fbpx
1-866-477-4171
1-866-477-4171
Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley Trip Planner

Death Valley is the hottest, driest and lowest national park in the country, as well as being the largest national park in the contiguous United States. It’s a place that conjures up images of a harsh, dry and hot place, unfriendly to sustaining life. You may even feel some trepidation about visiting. But fear not, Death Valley is a truly fantastic drive that is a captivating and, at times, surreal experience. That very unique blend of vast landscapes, extreme temperatures, and awe-inspiring geological wonders is what makes it an unforgettable journey.

Contents

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

How To Get Here

Although Death Valley National Park is located in eastern California it’s easiest to reach from Las Vegas, from where it can be visited as a day trip. Los Angeles is another launchpad, though visitors from LA should plan on overnighting in, or near the park. In summer and fall, travelers passing through Yosemite’s east entrance (Tioga Pass) can plan a road trip that takes in both the Sierras and Death Valley – just be sure that the winter snow has melted and the Tioga Pass Road is open.

By Plane

Harry Reid International Airport

The Las Vegas airport (LAS) often has great deals. It’s roughly 90 miles (145 kilometers) east of Death Valley Junction; the drive takes roughly an hour and 45 minutes, depending on the route you choose. You can take either Highway 160 through Pahrump or Highway 95 through Amargosa Valley, according to traffic and the location of your hotel. There are plenty of car rental options at the airport; however, lines can be long. Some travelers prefer to take a taxi straight to their hotel and then rent a car.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Los Angeles International Airport 

Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) is the second-busiest airport in the United States, serving over 150 destinations worldwide. Car rental should be booked ahead; public transportation in LA leaves much to be desired. Roughly 215 miles (350 kilometers) southwest of the Panamint Valley entrance, Los Angeles is not an ideal launch pad, but it’s the closest big city.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

The drive can take as little as four hours, though the rush-hour gridlock in LA can make it significantly longer. Most travelers will approach via Highway 178 (Panamint Valley), but if you want to visit the Sierras too, then consider Highway 395 to the park’s west entrance (Father Crowley Overlook), with the option to detour to the scenic town of Lone Pine and the Mount Whitney trailhead (the highest peak in the Lower 48) at the foot of the Sierras.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Getting Around

The best way to explore Death Valley National Park is by private vehicle, there is no public transportation to or within the park. You’ll want to fuel up before entering the park, as there are only three gas stations located inside the park gates. And bear in mind that there is limited cell service and GPS navigation here is notoriously unreliable, numerous travelers have been directed to the wrong location and dead-end or closed roads by following incorrect GPS information from programs like Google Maps.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Entrance Fees

Unlike other national parks, Death Valley National Park does not have staffed entrance stations. Park visitors are are required to purchase a pass at one of the automated vending machines found throughout the park or at the Furnace Creek or Stovepipe Wells Visitor Centers (credit card only). Discounted passes are available for veterans, seniors and families of 4th graders. You can also buy passes online at recreation.gov. Rangers conduct pass checks at parking lots.

If you plan to visit more than one national park on the same trip, consider purchasing the America the Beautiful National Park Pass. This pass covers entrance fees into all U.S. National Parks as well as over 2,000 National Monuments, National Wildlife Refuges, National Historic Sites, and other federally managed lands. Passes are free for current U.S. military members and reduced for Seniors aged 62 years or older. Senior passes also provide a 50 percent discount at select campgrounds.

If you have the annual National Parks pass, Death Valley staff request that you go to the visitor center with your pass and an ID to pick up an orange parking slip that you will place on your dashboard.

Have Kids in the 4th Grade? 
You and your family can get free access to hundreds of parks, lands, and waters for an entire year!  

Death Valley National Park Tour Map

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Where to Stay

For Day Trips

Las Vegas is the obvious choice as a destination to day trip to Death Valley from. It’s loaded with a variety of classy resorts, some of which can be a steal depending on when you go. The casinos on the Strip are popular with first-timers, if only for the over-the-top experience and convenience of it all. Note that thought your hotel room price might look like a steal, but you should always count on having to pay a resort fee in addition to the hotel room.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

If the casinos don’t appeal, private villas, boutique hotels, furnished apartments and vacation homes are all worth looking into. One thing to be aware of is that many hotels still have a few designated smoking floors, so be sure to indicate that you want a smoke-free room when booking – unless, of course, you’re a smoker.

