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10 Facts About The Hottest Place In North America

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10 Facts About The Hottest Place In North America

Before you even opened this article, you may have had a very good idea where the hottest place in North America is.  If you were thinking Death Valley, California, you were correct. After 100 years of tracking weather extremes, Death Valley always lands on top. Steady drought, snowy peaks, and rare rainstorms, make it a fascinating place, worth a closer look.  Despite its morbid name, though, a great diversity of life survives in Death Valley.

Here are 10 things you may not have known about this land of extremes.  But before you dive in, though, you might want to grab a tall glass of ice water!

  1. Death Valley averages less than 2 inches of rainfall per year.
  2. Death Valley is a National Park. On February 11, 1933, Death Valley was made a National Monument by President Herbert Hoover. Then in 1994, the area was re-designated as a National Park.
  3. According to the National Park Service, Death Valley was given its name by a group of pioneers lost in the winter of 1849-1850, who were convinced the area would be their grave. They were rescued by two of their young men, William Lewis Manly and John Rogers, who had learned to be scouts. As the party climbed out of the valley over the Panamint Mountains, one of the men turned and looked back, saying, “goodbye, Death Valley.”
  4. Hot, dry, and also a landmass with the lowest elevation: At 282 feet below sea level (-86 m), Badwater Basin in Death Valley, an area of salt flats, is considered the lowest point in North America.
  5. Conversely, its highest elevation is Telescope Peak at 11,049 feet.
  6. The climate of Death Valley is so arid because it is surrounded by mountains on all sides, and hot, dry air often gets trapped. Therefore, extremely hot temperatures are not uncommon in the area. In fact…
  7. The hottest temperature ever recorded in Death Valley was 134°F (57.1°C) at Furnace Creek (perfect name!) on July 10, 1913. Average summer temperatures in Death Valley frequently exceed 100°F (37°C). The average August high temperature for Furnace Creek is 113.9°F (45.5°C). In winter, the average low is 39.3°F (4.1°C).

It’s hard to believe that anything grows in Death Valley, but it is home to over 1,000 species of plants. In the spring after winter rains, and if conditions are just right, spectacular wildflowers bloom. Peak blooming period in Death Valley is mid-February to mid-April. 

dv hummingbird

Many creatures and species of plants make up the eco-system of Death Valley.

2017 Update: Check out some of the beautiful photos of the latest desert super blooms!

  1. Death Valley is home to a wide variety of small mammals, birds and reptiles. There are also larger mammals in the area such as include Bighorn Sheep, coyotes, bobcats, kit fox, and mountain lions.
  2. Long before Death Valley formed, the land was a seabed for hundreds of millions of years. This is evidenced by the abundant layers of limestone, dolomite and marble that are found.

Have you ever visited Death Valley? If so, tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Photos courtesy of Death Valley National Park.


The Western Banded Gecko’s thin skin makes him susceptible to water loss, so he stays hidden during the daytime, avoiding exposure to the sun and heat.


Psathyrotes ramosissima, or Turtleback, is a species of flowering plant in the aster family that grows in Death Valley.

salt crystals DV 2

Sodium Chloride—better known as table salt—makes up the majority of salts on Badwater Basin. Other evaporative minerals found here include calcite, gypsum, and borax.

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1 Margaret { 02.19.16 at 8:33 pm }

My husband and son lived there for a week! It was so hot! I could not tell you that it looked beautiful. We could not wait to get out of there.
I for one do like the heat and it was to hot for me. Now I would go back and take a good look at it. I’m sure it has changed it was in the 80’s when we were there.

2 julie wagner { 04.29.15 at 9:22 am }

had the opportunity to visit on my honeymoon in the late 80’s. It’s truly an extraordinary place! we saw so many things! it was the the first week of may, so to say the least, it was HOT! 113 degrees when we got to Scotty’s castle. we hunted down all the ghost towns in the area, visited the sand dunes, the salt flats, then went to mount Charleston for a nice dinner and bottle of wine before returning to the vegas craziness! Death valley was a great time! I highly recommend it as it’s own destination! go check out all the ghost towns! And area 51!LOL!

3 Gina Brown { 04.29.15 at 9:18 am }

Thanks for sharing informative information. Do hummingbirds actually live there or are they just passing through?

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