The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are at the northern end of the valley floor and are nearly surrounded by mountains on all sides. Due to their easy access from the road and the overall proximity of Death Valley to Hollywood, these dunes have been used to film sand dune scenes for several movies including films in the Star Wars series.
The Artist Drive Formation: the rock unit provides evidence for one of the Death Valley area's most violently explosive volcanic periods. The Miocene-aged formation is made up of cemented gravel, playa deposits, and volcanic debris, perhaps 5,000 feet (1,500 m) thick. Chemical weathering and hydrothermal alteration cause the oxidation and other chemical reactions that produce the variety of colors displayed in the Artist Drive Formation and nearby exposures of the Furnace Creek Formation.
The Harmony Borax Works is located in Death Valley at Furnace Creek Springs . After discovery of Borax deposits here by Aaron and Rosie Winters in 1881, business associates William Tell Coleman and Francis Marion Smith subsequently obtained claims to these deposits, opening the way for "large-scale" borax mining in Death Valley. The Harmony operation became famous through the use, from 1883 to 1889, of large Twenty-mule teams and double wagons which hauled borax the long overland route to the closest railroad in Mojave, California.
Rhyolite is a ghost town in Nye County, in the U.S. state of Nevada. It is in the Bullfrog Hills, about 120 miles (190 km) northwest of Las Vegas, near the eastern edge of Death Valley. The town began in early 1905 as one of several mining camps that sprang up after a prospecting discovery in the surrounding hills. During an ensuing gold rush, thousands of gold-seekers, developers, miners and service providers flocked to the Bullfrog Mining District. Many settled in Rhyolite, which lay in a sheltered desert basin near the region's biggest producer, the Montgomery Shoshone Mine.
After 1920, Rhyolite and its ruins became a tourist attraction and a setting for motion pictures. Most of its buildings crumbled, were salvaged for building materials, or were moved to nearby Beatty or other towns, although the railway depot and a house made chiefly of empty bottles were repaired and preserved.
Mules of Beatty, NV. The size of the herd poses problems for the National Park Service, which recently announced a five-year operation to round up and remove all non-native burros from nearby Death Valley National Park. Beatty’s burros only have to wander about 10 miles west to begin repopulating the 3.4-million-acre park.
The Painted Desert is a United States desert of badlands in the Four Corners area running from near the east end of Grand Canyon National Park and southeast into Petrified Forest National Park. It is most easily accessed in the north portion of Petrified Forest National Park. The Painted Desert is known for its brilliant and varied colors, that not only include the more common red rock, but even shades of lavender. The Painted Desert was named by an expedition under Francisco Vázquez de Coronado on his 1540 quest to find the Seven Cities of Cibola, which he located some 40 miles east of Petrified Forest National Park. Finding the cities were not made of gold, Coronado sent an expedition to find the Colorado River to resupply him. Passing through the wonderland of colors, they named the area El Desierto Pintado ("The Painted Desert")
Newspaper Rock in the Petrified Forest NP is a towering rock covered in petroglyphs on two sides. This archeological site is neither a newspaper nor a single rock. The site boasts over 650 petroglyphs covering a group of rockfaces within a small area. High concentrations of petroglyphs like this mark a place as hugely significant. Many generations of people saw these markings and contributed their own. The petroglyphs were created by ancestral Puebloan people living, farming, and hunting along the Puerco River between 650 and 2,000 years ago. Some of the ancient artists may have lived at Puerco Pueblo, located less than one mile north of this site.