OK, let’s say you are one of those nature lovers who’s looking to escape the cold. With 49 of 50 states experiencing snow this winter, you’re probably not alone. Even in Los Angeles it’s in the upper 50’s F for high temps right now. One place I can recommend that’s warmer is a magical spot on the border of California and Nevada – Death Valley. This is the hottest, driest, and lowest National Park in the US. And at this time of year, it is virtually vacant.

Don’t wait for spring break or temperatures to climb to 120 degrees Fahrenheit this summer. Now is the best time to visit this park. If hiking giant sand dunes, ancient salt flats, and box canyons appeals to your sense of adventure, then this is the place for you. It’s also one of the most amazing and surreal landscapes to photograph. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve stayed overnight at Stovepipe Wells, got up before dawn, and hiked out to the dunes to make photographs at sunrise. The feeling of being both totally alone and one with nature at the same time is difficult to describe.

Just bring plenty of water. Have fun!