Death Valley National Park is stunningly barren. Silt hillsides crowned with rock and scree give way to dry streambeds and barren salt flats, the air dancing under a pitiless sun. The largest park in the lower 48 states, it contains the lowest elevation point in the country — nearly 300 feet below sea level — and has set the global heat record. It’s a place that seems utterly antithetical to life, certainly not the sort of terrain where you’d expect to find a thriving population of wild burros.
Yet there are thousands of them in Death Valley, clustering for the most part around natural springs and park buildings.