In the Park

Staying in the national park is a unique experience not to be missed. The vast majority of accommodation is in federal campgrounds and suitable for both RVs and tents. In total, there are ten developed campgrounds in the park. Don’t be fooled by the word “developed,” though. You should not expect RV hookups in most places, and drinking water is not a guarantee. When you camp in Death Valley, come prepared with everything you need, and expect extreme conditions. Higher elevation campgrounds close in the winter months, but in the summer these same campgrounds, which are free, offer more comfortable temperatures and a more remote location.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Because of Death Valley’s massive size, it is possible to simply show up and snag a first-come, first-serve site somewhere – the exception is the central Furnace Creek Campground, for which you should reserve your campsite six months in advance on recreation.gov.

Not a camper? The national park is also home to four lodges: the Inn at Death Valley, the Ranch at Death Valley, the Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel and the Panamint Springs Resort. The historic Amargosa Hotel in Death Valley Junction, at the east entrance, is also worth considering. Reserve ahead, and expect prices that are higher than what you’ll find in Las Vegas.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Like A Tour Guide In Your Car

Don't miss a thing as you hear perfectly timed audio, based on your location. Commentary that is so entertaining, informative and easy to listen to, all ages love it!
album-art

00:00
album-art

00:00
album-art

00:00
album-art

00:00
Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

When To Visit

The best and most popular time to visit is spring (March and April). Temperatures are pleasant, and winter storms may bring ephemeral wildflowers. Fall (late October and November) is another good time to visit, with fewer crowds than in spring. Winter temperatures are cool and rainstorms occasionally drench the park. Visitor numbers are at their lowest, even though the scenery can be particularly beautiful at this time of year, with the snowy Sierras providing a spectacular backdrop.

Summer (May to September) is unquestionably the most extreme time to visit, with temperatures guaranteed to top 100°F (38C), and often peaking at over 120°F (49C) from June through August. Despite the oppressive heat, which limits outdoor exploration and low-elevation camping, visitor numbers remain high throughout these months. If you do visit during the summer, take the temperatures seriously and follow the park’s safety guidelines closely. People die of heat stroke here every year.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

How Much Time Do You Need to Visit

It’s easiest to visit Death Valley as a day trip from Las Vegas, but if you have camping gear or an RV, or if you’ve secured reservations at one of the lodges, a two or three-day trip will give you more time to see the off-the-beaten-path sights. Remember: this is the largest national park in the Lower 48 – don’t underestimate its size.

One Day – Furnace Creek Loop

If you’re just here for the day, we’d recommend doing a loop drive through the park, entering at Death Valley Junction and exiting further north in Beatty, Nevada. Along the way, you can stop at the park’s major highlights: Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, Furnace Creek and Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes. From Beatty, where the tour ends, it’s only one hour and 45 minutes back to Vegas. If you have time, consider additional stops like Dantes View or Rhyolite Ghost Town.

If you’re not returning to Vegas, you can exit the park at the Father Crowley Overlook or Panamint Valley, both of which are in the western section of the park.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Two Days or More to Explore

With additional time, you’ll be able to reach some of the park’s more remote locations. Ubehebe Crater in the north is a popular excursion; it’s a 75-minute drive from Furnace Creek. The gorgeous Emigrant Canyon Road climbs up into the hills, passing old mines, historic charcoal kilns and the trailhead for Telescope Peak – the highest summit in the park. Intrepid drivers can follow the unpaved section, known as Wildrose Road, down into Panamint Valley. On the outskirts of the park, be sure to stop at the cinematic town of Lone Pine in the Sierras, and the lush Ash Meadows National Wildlife Reserve, the largest oasis in the Mojave Desert.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

How to Avoid the Crowds

Death Valley averages over one million visitors per year, and you should expect the main attractions to be busy, especially in spring. If you want to avoid fighting for parking spaces, there are a few tips to consider.

