FEW MOTORCYCLISTS CONTEMPLATE “COLD” WHEN RIDING DEATH VALLEY NATIONAL PARK. In fact, most anyone – riders or not – equate Death Valley with scorching desert heat. More pertinent to riders, the park usually envelopes motorcyclists with moderate temperatures only in the late fall, winter and early spring. Of course, regardless of what season you visit and no matter what direction you’re riding from, you’ll be coming from somewhere cooler. Which means it’s the temperatures in between your starting point and Death Valley that you’ll need to consider. Don’t get me wrong, though. Winter, early spring and late fall ARE the times to visit or you’ll be riding through substantial triple digit temperatures.
For this weekend’s ride (at the very beginning of spring), the park was very comfortable – about 72 degrees Fahrenheit – at the lowest elevations and when the sun was up. But on my second day I left a warm motel at 5:00 am and ventured into 35 degree blackness with the intention of reaching Death Valley at sunrise. Let’s just say the cool temperature was stimulating for a rider that’s been living Southern California for 20 years.
I have been riding to Death Valley National Park for a number of years and I enjoy riding through the park at sunset and especially sunrise, when there is very little traffic. Furthermore, the vast desert vistas are especially inspiring during that dawn glow.
Next time I visit so close to winter, I’ll ride into, or just outside the park on the first day, so that the following morning I can leave right before sunrise instead of several hours earlier….