Home Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park

Junction of Lippencott Road and Saline Valley Road
Junction of Lippencott Road and Saline Valley Road
Location CA and NV
Nearest City San Bernardino, CA;  Beatty, NV
Coordinates 36°14′31″N 116°49′33″
Area 3,373,063 acres
Established 1933 Monument/1994 Nat’l Park
Governing Body  National Park Service
Phone  760-786-3200
Visitor Center  Furnace Creek: open Nov.-April

 

Death Valley Chloride City View SW
Chloride City trail view looking SW

Site Location and Description: Death Valley National Park is located in the states of California and Nevada, east of the Sierra Nevada, spanning an area between the Great Basin and Mojave deserts. The park protects the north-west corner of the Mojave Desert and contains a  vast array of  desert environments: salt-flats, sand dunes, badlands, valleys, canyons, and mountains. It sits on the continental north American plate and was created by a complex series of tectonic movements. It contains faults that have occurred as the plate has stretched and moved.  Geologists call this a pull-apart basin. The surrounding mountains rise as the valley sinks. These tectonic movements have created numerous lava flows and craters throughout the park. The Ubehebe Crater,  on Desert Racetrack Road in the north-central part of the park is an example of this phenomenon. Within Death Valley lies the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere; Badwater Basin (-282 ft or 86 m below sea level) which  is less than 100 miles away from Mount Whitney, the highest point in the United States.  Death Valley is the largest national park in the lower 48 states and is an International Biosphere Reserve. Approximately 95% of the park is a designated wilderness area. It is the hottest and driest place in the United States.

Death Valley-Camping at bottom of Lippencott
Primitive camping in Saline Valley at the bottom of Lippencott Mine Road

Average temperatures: Temperatures from April-October range from the 90’s up to 120 degrees fahrenheit during the day and the 70’s to high 80’s at night.  Temperatures from November to March range from the late 60’s to low 80’s during the day and the 40’s and 50’s overnight.

The Visitor Center: The visitor center is located in the Furnace Creek resort area on State Route 190.  A 12-minute introductory slide program is shown every 30 minutes. During the winter season, November through April, rangers offer interpretive tours and a wide variety of walks, talks, and slide presentations about Death Valley’s cultural and natural history. The visitor center has displays dealing with the park’s geology, climate, wildlife and natural history. There are also specific sections dealing with the human history and pioneer experience. The Death Valley Natural History Association maintains a bookstore specifically geared to the natural and cultural history of the park.

Death Valley National Park-Remains of Chloride City Mine
Death Valley National Park-Remains of Chloride City Mine

Camping: There are nine designated campgrounds within the park.  Overnight backcountry camping permits are available at the visitor center

Campgrounds:

Campgrounds Season Elevation Fee Sites Water Fire pits Toilets Reservations
Furnace Creek Year round -196′ $18** 136 yes yes flush yes
Sunset 10/15-5/1 -196′ $12 270 yes no flush yes
Texas Spring 10/15-5/1 sea level $14 92 yes some flush yes
Stove Pipe Wells 9/15-mothers day week-end sea level $12 190 yes yes flush yes
Mesquite Spring  Year round  1800′  $12  30  yes  yes  flush  yes
Emigrant
Tents only
Year round 2,100 ft $0  10 yes yes flush no
Wildrose Year round 4,100 ft $0  23 yes yes pit no
Thorndike* March-November 7,400 ft $0  6 no yes pit no
Mahogany
Flat*
March-November 8,200 ft $0  10 no yes pit no

* Accessible to high clearance vehicles only. 4-wheel drive may be necessary.

** RV Hook-up sites have an additional $12 Utility Fee that is not subject to Lifetime Pass discounts. Furnace Creek Campground becomes first come-first served and fee changes to $12 per night from mid-April to mid-October.

Reservations: For the Furnace Creek Campground and group sites: call 1-877-444-6777 or by go online at http://www.recreation.gov.  All other campgrounds are first-come-first-serve.

RVs: Furnace Creek Campground has a few sites with full hookups for recreational vehicles. RV hookup sites are also available at the concession-run Stovepipe Wells RV Park and the privately owned Furnace Creek Ranch and Panamint Springs Resort.

Generator hours: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Camping limits: Campsites are limited to no more than eight people and two vehicles or one recreational vehicle per site. Larger groups can reserve the group sites at the Furnace Creek Campground. The two group sites are limited to a maximum of 40 people and 10 vehicles each. No recreational vehicles may be parked at the group sites.

Campfires: All vegetation in the park is protected. Firewood and charcoal are available at the NPS Concession run Stovepipe Wells General Store, or at the Furnace Creek General Store.  You can also bring your own. Fire pits or grates are provided at Furnace Creek, Texas Spring, and most of our other campgrounds. See the campground table above for specifics.

For a list of all TAP overland trail write-ups in Death Valley click HERE

Death Valley-Entering Cerro Gordo town from East
Entering Cerro Gordo town from East

Death Valley Dream Lapse 1:  Courtesy of Gavin Heffernan