Why would ANYONE want to visit the hottest place in North America . . . especially when it has the name “Death” in it? Death Valley’s name might sound a little morbid, but the scenery certainly is not: in fact, Death Valley is a place commonly visited by CISL students. But how do you get there? And what is there to do? Our guide to visiting Death Valley is a great place to start when planning your trip.

Planning a Trip to Death Valley

How to get there

Death Valley is located in Central California, close to the California/Nevada border. It is roughly a 6 hour drive from San Diego and an 8 hour drive from San Francisco. Many students choose to take a road trip, sometimes splitting the drive into two days and stopping for a night. Whether you are coming from San Francisco or San Diego, we suggest a stop in Sequoia National Forest to see the beautiful Sequoia trees: pictures simply don’t do justice to these giants!

Click here for more information on this beautiful state park.

Sequoia National Forest2

Sequoia National Forest

Where to stay

When visiting Death Valley, many choose to camp. However, since CISL students often lack camping equipment, we suggest Panamint Springs Resort, which offers stays in charming, rustic cabins. Panamint also has a general store, a restaurant, and a bar, so after a long day of exploring Death Valley, you have everything you need very close to your room.

For more information, visit the Panamint Springs website.

Panamint Springs Desert2








What to do

Other than the obvious (take lots of photos/post all said photos to Instagram!), Death Valley is an excellent place for hiking. The Badwater Salt Flat is an incredible location to visit: the salt flats are impressively expansive! There are beginner, intermediate, and advanced level hikes detailed on the Death Valley website: click here for information on each hike and its level of difficulty. If you visit during the spring, be sure to check out the beautiful flowers that appear just after the rains!

Panamint Springs FlowerPanamint Springs Meadow







Routes by car are also common, particularly in the hotter months. Click here to check out some of the many routes you can take in a car to see all that Death Valley has to offer.

Nighttime is some of the best time in Death Valley: when the temperatures drop, the desert comes to life! We suggest planning a night of stargazing to relax after a long day of touring the hot desert.

Panamint Springs Stars

For more information, check out the official Death Valley website.

Idioms with “burn”

When visiting Death Valley, there is one word you might use a lot: burn! The burning hot weather is sure to scorch  you! Impress your fellow CISL students/friends with these Idioms with “Burn.”

To be burning up

Definition: to be very hot.

Example: What’s the temperature? It is burning up in this room!


To burn bridge/a bridge

Definition: to destroy a relationship so that there is no chance of repair.

Example: He yelled “I quit!” and ran out of the office. And now he wants a job here again! I think he burned that bridge.


To burn to a crisp

Definition: to burn something very, very badly.

Example: This pizza is burned to a crisp. I can’t eat it!


To burn the midnight oil

Definition: to work late into the night.

Example: It’s 8 pm and we still haven’t finished our project. It looks like we are going to be burning the midnight oil.

All Death Valley photos are fom Panamint Springs Resort on Facebook. All sequoia photos are from the U.S. Forest Service, Sequoia National Forest on Facebook. Cover photo,”Death Valley Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes 2013,” by Tuxyso and Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.