USA, California, Inyo County, Death Valley National Park, Zabriskie Point trail at sunset

©ThierryHennet/Getty Images

Zabriskie Point

Top choice in Death Valley National Park

Not many national park features can say they were celebrated in a 1969 film of the same name, but Zabriskie Point claims that honor thanks to director Michelangelo Antonio. It's easy to see why the spectacular views in this corner of Death Valley have inspired creatives from Antonio to the cinematographers behind 1960's Spartacus to U2's Joshua Tree album. A flashpoint for 1970s counterculture, even philosopher Michel Foucault rhapsodized about experiencing Zabriskie firsthand.

Here you can see the rumpled badlands unfurl beneath the Panamint Mountains, hinting at when Death Valley wasn't known for its dry heat but was shaped by the flow of ancient creeks and lakes, and later erosion. Keep your eyes pealed for Manly Beacon (named for one of the original 49'ers who came to Death Valley searching for gold), the wedge-shaped outcropping below Zabriskie point that's set off beautifully at sunrise or sunset, when the walls of the canyons here gleam as if from within.

In addition to taking in Death Valley from above at Zabriskie, you can also use it as a launching point for hikes. You can reach Zabriskie point from a short hike from the parking lot, or from further afield on the Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and Badlands Loop trails, which can be taken individually or combined into an eight mile round trip trek.

There is parking suitable for cars and RVs at Zabriskie point, along with vault toilets and interpretive exhibits. While the toilet facilities and parking lot are accessible for visitors with disabilities, the grade of the short path to the overlook itself is somewhat steep, and may be a challenge for some of those using mobility aids.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Death Valley National Park attractions

1. Borax Museum

4.07 MILES

On the grounds of the Ranch at Death Valley, this outdoor museum illustrates Death Valley's connection to borax mining, and presents pioneer-era mining…

2. Death Valley National Park

4.24 MILES

The very name evokes all that is harsh, hot and hellish – a punishing, barren and lifeless place of Old Testament severity. Yet closer inspection reveals…

3. Harmony Borax Works

5.41 MILES

Just north of Furnace Creek, a 0.5-mile interpretive trail follows in the footsteps of late-19th-century Chinese laborers and through the adobe ruins of…

4. Devil’s Golf Course


Some 15 miles south of Furnace Creek, salt has piled up into saw-toothed miniature mountains in what was once a major lake that evaporated about 2000…

5. Badwater Basin

13.15 MILES

The lowest point in North America (282ft below sea level) is an eerily beautiful landscape of crinkly salt flats. Here you can walk out on to a constantly…

6. Dante's View

14.42 MILES

Dante's View is an overlook that sits perched at 5475ft atop the Black Mountains, affording stunning panoramic views of the entire southern Death Valley…

7. Aguereberry Point

15.23 MILES

Named for a lucky French miner who struck gold at the nearby Eureka Mine, Aguereberry Point sits at a lofty 6433ft above the desert floor and delivers…

8. Eureka Mine

17.57 MILES

In the Panamint Mountains, this gold mine was discovered by French immigrant Pete Aguereberry in 1905 and worked by him until the early 1930s. The mine…