Old brick smokestack in Death Valley, California.

Hiking Surprise Canyon in Death Valley

A good hike through Surprise Canyon averages about four hours. Many people go far over that and trek into Panamint City, but the canyon is well worth the time to explore on its own–picture relaxing with your feet in the splashing creek and a nice picnic in the shade after a good workout. Use these detailed directions and trail tips to experience all the canyon has to offer.

The art piece The Last Supper features ghostly life-size hollow figures against a desert background.

The Ghost Town of Rhyolite in Death Valley

Learn about the ghost town of Rhyolite in Death Valley National Park, settled in 1904 and abandoned almost completely by 1920. You’ll find plenty of intact ruins to explore, as well as a few surreal and unique sights.

Ghostly plaster figures in an eerie rendition of The Last Supper. Photo © Jenna Blough.

Death Valley’s Five Strangest Places

Amidst Death Valley’s barbed desert expanses, lonesome stretches of highway, twisting dirt roads, and eternal quiet, life (and possibly even death) seems to take on a different shape. From creepy to beautiful, mysterious to moving, ridiculous to sublime, here are five of the strangest places expert author Jenna Blough has encountered in her many desert rambles.

Sand dunes in Death Valley, California.

Visit Stovepipe Wells and the Nevada Triangle

For such a small slice of Death Valley, the Nevada Triangle and Stovepipe Wells area of Death Valley National Park hold many attractions. Along with some background information, expert author Jenna Blough presents tips on planning your time and seeing the sights.

Rhyolite’s well-preserved train station.

Five Death Valley Ghost Towns Worth the Trek

Deep in the Mojave Desert, where California fades into Nevada, the ragged remains of ghost towns are strewn across salt-crusted soil, lost at the ends of bumpy roads, and tucked into rocky mountain canyons. Here are some spots that are easy to miss—although you won’t want to.

The colorful rocky landscape of Keahiakawelo on Lanai.

Natural and Cultural Sights on Lana‘i

From cultural sights such as ancient petroglyphs and heiau, and an abandoned plantation village, to Hawaii’s last dryland forest and a naturally-occurring moonscape, sightseeing on Lana‘i can be a quick browse of each or a leisurely immersion.

Piles of rusted metal and a warehouse-style building red with rust.

Ghost Towns of the Atacama

Like the Mojave, the Atacama desert has its share of ghost towns. Humberstone, part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is the remains of a sprawling company town that grew up in response to massive surface mining for nitrates.