Timing is everything. Avoid weekends, especially holiday weekends. The spring break holidays usually see peak visitor numbers. December and January (outside of holidays) generally have the lowest visitor numbers. And check the Las Vegas event calendar for major conferences, trade shows, major sporting events and festivals – and try to schedule your trip to avoid these. And as with most national parks, get started early. Plan on getting to the main sights before 8am in high season if you want to secure a parking spot and avoid the heat.

And above all, this is the biggest park in the Lower 48. If it’s solitude you’re after, you can definitely find it, so long as you’re adequately prepared to venture off the beaten path.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Things to See and Do

Artist’s Palette

The scenic detour along Artist’s Drive, off Badwater Road, is a roller coaster-like experience – a narrow one-way road that zigs and zags between mounds of multicolored rock. Every which way you turn you’ll see a full palette of colors, ranging from coppery green to terra-cotta yellow to brick red and even pink. The pigments on display are derived from deposits of different mineral deposits. The Artist’s Palette is the most concentrated area along the drive and makes for sublime photos.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Badwater Basin

This is it: the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. The Badwater salt flats, two miles west of the parking lot, are where you’ll see the iconic honeycombed polygons: ridges of salt pushed up in intersecting geometric patterns, which have been formed over years and years of freeze-thaw cycles. The salt polygons are at the end of a hot, dry hike that takes 45 minutes to one hour one-way. On the rare occasion that it does rain, Badwater reclaims its original character as a lake. On the drive to Badwater Basin you’ll pass a number of other sights, including more strange salt formations on the Devils Golf Course, the surreal colors of Artists Drive and the badlands of Golden Canyon.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Dante’s View

Almost immediately upon arriving inside the national park from Death Valley Junction we have a magnificent 13-mile side trip option to Dante’s View, which sits at an elevation just over 5,000 feet. Not only are the views amazing, but it’s a place to truly absorb the changing elevations of the region. From Dante’s you can peer down to Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the USA, and turn your head to Panamint Mountain which peaks at over 11,000 feet. On a perfect day we can spot Mount Whitney, the highest point in the Lower 48, topping out at 14,505 feet (4,421 meters). That’s great value from one viewpoint!

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Devils Golf Course

Another of Death Valley’s sublime landscapes. Devils Golf Course is a vast section of giant salt crystals that are constantly expanding and shrinking as the temperature changes. If you listen closely, you might be able to hear the crystals popping.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Father Crowley Overlook

This vista point at the park’s west entrance not only provides superb panoramas of Death Valley some 4,500 feet below, but also looks out over Rainbow Canyon to the north. Rainbow Canyon was nicknamed Star Wars Canyon years ago, but not for the reasons you might be thinking. Unlike other locales in Death Valley, no film scenes were shot here. Rather, the name comes from the fighter pilots who used to practice high-speed, low-level aerial maneuvers in the tight canyon.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Furnace Creek

Death Valley’s official HQ and the largest settlement in the park, this is the spot where the hottest temperature on Earth was recorded in July 1913: a scorching 134°F! Snap a selfie next to the digital thermometer outside the visitor center, refill your water jugs, peruse the illuminating exhibits inside, and perhaps treat yourself to an expensive but refreshing ice cream at the Ranch at Death Valley. Just up the road is the Harmony Borax Works, a historic site dedicated to the mineral that once made the park famous, and where the famous 20 mule teams once hauled giant wagons of refined borax 165 miles through the desert and on to the nearest railroad.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

Named for the mesquite tree that somehow manages to eke out an existence in this parched landscape, Mesquite Flat is home to the most accessible sand dunes in Death Valley. If you’ve been dreaming of taking some cool desert photos or want to walk in the footsteps of R2D2 and C-3PO on Tatooine, then a stop here is a must. It’s best at sunrise or sunset—daytime temps can make the sand dangerously hot – but no matter what time you wander out into the dunes, remember to bring plenty of water. It’s a two-mile round-trip hike to the top of the tallest dune.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Rhyolite Ghost Town

