Death Valley is in California. It is the hottest and driest place in North America. Its average yearly rainfall is less than two inches. The Native Americans originally called the valley Tomesha (Ground Afire). It was given the name Death Valley by a group of emigrants after 13 of the party had died while crossing the desert in 1849. Death Valley is now a 3.3 million acre National Park. It includes the 11,049 foot Telescope Peak whereas Badwater is the lowest point (-282 feet) in the western hemisphere.