The winter of 2004-05 was marked by unusual amounts of rainfall in Death Valley. As a result of this rainfall, and runoff from the heavy snows in the surrounding mountains, the flowers were amazing when we visited in early March. The most impressive views were the fields of dessert gold along highway 178 near Ashford Mill, as you can see in the panoramic photo above. But, up close, there are many other flowers that are actually more interesting (see photo #1, at left).
The Park Service provides a number of tours and talks led by rangers or volunteers. We went on a tour of the wildflowers a few miles north of Furnace Creek. An ABC television news crew came with us to get photos of the flowers for their news program (photo #2). As the days went on, more and more people came to the park to see the wildflowers. By the end of March, after we left, the park was overloaded with tourists.
Here are some more photos of the fabulous flowers of Death Valley:
With the possibility of continuing global warming and more heavy rains in the future, you may be able to see similar blooms for yourself. Plan to be in Death Valley in early March for the best show.
— return to the 2005 Journal Archive.