Forest Opening, Desert Closing

The Inn at Furnace Creek will soon shutter for summer.

THAT SEASONAL HELLO: And goodbye. We spent several happy minutes last week rhapsodizing over the opening of the Wawona Hotel near Yosemite Valley. Of course, it wasn't the grand opening for the hotel -- President Theodore Roosevelt famously stayed there back in the day -- but it was the summer opening. Which is something we love, and spoke about, in our everything's-always-available-and-open world. That there are some major locations that still open and close with the seasons. And as the Wawona gears up for the summer season another landmark property gears down. Nope, it isn't in Yosemite but it is square in the middle of another national park: Death Valley. We're talking about the Inn at Furnace Creek, which will wrap up its winter run on Saturday, May 12.

HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW: The Ranch at Furnace Creek, the more casual and economically minded sibling to the Inn, does stay open all summer, if you're wanting to do The DV in July (we honestly think that would be amazing and rather epic, if the right amounts of water and sunblock are packed). We also just learned that the Furnace Creek Resort is offering a trio of springtime packages, including the Death Valley Explorer Package, which covers both the Ranch and the Inn (the other two packages are solely tied to the Ranch). Nope, the flowerage isn't quite the display it has been in past years -- those winter dry spells contributed to that -- but Death Valley in April? Nearly supernaturally beautiful. Yes, we love the hyperbole, but get to Zabriskie Point on a day that's somewhere between cold and hot and tell us if you don't slightly agree.

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