In 1904, prospector Shorty Harris discovered the Bullfrog Gold Claim in what was then the middle of nowhere. Thousands of men moved to the claim within weeks of the discovery; some slept in tents, but most lived out in the open, eager to strike it rich. Rhyolite itself would only come later, but come it did: in 1906, the industrialist Charles Schwab bought the Montgomery Shoshone Mine, and suddenly there were three railroad lines, three newspapers, a swimming pool, armed guards, electricity, a school, opera house, stock exchange and – just in case you got thirsty – 53 saloons. Like all boom towns, however, Rhyolite’s fortunes were short lived: the last train left town in 1914, and in 1916, Nevada Power shut off the electricity for good.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Ubehebe Crater

Ubehebe Crater is a fairly substantial side trip off the main road, into the remote northern corner of the park. Expect to drive for a good hour or more to get there. In fact, we’ll get you in the right path, but we won’t have commentary all the way. Ubehebe is the largest of a dozen craters that had explosives origins back when ground water met with hot magma. Driving even further requires a strong will and an appropriate 4×4 vehicle to reach Racetrack Playa, a salt flat famous for its ability to move 600 pound boulders along its surface. Also in this general section of the park is Scotty’s Castle, which is actually a remote ranch. Check what the current pre-booking requirement and road status is before attempting to visit.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Zabriskie Point

These are Death Valley’s most famous badlands formations, the ancient remnants of a time when the earth here was covered by a lake. Over the course of several million years, the lake filled up with silt and volcanic ash from the nearby Black Mountains, leaving behind the Furnace Creek Formation – comprised of soft siltstone and clay. Now, millions of years later, the sedimentary rock has been exposed to the elements, and the combination of wind, occasional downpours and a lack of vegetation has resulted in a particularly striking and colorful landscape. If you’re the adventurous type, descend into the badlands for a hike. Excursions range from short jaunts up a hilltop to a 3.5-mile trek to Golden Canyon on the other side of the range.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Best Hikes

The National Park Service recommends hiking in the winter season, from November through March. The heat at lower elevations can quickly become deadly in summer, so if you strike out in the warmer months, aim for sunrise or after sunset and bring plenty of water.

Golden Canyon

Shaded alcoves and steep canyon walls lead to a veritable maze of badlands on the most popular hike in the park, located near the beginning of Badwater Road. There are a couple of routes you can take here, ranging from 3 to 7.8 miles long. Popular destinations include the Red Cathedral Spur Trail, which is the shortest option, to the Badlands Loop, which connects with Zabriskie Point on the other side of the range. You should also keep an eye out for Jawas hiding behind rocks – this was one of the filming locations for Star Wars: A New Hope.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Mosaic Canyon

Located near Stovepipe Wells in the center of the park, Mosaic Canyon is a fabulous narrow slot canyon that is a blast to explore. In total, the hike is 4 miles round-trip, but you don’t need to trek the entire distance for the full adventure. You will need to scramble over rocks, however. Mosaic Canyon is unusual in that you’ll find both smooth dolomite – a type of rock that’s harder than marble – and breccia, a type of conglomerate that is made up of different types of pebbles that have been naturally cemented together. 

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Natural Bridge

One of the least-visited spots on Badwater Road is a natural bridge, tucked back in the canyons of the Black Mountains. This is an easy stop for people who enjoy short hikes, photography, and geological formations. Unlike the smooth and delicate natural bridges and arches you’ll find in Utah and Arizona, this particular formation is made up of the rough looking conglomerate. It’s an impressively large bridge, standing 35 feet high by 35 feet wide. Access is via a 1.5 mile dirt road, which is passable in a passenger car. From the trailhead, it’s a one mile hike up to the arch, following the natural wash.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Telescope Peak

The highest summit in the park at 11,049 feet (3,368 meters), this strenuous trail ascends 3,000 feet over seven miles (11.3 kilometers) one-way. While doable in a day, be wary of altitude sickness if you’re coming from sea level; overnighting at the nearby campsite is recommended. From the top of the peak, hikers can look down on Badwater Basin, nearly 11,500 feet below. On the way up you’ll pass stands of bristlecone pines, which are some of the oldest trees in the world.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Darwin Falls

Outside Panamint Springs is a natural spring and an 18-foot high waterfall. Known as Darwin Falls, this is one of the only year-round water sources in the park. It’s a two-mile round-trip hike to the falls, with 450 feet of elevation gain. Trailhead access is up Death Valley’s original toll road, which was constructed by Herman Eichbaum in 1925 and 1926. And the original entrance fees? $2 for a car or wagon, with an additional $0.50 charge per passenger, or $1 per animal.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Ubehebe Crater

Circumambulate this 2,100-year-old pit crater (formed when ground water comes into contact with hot magma) that’s nearly 600 feet deep and a half mile in diameter. A 1.5-mile trail circles the rim, or you can slide down the loose volcanic scree into the depths. Just remember, if you go down there, eventually you’ll have to come back up.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Mount Whitney

The 22-mile (35-kilometer) round-trip excursion to the highest peak in the Lower 48 (14,505 feet / 4,421 meters) begins outside the town of Lone Pine and takes in 6,200 feet of quad-busting elevation gain. You could do it in a day… but you’ll have a much better time if you camp along the way. Advance permits are required; enter the lottery on recreation.gov. While not technically challenging, only 10,000 hikers annually make it to the top – out of the 30,000 who try.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Family Fun Adventures

One good way to get acquainted with the desert is to sign up for a ranger activity. Check to see if there are any junior ranger hikes the day you’re visiting (moonlight walks in the sand dunes are particularly popular); if not, you can always sign up for a junior ranger badge, which will help add some structure and motivation to keep exploring. Stargazing is another good activity, especially when there is little to no moonlight and the darkness is absolute. Otherwise, the main attractions for kids are the same as for parents: Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point and the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Awesome Experiences

Scenic Drives

Death Valley is full of gorgeous, remote scenic trips through otherworldly landscapes: just make sure you have the right vehicle for the road. If you’re serious about backcountry travel, consider renting a Jeep at Farabee’s near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Also make sure you are actually on a road: every year, unwitting drivers take their rental car someplace they shouldn’t, gets stuck, and wind up having to pay a hefty fine to the park service for destroying a fragile ecosystem – not that long ago a Porsche tried to drive onto Devils Golf Course.

Artists Drive

The most popular excursion in the park is Artists Drive, a scenic nine-mile one-way road that’s located at the base of some wildly colored volcanic deposits, best admired at the central Artists Palette. This scenic detour is a roller coaster like experience, with a narrow one-way road that zigs and zags between mounds of multi-colored rock. It’s located on Badwater Road.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Emigrant Canyon Road

If you have more time, a detour into the mountains on Emigrant Canyon Road is in store. This gorgeous climb passes several old mines, charcoal kilns and crosses beneath the shadow of Telescope Peak, the highest mountain in the park. This is a two to four hour detour. At its end is the exciting and partially unpaved Wildrose Road, with two miles of washed-out gravel road – it’s usually passable in a passenger car, unless there have been recent rainstorms.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Twenty Mule Team Canyon

The shortest drive is Twenty Mule Team Canyon: this is a 2.5-mile one-way graded dirt road that snakes through the badlands formations near Zabriskie Point. This road is passable in a passenger car.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Sunrise and Sunset

Zabriskie Point is the most popular place in the park to watch the sunrise (and sunset) in all its Technicolor magic. For a more remote experience, however, consider driving out to Aguereberry Point off Emigrant Canyon Road. This lovely and little-known perch faces east and is a magical way to start the day. Dantes View, at 5,575 feet, is a primo locale for sunsets over Badwater Basin, the Panamint Range and the distant Sierras. The sand dunes at Mesquite Flat, meanwhile, are unearthly morning and night.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Racetrack Playa

Perhaps you’ve seen a picture of this secret spot before: giant 700-pound boulders set in the middle of a dry lake bed, an obvious trail extending behind them through the cracked desert landscape. How exactly do these massive rocks move? The first thing to know is that getting here is not easy. You’ll need your own 4WD truck, and you should definitely bring spare tires, extra food and water, and a satellite messenger as there is no cell phone service. Flat tires are common. It’s roughly a three-hour drive one-way from Furnace Creek, past Ubehebe Crater.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Amargosa Opera House

One-time company lodging for borax miners, this Spanish Colonial Revival landmark stands forlorn in what is otherwise a ghost town. In 1967, dancer and actor Marta Becket turned the community center here into off-the-grid one-woman show. The Opera House still stages performances on weekend nights (October through May), and tours of the building are held twice daily, no reservations required. It’s located in Death Valley Junction, at the eastern edge of the park.

Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge & Devils Hole

On the eastern outskirts of the national park is one of the more unusual – and overlooked – ecosystems in the Death Valley area. Known as the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, this is the largest oasis in the Mojave Desert.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Ash Meadows’ most famous inhabitant is the Devils Hole pupfish, a Pleistocene era critter that lives nowhere else in the world. It is believed that the fish has lived in Devils Hole – a basin only 72 feet long and 11.5 feet wide, but unknown fathoms deep – for at least ten to twenty thousand years. Ash Meadows has plenty of other cool things to observe as well, including 23 other plants and animals found nowhere else on earth. It’s located off Highway 373 in Nevada.

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Death Valley National Park Packing List

Layers: Desert temperatures can vary considerably. It’s best to prepare for extremes (windier, drier, hotter, and colder than expected), so dressing in layers is the key to staying comfortable. A fleece and a lightweight jacket should do the trick.

Footwear: Grippy soles are best. A good pair of trail runners or lightweight hiking boots are an excellent choice for exploring most trails. Don’t make the mistake of wearing flip-flops or open-toed sandals, however; there are plenty of prickly plants and animals around, so keep those feet protected. 

Daypack: A comfortable pack makes all the difference. In addition to carrying an extra layer, water and a headlamp, it’s a good idea to throw a few snacks in there as well.

Sun Protection: This essential includes a broad-brimmed hat, sunblock, and sunglasses. Zinc oxide lip balm will help combat cracked, sunburned lips. Applying thick moisturizing lotion with Shea butter or similar to nourish your skin should be part of your evening and morning routines. 

Water: Always bring extra water, and make sure you drink it! No matter what time of year you visit, dehydration is always a risk – even if you’re not doing much physical activity. In summer, it’s recommended that you drink a gallon a day. There is water at Furnace Creek and Panamint Springs should you need to refill your water bottles – but that’s all there is in a territory that spans 3.3 million acres. Come prepared with extra jugs or bottles. Electrolyte tablets are an excellent addition – not only do they add some flavor, but they also replenish the natural salts lost when you sweat.

First Aid Kit: You’ll want to have ibuprofen, different sized band-aids, antiseptic ointment, tweezers or knife (for removing cactus spines), medical adhesive tape and an emergency whistle.

Trekking Poles: Light-weight hiking poles are like having a third leg. They help maintain balance and can get you into a rhythm while walking.

Headlamp: You never know when a hike is going to take longer than planned – we always throw a lightweight headlamp in our daypack just in case.

Spare Tire: If you have a 4WD vehicle and are planning on driving some of the more remote roads in Death Valley, definitely bring one or more spare tires and a satellite communicator like the InReach. This is not the place for a breakdown.

Phone Charger: If you’re taking pictures with your phone, running out of batteries may result in missed opportunities. A DC car charger is best, so that you can charge your phone while driving.

Plastic Bag: Stash a plastic bag in your daypack for picking up any trash you find along the trails. Protect wildlife, keep the surroundings natural, and leave the park better than you found it!

Death Valley National Park Audio Driving Tour with GuideAlong

Top Tips for Death Valley National Park

  • Check Road Conditions: Check road status and conditions on the NPS website ahead of travel on nps.gov.
  • Avoid Weekend Travel: If possible, avoid visiting on weekends, especially in spring. Though it's remote, popular locations in Death Valley can be surprisingly busy.
  • Fill Up Before You Enter The Park: Fill up the gas tank, your tummy, and your water bottles before entering the park: there is little in the way of services and food in Death Valley. The little that is available is exorbitantly expensive.
  • Bring Water: There are only two places in the entire park with water available. Be sure to bring your own water and refillable containers.
  • Weather: Dress appropriately for the changing conditions - both hot and cold changes. That means a hat, sunglasses, and sturdy shoes too.
  • Cell Service: There is little to no cellular network available in the park. Download any maps (and your tour!) before entering.
  • Hiking Safety: If you aren't experienced at desert hiking, don't stray from the trails. It is easy to get disoriented in the desert, and in extreme conditions, that can quickly become a bad situation. Read more safety tips on the nps.gov website.