Best time to travel to Death Valley

Eureka Dunes in Death Valley

You'd never think sand dunes can have so many unique secrets kept inside

Best time: March–May | September–November

Eureka Dunes
Eureka Dunes

The Eureka Dunes cover an area of about 8 sq km and rise up to approximately 200 meteкs. They are the highest dunes in California, and probably the highest in North America. This unique sand formation is located in the remote Eureka Valley within the Death Valley National Park.

A travel to the summit won't be as easy as you may expect. You can only get there by foot and slopes are steep, but the view you get at the top is rewarding. One more unique phenomenon you may notice is so called "Singing Sands." It appears when a dry sand grain moves down the slope, creating sounds like moans, hums, or a distant propeller plane.

The Eureka Dunes are blooming sand dunes, one of forty worldwide. The blooming occurs in March. There are three plant species endemic to the dunes—Eureka Dunegrass, Eureka Dune Evening Primrose, and Shining Milkvetch, and five species of endemic beetles found nowhere else in the world. The dunes can hold water like a sponge, which helps to capture precipitation and feeds the living organisms. During the winter months the road that leads to Eureka Dunes can be washed out, thus it's not the best time to come. Summer months might be too hot, especially if you consider camping in the area.

One of the unique phenomena happens when the sand is completely dry, so consider sunny days to witness the 'singing sand'. It happens when the sand moves down the steepest face of a dune, and a sound like a bass note of a pipe organ emanates from the sand. So, all in all, we recommend spring and fall months for visiting the dunes for the best weather conditions and seasonal highlights like blooming and singing sand.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Eureka Dunes?

The ideal period to visit the Eureka Dunes is during March-May or September-November. During these months, visitors can see the sand singing and blooms. However, during the winter, the entrance road might not be accessible due to harsh weather conditions, while summer temperatures might be too high for camping and outdoor activities. Show more

Where are Eureka Dunes located within the Death Valley National Park?

The Eureka Dunes are situated in Eureka Valley, the northern part of the Death Valley National Park. They can easily be accessed through off-road vehicles, and the closest city is Big Pine, about 60 miles from Bishop. For a convenient trip to the Eureka Dunes, visitors need to plan beforehand. Show more

How high are the Eureka Dunes?

The California Eureka Dunes soar around 200 meters, making them the tallest in the state and possibly North America's tallest sand dunes. The stunning landscape provides a breathtaking view from the summit, which can only be accessed by foot. Although not easy to reach, scaling the summit is an incredible experience. Show more

What is the unique phenomenon that can be heard at Eureka Dunes, and when can you hear it?

A distinctive phenomenon that visitors can experience at the Eureka Dunes is the singing sand. On sunny days with dry sand and less air disturbance or wind, grains of sand sliding down the steepest dune face make an eerie, pipe organ-like bass sound. It's an unforgettable experience and a rare phenomenon that not many sand dunes possess. Show more

What are the endemic species that can be found at Eureka Dunes, and what purpose do the dunes serve for the living organisms?

The Eureka Dunes boasts of three plant varieties - the Eureka Dunegrass, Eureka Dune Evening Primrose, and Shining Milkvetch - and five beetle species, which are unique to the dunes and can't be found anywhere else globally. The sand dunes also have a sponge-like nature, which enables them to hold onto and feed off precipitations, thus providing sustenance and a habitat for unique organisms that have adapted to the harsh desert environment. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin