While announcing Death Valley’s partial re-opening over the weekend, officials called now a “really special time” to visit the park because its dry, arid landscape is filled with water.
“It’s pretty rare to see a lake in Death Valley!” said Mike Reynolds, the park superintendent, in a statement. He explained that the basin has been filled with more than two inches of water that stretches several miles.
Ordinarily, the park’s Badwater Basin is a 200-square-mile salt flat, but today, it’s a lake, at least temporarily. The water is due in part to severe storms and flooding back in August, which also caused “catastrophic” damage to roads that forced the park to close for nearly two months, or as Reynolds put it: the longest closure in the park’s history.
Since the closure, workers repaired collapsed road segments by filling them in with gravel. Although they’re driveable, park officials warn that along with the loose gravel on the roads, visitors can expect lower speed limits, traffic delays, and one-lane roads in some areas.
According to the announcement, Death Valley partially re-opened on Oct. 15, allowing visitors to enter via CA-190 from the west via Lone Pine or Death Valley Junction from the east. All other park entrances are still closed.
Along with roads, most campgrounds will be open as well as the Panamint Springs Resort, Stovepipe Wells Village, and the Oasis at Death Valley.