Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is a below-sea-level basin that straddles the California/Nevada border, steady drought and record summer heat make it a land of extremes. In addition to being the largest National Park in the lower 48 states, it is also the hottest, driest, and lowest.
This was the first park I ever visited alone and the first time I ever attempted to properly photograph a park with a DSLR camera . I was meeting a group of friends in Las Vegas and I decided to drive the 2 hours from the airport in a rental car. I arrived at The Oasis hotel inside the park at night, slept for about 6 hours and got up at 4:30 am to go exploring. It was mid June at the time, just before foreign tourists arrive to experience the hottest heat and after American tourists stop visiting because it's getting too hot, so I largely had the park to myself. I spent 6 hours driving and doing the short scenic views and hikes off of the main road including bad water basin, the devils golf course, artist point, and natural bridge.
Around 10 am it was 114 degrees so I decided to go back to the hotel, have a couple beers by the pool and then take a nap. I got up before sunset, once it had cooled down, and drove down to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. This was my personal favorite place in the park. It's extremely beautiful and peaceful with an other-worldly quality. This park is also a gold tier dark sky park and a great place to star gaze.