A hair-brained scheme if ever there was one, this Moorish-style castle was built by Walter Scott, sometime cowboy, prospector and performer, after he'd scammed a Chicago millionaire into financing it as a winter retreat. With furnishings and a pipe organ from the period when it operated as a hotel, costumed rangers re-enact life here in the late 1930s and tell the castles' story.
There's a phenomenon that occurs on the dried lake-bed at Racetrack Playa that even scientists can't explain. Large rocks, some weighing several hundred pounds, dot the surface of this vast wilderness, but no one knows how they get there. They appear overnight, leaving long trails in the parched earth behind them - the really strange thing being that nobody has ever seen them actually move.
What a View
There are several not-to-be-missed look-out points that are a key part of Death Valley tours. Dante's View is one of the best, and from over 1600 metres up in the Black Mountains affords panoramic views over the Valley's stand-out features. Zabriskie's View is another, and although much lower, looks out over spectacular multi-coloured hills and is perfect for watching the sun rise.
Take A Hike
Although you have to be mindful of the high temperatures and staying hydrated, there are some good trails to follow and lots of off-trail possibilities if you're in search of solitude. The Gower Gulch Loop offers a hike through colourful badlands, canyon narrows and old borax mines, while at Mesquite Flat you can walk cross-country until you reach 30-metre high sand dunes.
Kaleidoscope Of Colour
Take a trip along Artist's Drive amid stunning scenery and stop at Artist's Palette, where mineral deposits have turned the hills rich hues of red, pink, orange, purple and green.