Death Valley National Park vs. Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

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If you’re planning a vacation and would like a quick comparison of Death Valley National Park and Lake Clark National Park & Preserve, we’ve got you covered.

We’ll take a look at what they have to offer in terms of hiking and wildlife, plus what the best time of year to visit might be.

Let’s get started with an overview of Death Valley National Park.

Death Valley National Park Overview

In this below-sea-level basin, steady drought and record summer heat make Death Valley a land of extremes. Yet, each extreme has a striking contrast. Towering peaks are frosted with winter snow. Rare rainstorms bring vast fields of wildflowers. Lush oases harbor tiny fish and refuge for wildlife and humans. Despite its morbid name, a great diversity of life thrives in Death Valley.

Lake Clark National Park & Preserve Overview

Lake Clark National Park and Preserve is a land of stunning beauty. Volcanoes steam, salmon run, bears forage, and craggy mountains reflect in shimmering turquoise lakes. Here, too, local people and culture still depend on the land and water. Venture into the park to become part of the wilderness.

Hiking At National Parks

Most national parks have some of the best hiking trails you’ll find anywhere in the US.

If you’re planning to take along your furry friend, double-check the rules before you go – as many of the parks have different rules about bringing animals along with you.

Death Valley National Park Hiking Trails

Death Valley National Park is a hiker’s paradise, with a wide variety of trails to suit all levels of experience. For those looking for an easy hike, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes trail is a great option. This trail is only a mile long and is mostly level, making it perfect for a leisurely stroll. For those looking for more of a challenge, the hikes to Telescope Peak or Panamint Springs are well worth the effort. Both trails are over 10 miles long and involve significant elevation gain, but the views from the summit are simply breathtaking. No matter what your level of experience, Death Valley National Park has a hiking trail that’s perfect for you.

Best Hikes At Death Valley National Park

The ratings below are based on user-submitted data at

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Loop 1710.8424 7 loop 4.5
Panamint Dunes Trail 165.8112 3 loop 4.5
Ubehebe and Little Hebe Crater Trail 220.98 1 loop 4
Salt Creek Interpretive Trail 7.9248 1 loop 4
Grotto Canyon 204.8256 3 out and back 4
Darwin Falls Trail 251.7648 3 out and back 4
Fall Canyon Trail 656.844 3 out and back 4
Echo Pass and Inyo Mine OHV Loop 396.8496 3 loop 4.5
Zabriskie Point and Gower Gulch Path Loop 125.8824 3 loop 4.5
Harmony Borax Works 6.7056 1 loop 3.5

Hiking Overview at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Lake Clark National Park is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails in the country. Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike, there’s a trail that’s perfect for you.

The easiest trail is the Dun Bike Trail, which is just over two miles long and relatively flat. The trailhead is located near the Lake Clark Visitor Center, making it a popular choice for visitors who are short on time. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the South Fork Hiking Trail is a great option. The trail is four miles long and takes you through some of the most scenic parts of the park. It’s also a great choice for birders, as the South Fork Hanting Trail is known for its abundance of bird life.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Hike Name Elevation Gain Difficulty Rating Type Average Rating
Upper Sand Creek Lake Trail 598.932 7 out and back 4.5
Medano Lake Trail 697.992 3 out and back 4
Montville Nature Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
Dunes Overlook Sand Ramp Trail 80.772 3 out and back 3.5
Little Medano Creek Trail to Medano Lake 1079.9064 3 out and back 4
Wellington Ditch Trail 47.8536 1 out and back 4
Dunes Overlook Trail 143.8656 3 out and back 4
Pinion Flats Campground Trail 26.8224 1 loop 4
High Dune Trail 191.7192 5 out and back 5
High and Star Dune Loop 403.86 3 loop 4.5

Wildlife at Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is home to a diverse array of plants and animals. Despite its arid climate, the park is home to more than 800 species of plants, including Joshua trees, creosote bushes, and wildflowers. The park is also home to more than 300 species of animals, including bighorn sheep, coyotes, bobcats, and desert tortoises. In addition, the park is home to a variety of reptiles, amphibians, and fish. Death Valley National Park is an ideal destination for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages.

Wildlife at Lake Clark National Park & Preserve

Lake Clark National Park is home to a diverse array of wildlife, including several species of fish, birds, and mammals. The most common fish in the park are Arctic char, Lake trout, and Dolly Varden. Among the birds that can be found here are ptarmigans, ravens, and waterfowl. Mammals that call Lake Clark National Park home include caribou, moose, brown bears, and wolves. In addition to its abundant wildlife, Lake Clark National Park also boasts a variety of plant life. Some of the most common plants in the park are willows, birches, and spruce trees. Whether you’re looking for fish or flowers, Lake Clark National Park is sure to have something to catch your eye.

What’s the best time to visit?

A lot of times, weather can dictate when it makes the most sense to visit a particular national park.

Plus, depending on the types of activities you’re hoping to take part in, seasonality will be a huge factor in whether those things are even available.

Death Valley National Park Weather Considerations

Death Valley National Park is one of the hottest places on Earth. Temperatures in the summer can exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is very little shade or relief from the heat. Death Valley is also extremely dry, with almost no rainfall for months at a time. As a result, the best time to visit Death Valley is in the winter, when temperatures are cooler and there is more chance of rain. However, even in winter, Death Valley can be dangerously hot, so always be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection.

Lake Clark National Park & Preserve Weather Considerations

Lake Clark National Park is located in Alaska and is known for its dramatic scenery and diverse wildlife. The park experiences a wide range of weather conditions, from cold winters to hot summers. The best time to visit the park is during the summer, when temperatures are warm and there is little rain. However, the summer also sees an increase in tourism, so visitors should be prepared for crowds. The worst time to visit the park is during the winter, when temperatures can drop below freezing and snowfall is common. For those who don’t mind braving the cold, though, winter can be a beautiful time to experience the park’s stunning landscapes.