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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 survives in Death Valley.
Need ideas for a trip to Death Valley? Check out this people and planet-friendly adventure from Intrepid Travel:
Death Valley is the largest U.S. National Park outside Alaska at 3,422,024 acres. Nearly 1,000 miles of paved and dirt roads provide access to locations both popular and remote. Even so, 93% of the park is protected as officially designated Wilderness. That wild country includes low valley floors crusted with barren salt flats, rugged mountains rising as much as 11,000 feet, deep and winding canyons, rolling sand dunes, and spring-fed oases. Whether you have an afternoon or a week, careful planning will help make your visit safe and enjoyable.
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Ridgecrest is a city in Kern County, California, United States, along U.S. Route 395 in the Indian Wells Valley in northeastern Kern County, adjacent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake (NAWS, or China Lake). It was incorporated as a city in 1963. The population was 27,616 at the 2010 census, up from 24,927 at the 2000 census. Ridgecrest is surrounded by four mountain ranges; the Sierra Nevada on the west, the Cosos on the north, the Argus Range on the east, and the El Paso Mountains on the south. It is approximately 82 miles (132 km) from the Lancaster/Palmdale area, 110 miles (177 km) from Bakersfield, and 120 miles (193 km) from San Bernardino, the three nearest major urban centers. Private air travel in and out of the city is provided through the Inyokern Airport. There are currently no scheduled commercial flights. The city has been near the epicenter of major earthquakes, including one in 1995 and a series of quakes in July 2019.
Las Vegas (; Spanish for "The Meadows"), often known simply as Vegas, is the 26th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city, known primarily for its gambling, shopping, fine dining, entertainment, and nightlife. The Las Vegas Valley as a whole serves as the leading financial, commercial, and cultural center for Nevada. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous for its mega casino-hotels and associated activities. It is a top three destination in the United States for business conventions and a global leader in the hospitality industry, claiming more AAA Five Diamond hotels than any other city in the world. Today, Las Vegas annually ranks as one of the world's most visited tourist destinations. The city's tolerance for numerous forms of adult entertainment earned it the title of "Sin City", and has made Las Vegas a popular setting for literature, films, television programs, and music videos. Las Vegas was settled in 1905 and officially incorporated in 1911. At the close of the 20th century, it was the most populated American city founded within that century (a similar distinction was earned by Chicago in the 19th century). Population growth has accelerated since the 1960s, and between 1990 and 2000 the population nearly doubled, increasing by 85.2%. Rapid growth has continued into the 21st century, and according to the United States Census Bureau, the city had 641,903 residents in 2020, with a metropolitan population of 2,227,053.As with most major metropolitan areas, the name of the primary city ("Las Vegas" in this case) is often used to describe areas beyond official city limits. In the case of Las Vegas, this especially applies to the areas on and near the Las Vegas Strip, which are actually located within the unincorporated communities of Paradise and Winchester.
Henderson is a city in Clark County, Nevada, United States, about 16 miles (26 km) southeast of downtown Las Vegas. It is the second largest city in Nevada, after Las Vegas, with an estimated population of 320,189 in 2019. The city is part of the Las Vegas Valley. Henderson occupies the southeastern end of the valley, at an elevation of 1,864 feet (568 m). Henderson is known for its supply of magnesium during World War II. With the decline of magnesium production, the Nevada legislature approved a bill that gave Nevada's Colorado River Commission the authority to purchase the industrial plants, and Henderson was incorporated in 1953. Henderson is the location of Lake Las Vegas.
Boulder City is a town in Clark County, Nevada, United States. It is approximately 26 miles (42 km) southeast of Las Vegas. As of the 2020 census, the population of Boulder City was 14,885. The town took its name from Boulder Canyon. Boulder City is one of only two places in Nevada that prohibits gambling, the other being the town of Panaca.