Death Valley National Park vs. Wrangell – St Elias 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 Wrangell – St Elias 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.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Overview

Wrangell-St. Elias is a vast national park that rises from the ocean all the way up to 18,008 ft. At 13.2 million acres, the park is the same size as Yellowstone National Park, Yosemite National Park, and Switzerland combined! Within this wild landscape, people continue to live off the land as they have done for centuries. This rugged, beautiful land is filled with opportunities for adventure.

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 AllTrails.com

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 Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a haven for hikers of all levels of experience. Novice hikers can start with the easy Crosswind Lake trail, which offers stunning views of the surrounding mountains without too much elevation gain. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Crescent Lake trail is a great option. It is longer than the Crosswind Lake trail and has a steeper elevation gain, but it is still considered to be relatively easy. More experienced hikers can tackle one of the park’s difficult trails, such as the Donoho Peak trail, which summits one of the park’s tallest peaks. Wrangell – St Elias National Park is truly a paradise for hikers of all levels of ability.

Top 10 Hiking Trails at Wrangell – St Elias 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 Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is a mecca for wildlife enthusiasts. The park is home to an incredible array of animals, including bears, moose, wolves, and caribou. In addition, the park is also home to a variety of plant life, including tundra plants and towering spruce trees. With so much to see and explore, Wrangell – St Elias National Park is the perfect place to get up close and personal with some of Alaska’s most amazing wildlife.

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.

Wrangell – St Elias National Park & Preserve Weather Considerations

Wrangell – St Elias National Park is one of the largest national parks in the United States, and it is known for its varied and extreme weather conditions. The park experiences very cold winters, with average temperatures ranging from -20 to -10 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the summers are relatively mild, with average temperatures ranging from 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. The best time to visit the park is during the summer months, when the weather is more conducive to outdoor activities such as hiking and camping. However, visitors should be aware that the early summer months can be rainy, so it is best to plan accordingly. The worst time to visit the park is during the winter, when temperatures are at their lowest and conditions are often treacherous. If you do choose to visit during this time, be sure to bring appropriate clothing and gear to ensure your safety.