Death Valley National Park is a national park in the United States. Straddling the border of California and Nevada, located east of the Sierra Nevada, it occupies an interface zone between the arid Great Basin and Mojave deserts in the United States.
The park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a diverse desert environment of salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and has been declared an International Biosphere Reserve.
Approximately 91% of the park is a designated wilderness area. It is the hottest, driest and lowest of the national parks in the United States. The second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is in Bad water Basin, which is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level.
July is the hottest month, with an average high of 46 °C (115 °F) and an average low of 31 °C (88 °F). The highest ever recorded temperature was on July 10, 1913 at 56.7 °C (134 °F). December is the coldest month, with an average high of 65 °F (18 °C) and an average low of 4 °C (39 °F). The record low is −9.4 °C (15 °F).
The park is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include creosote bush, bighorn sheep, coyote, and the Death Valley pupfish, a survivor of much wetter times.
Death Valley’s outstanding natural beauty and scientific importance were first brought to the attention of the National Park Service in the late 20’s. With the support of Stephen T. Mather, Director of the National Park Service, Death Valley’s National Park significance was recognized, and was proclaimed a national monument by President Hoover on February 11, 1933.
With the passage of the Desert Protection Act of October 31, 1994, Death Valley grew by 1.2 m acres and was designated a national park. Today Death Valley National Park is made up of 3.336 m acres and contains more than 3 m acres of wilderness.