Photographing the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Added by Tiffany Nguyen

No official trail to get to the dunes so you can venture out as far as you wish. Check for sunrise and sunset times as this is when the lighting on the dunes is at its most striking. Dunes are surrounded on all sides by stunning mountain ranges. Make your way to the highest peak and have a cold one during sunset with some good company.

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are the most photographed dunes at Death Valley National Park. To reach the dune’s parking lot from Furnace Creek, drive 22 miles west on Highway 190. Three miles before you reach Stovepipe Wells, the dunes will be clearly visible from the road and you’ll turn right into the parking lot. There’s no official trailhead to get to the dunes so follow the path of least resistance toward the dunes to make your hike as comfortable as possible. If you’re like us, you’ll want to get to the dunes with the highest peak to get the best views, which is about a quarter mile trek.

The best time to photograph the dunes is during sunrise or sunset when the dunes cast shadows creating a stunning contrast. With the right lighting, the dynamic shadowing on the dunes makes all the difference in your photos. It’s not uncommon to see sandboarders taking advantage of the smooth faces of some of the taller dunes. No permit is required for sandboarding at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Carrying your board up and down the dunes can be pretty punishing in the desert sun but, it’s definitely worthwhile. The dunes are constantly changing and their appearance can vary quite a bit depending the season and the wind conditions. Bring some drinks and enjoy the view!

Read More

Tags

Chillin
Photography
Hiking
Bathrooms
Easy Parking
Family Friendly
Scenic

Reviews

Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

🥈 Contributor

about 4 years ago

Night time is also good!

To avoid the summer heat, the alternative way photographers do is going out at night :)

🥈 Contributor

over 4 years ago

Favorite in Death Valley

By far one of the coolest parts of Death Valley. The beginning of the dunes can get crowded but if you are able to get past the crowds the views get even more amazing. Be sure to bring water even if you're not planning on being out long as this hike can drain you pretty fast.

Explorer

🥇Top Contributor

over 4 years ago

A must-see when in Death Valley

When you visit the Mesquite Sand Dunes in Death Valley, it will be hard to believe that you're still in California. The views here look amazing, especially during sunset. Be prepared for an intense leg workout! Climbing up the dunes was very hard and tiring. But the view was definitely worth it. Bring a mat so you can lay on the sand. After sunset you would want to wait for the night sky to view the stars.

Stay Nearby

Furnace Creek, California

Furnace Creek

Overview Furnace Creek Campground is in a central location in Death Valley National Park. It is popular for RV and group camping; tent sites are also available. A visitor center, bike path, hiking ...

Whitney Portal Road

Whitney Portal

Overview Whitney Portal Campground is in a prime location within the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains - at the base of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States. With hiking tra...

Whitney Portal Road

Lone Pine

Overview Lone Pine Campground is located near the base of Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the continental United States, offering unparalleled views of the mountain and surrounding peaks of the Si...

Independence, California

Grays Meadows

Overview Grays Meadows Campground is situated along Independence Creek in the Onion Valley area of the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains. Its location on the creek and proximity to the rugged John Mu...

Nearby Adventures

  • Sandboarding the Mesquite Sand Dunes

    Snow level is a little lacking this year? No time or money to fly out to Park City or Whistler? Head over to Death Valley, America's second largest National Park and give sand boarding a try while exploring this amazing park. It's a unique and adr...

  • Hike Mosaic Canyon, Death Valley

    Mosaic Canyon is located a quarter mile west of Stovepipe Wells Village. From the 190 Highway, take the 2 mile gravel road to the canyon parking lot. The road is very rough and bumpy, but a regular passenger car will be able to make the drive. A h...

    2 miles 814 ft gain

  • Hike the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail

    The trail is a loop boardwalk. At the furthest point, there is a sandy footpath that will lead you to a creek and will provide a more secluded experience. Interpretive signs have been placed strategically on the trail, pointing out species of inte...

    0.9 miles 26 ft gain

  • Explore Skidoo Road

    Skidoo Road is the first dirt road on the left you encounter when driving Emigrant Canyon Road.  The road is suitable for any car until you reach an old mine on the right atop a hill.  Directly to the left is a prospector's wood cabin.  Both are i...