Why Visit Death Valley
Death Valley is named for the doomed efforts of pioneers who, in 1949, were desperately seeking passage through the southerly Sierra Nevada mountains. This hot dry landscape is an grim place for a lose police van aim, but the pioneers persevered. After the establishment of California, Death Valley became a borax mining boom-town in the 1880 ’ second. In the 1920 ’ s the Pacific Borax Company engaged in a generous act of corporate philanthropy when they lobbied the united states government and local anesthetic citizens to to turn their cash cow into a protect space. Pacific Borax succeeded and the area was designated a National Monument in 1933, and then a National Park in 1994. There is something then beautiful about Death Valley ’ mho landscape. At beginning glance it ’ s beige and bare with its blunt mountains and sharp geology. But upon closer inspection, the beauty begins to reveal itself. In an expansive landscape like Death Valley, the charm is much in the contrast details. The topography of the area includes a huge salt lake bed which is the lowest spot in the US at -282 feet. In austere contrast, the lake bed is dwarfed by the 11,000 foot Telegraph Peak. There are eroding sandstone cliffs, canyons, volcanic craters and cliffs “ painted ” with mineral deposits. The lonely remnants of Death Valley ’ s mining thunder besides add diachronic concern to the ballpark. This forbid landscape and hard scribble history has a distribute of stories to tell, which is why visiting Death Valley National Park is such a cover. For more backdrop, check out some of our fun facts about Death Valley .The view of Badwater Basin and the Panamint Range from Dante’s View.
Death Valley National Park Visitor Center & Fees
Death Valley actually covers 5,200 square miles of Mohave Desert landscape. But many of the tops things to do in Death Valley are located in a centralize area surrounding Furnace Creek. So the park ’ s Visitor Center is located there .
Death Valley Passes
Death Valley has 5 roads that provide entrance into the park and none of them are gated. Access into the park is open all of the clock time. The Parks Service relies on the honor system for park visitors, but you need to purchase a legislate and display it in your car. The entrance tip for Death Valley is $ 30 per fomite for a 7-day pass. Motorcycles are $ 25 and people traveling on foot ( who does that in Death Valley ? ) or motorcycle ( ditto ! ) are $ 15. An annual pass to Death Valley is $ 55. You can besides use the $ 80 America the Beautiful National Parks annual spend, the complimentary Military and Veterans pass or the $ 80 Senior life run to access the parking lot .
What’s on Offer at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center
In addition to getting your passes, the Visitor ’ s Center provides services such as campsite check-in for the Furnace Creek, Sunset and Texas bounce campgrounds. You can besides get advice on how to visit the park ’ mho attractions, get hiking suggestions ( with maps ), and visit the bookshop. They besides have museum exhibits on the park ’ s history and geology. And you can sign your kids up for the Junior Ranger plan. The on-site staff are very knowing and friendly, so bash be indisputable to stop in and ask them your questions. The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is open most days from 8a-5p .The route north from Ridgecrest will take you near the ghost town of Ballarat.
How to Get to Death Valley
How Far is Death Valley from Los Angeles?
From LAX to Death Valley is 271 miles and 4.75-5.25 hours of driving. The fastest route is via Ridgecrest and the Panamint Valley. If you go that way, we suggest that you stop into Ballarat Ghost town on the way in. You can take an a sting of extra clock time and go in via I15 through Baker and Death Valley Junction. That route allows you to detour down to Dante’s View. You can even combine Death Valley with a road trip to Joshua Tree National Park. This is a routing that we recommend on our number of the top 20 scenic road trips in CA .
How Far is Death Valley from San Francisco?
From SFO to Death Valley is 502 miles and will take 7-8 hours. The most authentic way is down I5 or Hwy 99 down to Tahachapi and then into the park through Ridgecrest. I prefer highway 99 to I5 because there is far less truck traffic and you drive past some pretty orchards along the way. The most scenic way to get from San Francisco to Death Valley is west on Highway 120 through Yosemite. then take Tioga Pass to Highway 395. This route has amazing scenery. Make prison term for extra stops, or even better, add on extra days using our Highway 395 road trip path. But we besides have a looping path between SF and Death Valley that has some interesting stops around Ridgecrest and the Central Valley. Be mindful that using Tioga Pass requires a Yosemite entrance tip and it ’ s not candid in the winter. The closure is normally from November to late-May, but check the Yosemite National park locate for status. even if Tioga is closed, you can just add an supernumerary 1.5 hours, and get to Hwy 395 via I80 through South Lake Tahoe .
