want to consider staying in Panamint Springs. You can stay in the very cute and very instagrammable miner’s cabin at Panamint Springs Resort.
Whilst summer offers very warm nights, winter brings cooler temperatures. The Cabin in Panamint Springs is heated though so you will stay cosy on those cold desert nights. There is also a fridge, hot shower and a comfy bed giving you a little bit of luxury in Death Valley. From the balcony, you have uninterrupted views across the desert and – if you are lucky – great stargazing opportunities!
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The Miner’s cabin is a great place to stay in Death Valley and get a nice Instagram pic!
Driving into Death Valley from the West is a fantastic experience. You drop hundreds of feet and see the tarmac road snake its way through the dessert landscape. You should document your US road trip by taking a pic of Highway 190.
You cannot come to Death Valley and not get an Instagram shot of you at the lowest point in North America or posing next to the various sea level signs!
One of the allures of Death Valley is its low elevation which enables the intense heat of the desert along with the help of neighbouring mountains. There are plenty of places where you can take a photo of you and an elevation sign. As you drive along, keep your eyes peeled for sea level signs. At Badwater Basin you will see the sign high above you on the mountain side. Make sure you don’t miss it in the glare of the midday sun.
Another Instagram spot in Death Valley can be found on the salt pans in Badwater basin.
After taking the obligatory photo of the elevation sign, head out into the valley by following the white path. It takes around 20 minutes to walk to the salt pans from the Badwater basin car park.
From there you can take photos of you at the lowest point in North America!
Did you know that Bad Water basin is a great spot to catch an amazing Death Valley sunset location? If you time your visit right, you can enjoy having fewer crowds and get to watch a spectacular sunset.
Death Valley is a designated dark sky park. This means that Death Valley is a great place to go stargazing!
There are plenty of handy tricks and tips here about stargazing in Death Valley. In order to get your starry shot for Instagram, Death Valley National park recommends three locations: Harmony Borax Works, Badwater Basin and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.
Remember that stargazing photographer is an art in itself and be patient with yourself. If you manage to capture the magnificent stars in Death Valley you will have found one of Death Valley’s best Instagram spots.
Artists palate is another one of the best Instagram spots in Death Valley. Vibrant colours dance upon the desert rocks bewildering visitors. You take photos of shades of green, blue, pink, purple, red, orange and yellow!
There is a 9-mile drive known as the Artists drive which will take you straight to the Artist’s palate.
The incredible colours of Artist’s palate make this a great photography location in Death Valley.
There is an abundance of wildlife in Death Valley, despite the name yet you are unlikely to encounter most of them. One that you may be able to see is a coyote!
Coyotes have been in Death Valley since Europeans came to America; beforehand wolves kept them in the central prairies. You can take photos of coyotes from your car but please do not feed the coyotes. They have been stories of coyotes standing in front of a car to force you to stop and feed them. These are wild creatures and it is dangerous for coyotes to associate humans and cars with food. In November 2019, a female coyote that was known to approach cars near the artists palate has been hit by a car.
Rangers are doing what they can to try and scare coyotes from approaching cars but it is difficult to make any difference amongst the 1.7 million yearly visitors.
You can take pics of them for Instagram but do not feed coyotes. It is also illegal and you can get fined.
Fight plane enthusiasts and photographers alike come to try to catch a glimpse of the fighter jets in Death Valley. If you do manage to catch one, you will have found one of Death Valley’s most difficult Instagram spots!
Fighter jets tend to fly in Rainbow canyon, yet they sometime fly elsewhere and their timetable are not available to the public. This makes it incredibly hard to plan. You could sit up at Rainbow canyon and see nothing. Or you might be staying at Panamint Springs and they just fly straight past!
Who visits the old West without getting a picture with a wagon!?
This Instagram spot is located in Stovepipe wells. When you stop off to fill up your water bottles or use the facilities, you can pose next to these old wagons for Instagram.
Death Valley Mines
There are several very instagrammable mines in Death Valley.
Death Valley’s rich minerals attracted gold miners to seek their fortunes in the soil. Keane Wonder Mine and Eureka mine are the best-known mines in Death Valley National park. Yet be aware that these Death Valley Instagram spots can be hazardous. It is forbidden to enter the mines or climb on the mine equipment for safety reasons. Therefore, rather than expect to take pics of you partaking in an Indiana Jone’s style adventure you can photograph the remaining mine works without touching them.
Ubehebe crater is an Instagram spot that not everyone manages to visit during their trip to Death Valley national park. Ubehebe Crater was created by a volcanic steam explosion. The crater itself is half a mile wide and 777 feet (150 to 237 m) deep at its lowest point.
You can take photos from the rim or walk down into the crater. Whilst it is easy to walk into though, remember that what goes down must come up! Make sure you are not walking back up in the midday sun. if you do not fancy going into the crater, you can walk the rim which is around 1.5 miles. Furthermore, stay on the trails as the loose material around the crater can be unstable.
Ubehebe is in the north of Death Valley national park but is well worth a visit for that Instagram shot!
Golden Canyon is one of Death Valley’s best Instagram spots, especially in late afternoon.
You can drive up to the trail head and enter the canyon. There used to be an asphalt road which has since been eroded away. As soon as you turn the corner there will be Instagram opportunities. You can take photos of the cool rocks or of the canyon itself. The late afternoon sun turns the canyon really golden helping you to take some nice photographs of your trip to Death Valley national park.
Dante’s View is arguably the most epic view in Death Valley national park. From Dante’s view you can take plenty of photos for Instagram.
High above Badwater basin, visitors gain a real sense of scale up here. It can be windier and cooler up on the mountain so you may want a light jacket.
You can take photos from the main outlook or follow the South or North trail for some quieter spots.
Have you been inspired to take your camera to Death Valley national park?
Have you been inspired to take your camera to Death Valley national park?
There are many amazing places to travel to in the USA and Death Valley must be on your USA bucket list!
Which Death Valley Instagram spot would you like to visit the most? Would you like to catch the sunset at Zabriskie Point, snuggle up in a cute cabin or take hiking photos in an epic canyon? Let us know in the comments below!
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