Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Quick Facts

Death Valley National Park

California

(760) 786-3200

Map Directions

Things To Do

Overview

Death Valley is a land of extremes and is considered one of the hottest, driest and lowest places in the world. Summer temperatures average well over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, making it quite warm. The lowest point in the Western Hemisphere is located within park boundaries at 282 feet below the sea level. With an average rainfall of only 1.96 inches a year it is also the driest place in North America. Subtle beauties will entrance a visitor while at Death Valley. You can watch the morning light as it creeps across the eroded badlands of Zabriskie Point to strike Manly Beacon. During the evening make sure to watch the sunset on the Sand Dunes at Stovepipe Wells. During springtime, the colors of the golden hills above Harmony Borax draw crowds of patient wildflower hunters.

Death Valley is a treasure trove of scientific information about the ancient Earth and about the forces still working to shape the modern world. It is home to plants, animals, and human beings that have adapted themselves to take advantage of its rare and hard won bounty. It is a story of western expansion, wealth, greed, suffering and triumph.

Two visitor centers will help you experience one of America's most amazing natural parks. Furnace Creek Visitor Center, the main park visitor, is open year-round and has a bookstore and rangers on hand to answer questions. Scotty's Castle and visitor center is an elaborate, Spanish-style mansion built in the 1920s and '30s. A ranger-guided tour of the castle interior or the system of underground tunnels make a day trip to the northern reaches of the park worth your while. A snack bar, museum and bookstore are available at Scotty's Castle year-round.

Map of Death Valley

Latitude, Longitude: 36.461829, -116.866412

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Activities

  • Bicycling

    Death Valley has more than 785 miles of roads including hundreds of miles suitable for Mountain Biking. Bicycles can be used on all park roads that are open to public vehicular traffic. They can also be used on routes that have been designated for bicycle use in developed areas such as the path between the visitor center and the Harmony Borax Works. They are not allowed on closed roads, service roads, off roadways, in the wilderness, or on any trails. This is a great way to explore Death Valley National Park.

  • Auto/Motorcycle

    Death Valley has more miles of roads than any other national park. Though 91% of the park's 3.4 million acres are protected in roadless wilderness areas, nearly one thousand miles of paved and dirt roads provide ample opportunities for recreation and exploration. Road conditions can change quickly. Current road condition information is available at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center or on the Morning Report (updated daily) posted throughout the park.

  • Camping

    Backcountry camping is allowed in the variety of rugged mountain and desert terrain found at Death Valley. More than three million acres of wilderness and over 400 miles of backcountry dirt roads are open to camping under a few regulations. Out here you start by parking your car and traveling more than two miles away from any developed area, paved road, or "day use only" area. To minimize impact, the park urges that visitors camp only in previously disturbed areas and park your vehicle close to the roadway. Free voluntary permits for backcountry camping may be obtained at the visitor center or any ranger station. Solo hikers may want to provide additional information about plans and emergency contacts.

  • Hiking

    Hiking is a highly sought after activity at Death Valley, particularly during the winter months. A variety of trails are available, ranging from easy walks to moderate hikes. The Golden Canyon Interpretive Trail is a great way to get your "feet wet" at Death Valley. It is an easy one mile trail (one-way), which starts Golden Canyon parking area, two miles south of Hwy 190 on Badwater Road. Along this route a trail guide will interpret the natural history of the site. Other hikes such as the Wildrose Peak Trail can only be navigated in the summer. This trail is 4.2 miles, one-way. It starts at Charcoal Kilns parking area on upper Wildrose Canyon Road. Wildrose Peak Trail is a high peak to climb (9,064 ft.); it also exhibits a spectacular view beyond two mile point of the park. It is generally wise to talk to a ranger or read about the area before entering. Bring plenty of water and sunscreen on your hikes and plan wisely for the quick change in temperature when the sun retires.

  • Horseback Riding

    From the corral at Furnace Creek Ranch, a guide can lead you through the desert on a real horse. Both one- and two-hour horseback rides are available. For those who savor a truly romantic treat, you can even ride in a horse-drawn carriage while sipping champagne!

    Horses and pack animals are allowed on dirt roads, in wilderness areas, in other natural areas, on designated horse trails in the Furnace Creek area, and non-paved trails and areas that are not closed to stock. For more information about horse and pack animal regulations, contact the park.

  • Off Highway Vehicles

    Death Valley has more miles of roads than any other national park. Though 91% of the park's 3.4 million acres are protected in roadless wilderness areas, nearly one thousand miles of paved and dirt roads provide ample opportunities for recreation and exploration. Road conditions can change quickly. Current road condition information is available at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center or on the Morning Report (updated daily) posted throughout the park.

    Farabee's Jeep Rentals offer in-park jeeps outfitted for rugged backcountry road use. Call (760) 786-9872 or visit http://www.farabeesjeeprentals.com.

    Pink Jeep Tours provide tours for those who want to leave the driving to someone else. Call (800) 873-3662 or visit http://www.pinkjeep.com.

  • Picnicking

    Picnic areas are located throughout the park.

  • Water Sports

    Guests at the Furnace Creek Inn can enjoy a warm spring-fed swimming pool. There is also a swimming pool at Stovepipe Wells Village.