How Far is Death Valley from Las Vegas?
The distance is 111-142 miles and will take roughly 2 hours, depending upon which of three routes you use. Las Vegas is actually the closest airport to Death Valley. If you go through Amargosa Valley to Death Valley Junction, you can make a pitstop to hang out with some aliens at Area 51. If you go through Pahrump, it will be slenderly shorter and with either, you can detour down to Dante’s View. Or, you can go a bit far north to Beatty, stopping at Rhyolite Ghost town and the Goldwell sculptures before heading into the northern reaches of the park. This would besides be a good path for stopping at the Ubehebe Crater. here ’ south our template for doing Death Valley as a day stumble from Las Vegas .
How Long is the Death Valley Road?
People Google this question but it ’ s a difficult one to answer because there are many roads in the park and none of them are called “ Death Valley Road ”. That said, Highway 190 is the major northeast-to-southwest thoroughfare through Death Valley. It runs 187 miles from Olancha ( south of Lone Pine ) to Death Valley Junction .
Where is the Death Valley Entrance?
There is no single entrance into Death Valley, but there are three main entrances that most people use. The first is to come in from Highway 395 at Lone Pine. The second is to come up the Panamint Valley Road from Ridgecrest. The third base enters west into the parking lot from Death Valley Junction. There are two less popular but scenic routes. The foremost takes a fully paved low road along Badwater Basin south past Mormon point and the Ashford Mill ruins and into Shoshone. The early takes the constrict eminent road on Immigrant Canyon Road, which goes over a 5,300 foot pass. In Immigrant Canyon, you can side chase to the Charcoal Kilns site, but you ’ ll need all-wheel drive and some headroom to do that. There is besides a shortstop stretch of scandal road in Immigrant Canyon, but most cars and vans can handle it .
Is Driving in Death Valley Safe?
Yes. If you are concern about road conditions, all of the top sights listed here are accessible from pave roads. Some of the scandal roads are graded and accessible for normal passenger cars but others are lone recommended for all 4×4 vehicles with headroom. The Park Service map has very distinctly marked guidance on roads .
Food, Gas & Cell Service in Death Valley
Is There Cell Service in Death Valley?
There is poor service in the park. The AT & T, T-Mobile and Verizon coverage maps offer a patchy network that ranges from no coverage to “ off network coverage ”, which is code for “ we will temp you with a bar or two but it won ’ metric ton work well ”. And forget about it on the more remote control areas of the park or while hiking in time slot canyons. then, hoard or print this guidebook in advance of visiting. Use offline Google maps, Alltrails maps and pick-up paper maps and visitor guides in Furnace Creek ( or print them in advance ) .
Where to Get Gas in Death Valley
There are three places within the ballpark boundary to get gas. They are : Panamint Springs ( on the west side ), Stovepipe Wells Village ( north/central ) and Furnace Creek ( following to the Visitor ’ s Center ). Be aware that these are humble boast stations and that they can and do sometimes run out of gasoline. so, keep your tank car topped up. In addition, Furnace Creek is the only gas station in the park that sells diesel and premium fuels. There are besides flatulence stations in the towns along the major gateway roads into the ballpark. This includes Lone Pine ( on Hwy 395 ), Ridgecrest ( southerly Panamint Valley ), Shoshone and Pahrump ( eastern boundary ), Beatty ( northeastern edge ), and Baker and Tecopa ( to the confederacy ).
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Where to Get Groceries in Death Valley
There is no proper grocery memory in Death Valley. You can get snacks, treats and lighter grocery store items like sandwich makings at the Panamint Springs shop, Stovepipe Village and the ranch at Furnace Creek .
