LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) – Following massive bouts of rain, people are kayaking at Death Valley National Park, one of the hottest and driest places on Earth.

The park averages about two inches of rain per year, according to park officials, but the valley floor received 4.9 inches in the past six month due to two historic rain events. Remnants of Hurricane Hilary produced 2.2 inches on Aug. 20, 2023 and an atmospheric river Feb. 4-7 produces about 1.5 inches. The amount of rain outpaced the evaporation rate, leading to a temporary lake, Lake Manly.

The lake is about six miles long, three miles wide and one foot deep, making it only deep enough to kayak for a couple weeks. Badwater Basin, the area where the lake is located, is at the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below sea level, normally a dry salt flat.

Death Valley National Park has partially reopened after suffering damage from storms in August.

“The lake was deep enough to kayak for a few weeks after Hurricane Hilary, but unfortunately people couldn’t come enjoy it then,” park ranger Abby Wines said. “Every road in the park was damaged by flash floods, and it took two months to open the first road into the park. Now most of the main roads are open, so it’s a great time to come visit!”

“You might think with no drain to the sea, that Death Valley would always have a lake,” Wines said. “But this is an extremely rare event.”

If you choose to kayak at Death Valley, park rangers ask that you follow park rules, such as walking on established pathways and ensuring that if you are not parking in a parking lot, that you are parked fully out of the driving lane.

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