Death Valley’s Wild Surprise; Furnace Creek Resort Celebrates Better-than-Expected Wildflower Season

For Immediate Release
Photos Available

DEATH VALLEY, Calif., April 9, 2014 – Monet would have a field day. California’s Death Valley National Park is enjoying a colorful spring and looking forward to a vibrant summer thanks to a surprisingly good emerging wildflower season. In recent weeks, the rugged desert park has become reminiscent of a Monet painting, with shades of gold, pink, purple, orange and white dotting the landscape of the 3.3 million acre park.

“We’d heard from the National Park Service that 2014 wasn’t going to be a particularly strong wildflower year, but happily, those predictions were not accurate, and we are now enjoying a wildly colorful spring,” said Denise Perkins, director of sales and marketing for Furnace Creek Resort. “The ruggedness of the desert has a certain kind of magic to it year-round, and the wash of vibrant color this year has added a much-appreciated dimension to the beauty of the park.”

Most wildflower-watchers at the National Park Service and the park’s Furnace Creek Resort didn’t expect a banner year this spring because the trifecta of conditions needed for a good bloom – moisture throughout winter and spring, sufficient warmth and minimal winds – did not occur. Yet colorful desert gold, monkeyflowers, golden evening primrose and other blooms have been sprouting up along the park’s roads and hillsides.

Perkins said she’s seen numerous visitors stopped at roadside viewpoints throughout the park photographing the flowers. “If visitors take away anything, it should only be a photograph,”
she said. “It is illegal to pick wildflowers in the park. Every seed is needed to repopulate the park the next year.”

According to the National Park Service’s Wildflower Update, the bloom is a result of rainfall in the higher elevations of the park, especially in the Panamint Mountains. And the Park Service is predicting the colorful show will continue through the summer.

During an especially good bloom year, the first desert gold wildflowers begin to bloom on a hilly, volcanic area north of Ashford Mill, near Furnace Creek Resort. They are joined by flowers with such evocative names as desert star, evening primrose, verbena and poppy.  By late April, the Panamint Mountains and other higher climes welcome paintbrush, lupine and panamint daisies. Even the spiny cacti and Joshua trees may blossom. The Mojave wild rose, hardy rabbitbrush and delicate mariposa lilies join the show.

Most desert wildflowers are annuals, sometimes called ephemerals because they are so short-lived. But this limited lifespan is exactly what ensures their survival. Rather than struggle to stay alive during the desert’s most extreme conditions, annual wildflowers lie dormant as seeds. When enough rain finally does fall, the seeds quickly sprout, grow, bloom and go back to seed again. By blooming all at the same time during good years, wildflowers can attract large numbers of pollinators – butterflies, moths, bees and hummingbirds – not normally found in Death Valley.

During the month of April, the average daytime high is around 90 degrees Fahrenheit, and the temperature falls to the low 60s in the evening. In May, the average daytime high is around 100 degrees and the nighttime average is in the low 70s.

It’s not too late to plan a last-minute wildflower getaway to the historic AAA Four Diamond Inn at Furnace Creek or the family-friendly Ranch at Furnace Creek. The two lodges that comprise Furnace Creek Resort are offering a variety of packages and discounts. The Inn closes for the summer season on May 10, and the Ranch is open year-round.

Colorful Getaways

For guests seeking a last-minute Easter getaway, Furnace Creek Resort is offering an array of festive weekend events. On Saturday, April 19, the Ranch is staging an egg-decorating event from 3 to 4 p.m. On Sunday, April 20, children can enjoy an Easter egg hunt in the Oasis Gardens at the Inn at Furnace Creek. Easter Brunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Inn at Furnace Creek Dining Room. And that afternoon, the Furnace Creek Resort Golf Course is hosting an Easter Golf Scramble.

For over-55 guests, the resort offers a progressive discount off room rates. Guests receive 10 percent off the room rate for a one-night stay, 20 percent for a two-night stay and 30 percent for stays of three or more nights. Guests should use the promotional code SENIOR.

Golfers can enjoy the color as well as a discount with the Unlimited Golf package featuring accommodations, unlimited golf every day at the Furnace Creek Golf Course, 18-hole cart rental and club storage. Guests should use the promotional code GOLF.

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The Furnace Creek Resort has been welcoming guests since the 1930s. The historic AAA Four Diamond Inn at Furnace Creek is open from mid-October through mid-May. It features 66 rooms, including two suites with a full array of amenities, fine dining, massage therapy, tennis courts and a spring-fed pool. Open year-round, the Ranch at Furnace Creek is situated adjacent to the golf course and features 224 rooms in a casual setting, general store, spring-fed swimming pool, tennis courts, horseback riding and the Borax Museum.

Reservations may be made online or by calling toll free at 1-800-236-7916 or 1-303-297-2757.