Where to Eat in Death Valley
The Inn at Death Valley is the fondness hotel in the park. Their main restaurant has breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their dinner offerings are quite good and reservations are recommended. They besides have a poolside cafe with sandwiches, wraps and the like. The Ranch at Furnace Creek has The Ranch restaurant which offers breakfast and dinner. They besides have the Last Kind Words Saloon which has a lovely wood bar and serves drinks, steaks, salads and burgers. The Coffee & Cream is overt from 1-7p and has casual food, pizza, sandwiches and ice cream. The 19th Hole has burgers and a full barroom ( but it closes at 6pm ). Stovepipe Wells Village has the Toll Road which offers a breakfast buffet and a dinner menu. You can besides eat in their Badwater Saloon. I ’ ve eaten in all three of these concession venues and can say that they are all overpriced for the value. The food ranges from “ kinda all right ” to “ not-to-bad ”. You are a captive consultation in Death Valley. so if you are on a budget, bring a cool and pack as much of your own food as you can .View of the Red Cathedral from the Gower Gulch hike—which is best done in the cooler months.
The Best Time to Visit Death Valley National Park
April and October are my favored times because the weather is very pleasant. summer is the worst time to visit because the volcanic 115′ temperatures will prevent you from enjoying your prison term outside .
- For wildflowers: The very best month to visit Death Valley is in April and if you’re lucky, the wildflowers will be in bloom. You can keep an eye on the Park’s website for a wildflower watch.
- For warm days and cool nights: March-April and October-November have great weather for your Death Valley visit. Average highs are are 80-90 and lows are 55-65.
- For fewer crowds: January is the quietest month for visitation, with half of what April gets. The stretch between Thanksgiving and Christmas are also quiet times for both Death Valley and nearby(ish) Joshua Tree National Park.
How Much Time do You Need for Death Valley?
Is one day enough for Death Valley ? not very. It ’ s the largest National Park in the continental US and there is a lot to do and see. That said, some of the most popular sights are centrally situated. With the avail of our Death Valley day trip scout, you can see the highlights in one day if you don ’ thymine mind scurrying around. Two days will allow you to visit Death Valley ’ s top sites with more fourth dimension for exploring. here ’ s our two-day travel guidebook. And a three day Death Valley vacation will allow you to add in some of the longer hikes in the park .This is why it’s worth visiting the Mesquite Dunes at dawn or dusk.
Top Things to Do in Death Valley
There are sol many cool things do to in Death Valley, it ’ mho hard to figure out how to prioritize. We recommend doing a mix of scenic vistas, hikes and historic sites. That way, you ’ ll get a great smell of what the ballpark is all about .
Mesquite Dunes at Dawn or Dusk
One of the best ways to get your awe inspired in Death Valley is to get up and out ahead dawn. Yes, it ’ randomness intemperate, but in in the park, it ’ s wholly worth the pre-dawn dismay and blue motel room coffee. You can get to the Mesquite dunes with a reasonably easy 15 minute drive from Stovepipe Wells. then hike into the dunes for 20-30 minutes and just explore at random. The warm light against the orange sand is a beautiful wake-up cry and this is a fantastic spot for an early morning photograph shoot .
Badwater river basin is the huge drain aquifer for Death Valley, covering about 200 squarely miles of daunting salt flats. At -282 feet, it ’ s the lowest spot in the United States. It ’ s called “ badwater ” because a surveyor found that his mule wouldn ’ triiodothyronine drink the highly salty water. You can visit anytime of day, but the valley is particularly beautiful at twilight, when the sun is setting over Telescope Peak to the west. From Furnace Creek, it will take 20 minutes to get to there. Go early because the park lot is small .
The Golden Canyon Gower Gulch Hike
The Golden Canyon trail in Death Valley is popular…and for good argue. While hiking you enter an ancient portal into Death Valley ’ s singular geology. You leave the flats of Badwater Basin behind and enter the canyon ’ second narrow runway, flanked by yellow and red rock formations and challenging tentacles along Golden Canyon ’ south slope shoots. Most people fair do the Golden Canyon hike but we recommend taking the time to add on the Gower Gulch coil. It will give you views of the Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point geology and some of the colorful mineral deposits that characterize the sphere. here ’ s our wax guide for hiking Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch .
Artist’s Palette Drive
This scenic drive is located in the Badwater Basin, so you can add it on before or after doing the Golden Canyon hike or Badwater Basin point of view. The Artist ’ s Palette one-way, nine mile drive will take you through an perplex geological rainbow. One option is to just do the driveway and get a quick view of the eye sugarcoat. But I recommend that you can stop at the multiple pull-outs along the way. You ’ ll be rewarded if you get out of the car and raise nearer to these multi-hued rock ‘n’ roll formations. The moment disengagement has particularly beneficial access for getting into the colored side canyons .Dawn view from Zabriskie Point.
Zabriskie Point at Dawn
Zabriskie Point at dawn is a must see for your Death Valley slip. The point has generous folds of sandstone in the foreground with the Panamint Mountains as a backdrop. Dawn is pretty adequate with the dawn sunday lighting up the Panamint mountains in pinko, but things get in truth interesting about 20 minutes late when the sun rises a bit more and starts throwing shadows onto the sandstone canyon below. From there, you can head down into the canyon for the 2.7 mile Badlands Loop raise. Zabriskie Point is a abruptly ten moment drive from Furnace Creek .An abandoned rail car in Rhyolite.
Ryolite Ghost Town
technically, Rhyolite is merely outside of the park boundary. But since mining was such an important part of Death Valley ’ second history, it ’ second worth visiting. Rhyolite ’ south crumbling infrastructure offers a bang-up lesson on California ’ s irregular mine history. The town went from smash to bust in merely 20 short years. On locate, you can poke around the building ruins, old rail cars and a cool build make of sodium carbonate bottles. You should besides visit the nearby Goldwell Sculpture garden. If you like cold and abandoned spots, check out this lead to California ghostwriter towns. It includes a few others that are near Death Valley .
Dante ’ mho View is 25 miles southeast of Furnace Creek. At a height of 5,400 feet, you ’ ll get wide fish bird’s-eye views of the Badwater Basin and the Panamint batch range. The other cool thing about Dante ’ mho View is that it ’ s the lapp view that Luke, Obi Wan, C3PO and R2D2 had when they were headed into Mos Eisley. And if you are a Star Wars nerd, the Twenty Mule Team Drive, Golden Canyon, Desolation Canyon, Mesquite Dunes and Artist ’ sulfur Drive were besides filming locations. May the wedge be with you .Sidewinder Canyon with a peekaboo view of the Panamint Range.
If You Have Extra Time
The Ubehebe Crater is 58 miles union of Furnace Creek. Death Valley visitors who are in a haste quite much don ’ t make the time for it, but I found the crater fascinate. This singular formation is a 600 foot deep anatropous volcano. It was formed when gases and magma built up and then exploded all over the surrounding defect floor. The resulting geology has created layers of colorful and textured rock ‘n’ roll deposits. While there, you can circumnavigate the 1.5 mile rim and/or walk down to the bottom of the crater .The Ubehebe Crater.
Harmony Borax Works
Borax is a compound used in many detergents and other family products. It ’ sulfur not angstrom sexy as gold, but during the belated 1800 ’ s it was a major separate of Death Valley ’ second mine operations. The Harmony Borax Works offer a agile history lesson on Death Valley ’ s mining history. It ’ mho located good a few minutes union of Furnace Creek .
20 Mule Team Road
This 2.5 mile one manner soil road takes a force into the landscape below Zabriskie Point. The unretentive drive takes you through an eroded spare landscape and there is a short .3 mile rise to a nearby overlook .