Seasonality/Weather

Springtime is the most popular time to visit Death Valley. Besides warm and sunny days, the possibility of spring wildflowers is a big attraction. If the previous winter brought rain, the desert can put on an impressive floral display, usually peaking in late March to early April. Spring break for schools throughout the west brings families and students to the park from the last week of March through the week after Easter. Campgrounds and lodging are usually busy at that time, so reservations are recommended.

Park Partners

The Death Valley Natural History Association

The Death Valley Natural History Association (DVNHA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing quality educational products to the public and services to Death Valley National Park. DVNHA functions as: a part of the interpretive arm of the National Park Service, a business that acquires or produces and sells materials to enhance the enjoyment of park visitors, and a philanthropic organization that disperses its net income to the National Park Service for research and education programs. The DVNHA operates sales outlets at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, the Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station, and the Scotty's Castle Visitor Center and Museum. Purchases can also be made through the DVNHA Online Bookstore, by telephone and by mail. All purchases benefit Death Valley National Park.

There are two other park partners, including the Death Valley Fund and The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe. The Death Valley Fund is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support and private funding for projects that preserve, protect or enhance Death Valley National Park by improving the Death Valley area's natural, cultural and historic resources as well as the visitor experience. They can be contacted at http://deathvalleyfund.org. The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe are the native people of Death Valley. Western Shoshone and Paiute people once occupied several villages scattered throughout the region, but today only the village of Timbisha at Furnace Creek remains within what is now Death Valley National Park. Their official website is http://www.timbisha.org.

(800) 478-8564

Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Xanterra Parks & Resorts operates Furnace Creek Resort, situated in a lush oasis surrounded by the vast and arid desert of Death Valley National Park. This is one resort with two hotels -- the historic Inn at Furnace Creek and the more family-oriented Ranch at Furnace Creek. The Inn at Furnace Creek is available to guests from mid-October through mid-May. From mid-May through mid-October all operations are consolidated at the Ranch at Furnace Creek.

Both the Inn and the Ranch offer outdoor swimming pools that are naturally heated by warm springs that keep the pool's temperature at a comfortable 82 ºF. In addition to the pool, guests can enjoy a game of tennis on the lighted tennis courts, or take in an early morning walk, jog or hike. The Furnace Creek Stables, located at the Ranch at Furnace Creek, offers one and two hour guided trail rides and evening carriage and hay wagon rides.

Xanterra also offers a wide range of dining options, from the elegance of the Inn Dining Room to the more casual atmosphere of the Ranch dining facilities, including the Forty-Niner Cafe, Corkscrew Saloon and the Wrangler Steakhouse. Golfers also enjoy the 19th Hole (October - June), a unique, veranda-style bar and grill adjacent to the golf pro shop.

Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel is operated by Ortega Family Enterprises an additional park concessioner. Many Stovepipe Wells Village rooms provide breathtaking views of Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and of the surrounding mountain ranges, while other rooms adjoin an historic inner courtyard. Amenities include the Toll Road Restaurant & Badwater Saloon, a heated swimming pool, complimentary WiFi, television in select rooms and an onsite library. Ortega Family Enterprises also operates the Nugget Gift Shop and a general store, and an historic gas station. For more information, call (760) 786-2387 or visit http://www.escapetodeathvalley.com.

The private Panamint Springs Resort offers resort accommodations and camping year-round. For more information, call (775) 482-7680 or visit http://www.deathvalley.com/psr.

(760) 786-2345

Directions

Driving

The main road transecting Death Valley National Park from east to west is California Highway 190. On the east in Nevada, U.S. Route 95 parallels the park from north to south with connecting highways at Scotty's Junction (State Route 267), Beatty (State Route 374), and Lathrop Wells (State Route 373).

Coming from the west, State Route 14 and U.S. Route 395 lead to Ridgecrest, CA where State Route 178 heads east into the park. Further north on Hwy 395 at Olancha, CA you can join Hwy 190 to the park, or north of that at Lone Pine, CA, Hwy 136 will also join Hwy 190 heading east into the park.

South of the park, Interstate 15 passes through Baker, California on its way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. State Route 127 travels north from Baker to Shoshone and Death Valley Junction with connections to the park on State Route 178 from Shoshone and connection with California Highway 190 at Death Valley Junction.

GPS Navigation to sites to remote locations like Death Valley are notoriously unreliable. Numerous travelers have been directed to the wrong location or even dead-end or closed roads. Travelers should always carry up-to-date road maps to check the accuracy of GPS directions. DO NOT DEPEND ONLY ON YOUR VEHICLE GPS NAVIGATION SYSTEM. There is no specific street address for the park or the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Many GPS users have had success using the street address for the Death Valley Post Office which is located about 400 meters south of the visitor center. The post office address is: 328 Greenland Blvd., Death Valley, CA 92328. Map coordinates for the visitor center are: (N 36°27.70, W 116°52.00).

Flying

There is a small public airport at Furnace Creek. Fuel is available by calling the Furnace Creek Chevron Station at (760) 786-2343.

Public Transportation

There is no public transportation available to Death Valley National Park.

Phone Numbers

Primary

(760) 786-3200

Campground reservations

(877) 444-6777

Links