Sidewinder Canyon Hike
This raise international relations and security network ’ thyroxine a popular as Golden Canyon, but it ’ sulfur quite rewarding for the patient hiker. It ’ south billed as a 4 nautical mile out and back rise, but the independent trail own ’ t no capital shakes. The very attraction is exploring the four slot canyons that branch off to the south of the independent path. They are a revelation and evocative of Antelope Canyon in Arizona. Check out our Sidewinder Canyon hiking guidebook — it has virtual tips for how to do the hike with some cool pics that will make you want to go now . ( This article contains affiliate links. This means that if you choose to purchase, I ’ ll make a modest mission. )
Where to Stay on Your Death Valley Trip
There are 12 secret and public campgrounds in Death Valley, disbursed across the 5,200 square miles of the National Park. Which campground you choose will be subject upon whether you want to be in the thickly of things or out in the hinterlands. Use our steer to all Death Valley campgrounds and find the correct option for you. You can besides book a glamping camp in Panamint Springs. If you prefer a hotel stay, there are three hotels within the ballpark. They range in quality and, honestly, none are a fabulous deal for the money. But if you aren ’ metric ton camp, it ’ sulfur worth staying at one of these three places because the nearest lodge outside of the park is 60 miles away. however, ledger early because during high season, these lodgings fill up debauched. We have a broad hotel scout that besides gives suggestions for more budget-friendly places to stay outside of the ballpark .
- The Inn at Death Valley is a fancy historic inn, with lovely grounds and a nice restaurant. Check reviews and book with Booking.com.
- The Ranch at Death Valley is a centrally located family-friendly place in Furnace Creek. Check reviews and book with Booking.com.
- The Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel is a perfectly servicable motel. They don’t have a lot of amenities, but there is a restaurant and small store onsite. Check reviews on Trip Advisor.
Can you rent a cabin in Death Valley?
No. There are no cabins for rent in the park .
Are There Airbnbs near Death Valley?
The closest Airbnbs to cardinal Death Valley are in Pahrump, which is an hour from Furnace Creek. There are besides a few listings in Shoshone, Beatty, Lone Pine and even more in Ridgecrest .The Harmony Borax works interpretive trail.
Death Valley Guided Tours
The National Park sometimes runs guided texas ranger tours or talks for Golden Canyon, Mesquite Dunes, Badwater and Harmony Borax Works. Check their calendar to see if anything is scheduled for your Death Valley visit. If you are staying in Las Vegas, you can book onto one of respective different Death Valley guided day tours. All of them are approximately 10 hours and will pick-up from Las Vegas hotels and Airbnbs. They are all ~ $ 250 per person for the wide day, which includes a guide, home park tip, lunch, snacks and water. The tours differ by which stops they make and whether or not you can customize your options. Check out these four choices and chink on the associate to get more information, read reviews and book .My tragically practical Hoka footwear and hiking pants with zippered pockets.
What to Pack for Death Valley National Park
- Bring a ton of water. This is the Mohave Desert after all and the hikes and vista points don’t have water. Bring a water bottle for on the go and stock the car with larger refillable bottles like this wide mouth gallon jug.
- Bring a cooler full of food. Distances are too far for you to be going out and back for every meal. Take a good sized cooler that will keep cold in the heat and will hold a decent amount of lunch and snack items. The Yeti coolers are expensive, but they keep food cold for far longer than cheaper coolers. Plus they come in fun colors. Alternatively, you can get a plug-in cooler, which uses your car’s 12 volt plug to keep things cold.
- Pack layers. Just because it doesn’t rain (much) in Death Valley, doesn’t mean that there isn’t weather. On my most recent trip, I went through three layers just on the Golden Canyon hike.
- Proper hiking pants. Yoga pants and gym shorts don’t cut it when you are hiking because you don’t want to be dropping your phone and keys all over Death Valley. Proper hiking pants or shorts with zippered pockets are a must. I love the hiking pants from Kuhl. They are breathable, stretchy and have zippered pockets. I’m also a big fan of Columbia hiking clothing. They manage to strike the right balance between price and quality and their clothes have a more generous cut.
- Proper hiking shoes. You don’t necessarily need heavy hiking boots for your Death Valley trip, but you should at least invest in some trail runners or light hikers. Flexible sole gym shoes aren’t good for gripping the rocky, gravely soil of Death Valley. We’ve put well over 1,000 miles on the Hoka Speedgoat trail runners. They have strong foot cushioning and decent grip.
- A fully charged camera or phone. Death Valley is pretty. You’ll want to have a full charge so that you can take as many pics as you want. Amazon Basics sells an inexpensive charger that will give you two full cell phone charges.
There ’ s your Death Valley travel guidebook. We ’ re hop that it ’ randomness given you all of the practical information that you need for your trip. If you have any questions, be certain to find us on Facebook. Have fun and happy trails !
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