Death Valley National Park
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Introduction

The striking wonder of hot deserts, rugged mountains, and mystifying salt flats await you on your RV getaway to Death Valley National Park. Straddling the California and Nevada border, this stunning landscape encompasses the Great Basin and Mojave Deserts. Death Valley National Park has several claims to fame. Not only is Death Valley the largest national park in the lower 48 states, but it’s also the hottest, driest, and lowest-elevation park.
Once home to Native Americans and miners, this breathtaking environment was the backdrop of an alien world when filming the original Star Wars. Death Valley isn't just a place to shoot movies, it's also a recreation destination. Many adventures await you in Death Valley, and an RV is one of the best ways to explore the park. You can stop by the natural hot springs, gaze up at some of the world’s best starry night skies, or hike through the desert backcountry. When you get hungry, head to Furnace Creek to grab a bite to eat. Then spend the afternoon exploring the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, or get a taste of history at the Keane Wonder Mine. There are many natural attractions you can see right from the comfort of your RV, including the salt flats at Badwater Basin and the rocky terrain of Devil’s Golf Course. You won’t want to miss a sunrise panoramic view of the badlands at Zabriskie Point.
October through April is the most popular season to visit Death Valley since the temperature can skyrocket to over 120 degrees in the summer. However, there are plenty of indoor and outdoor activities all year long around all three-million acres of the park. Many of the must-see sites are RV-accessible, and there are several RV-friendly campgrounds to make sure you can rest up in comfort. Most of the campsites allow the use of generators during daytime hours, and you can stock up on food, gas, and supplies in Furnace Creek.
If you want to set your eyes on spectacular natural attractions you can’t see anywhere else in the world, an RV trip through Death Valley National Park is a must.

Park Alerts (2)

[Park Closure] Scotty's Castle CLOSED until fall 2021. [+ Info]

Flooding in Grapevine Canyon from a severe thunderstorm has destroyed the road to Scotty's Castle, damaged infrastructure and some out-buildings in the Castle complex.

[Information] Current Conditions: Closed Roads, Campgrounds, and Condition Updates [+ Info]

Check out the current conditions/road updates for specific information on any current road or campground closures.

RV Rentals in Death Valley National Park

Transportation in Death Valley National Park

Driving

Getting to Death Valley National Park is easy from all directions, with Highway 190 crossing through the park from east to west. The park does have RV-friendly roads, making it easy to get around to all the major attractions. You’ll want to be careful driving through some areas of the park due to unpaved or narrow roads and height limits. Cell phone reception and GPS navigation reliability can be spotty, so make sure you bring a road map or travel atlas with you.

Parking

Parking is provided at most major attractions such as Badwater Basin, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and Zabriskie Point, as well as the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and campsites. Some parking lots may have restrictions for RVers. For instance, the parking lot for Dante’s View has a spot to leave your trailer behind before you ascend the most challenging part of the road.

Public Transport

There is no public transportation to Death Valley National Park, but there are other ways of getting around. If are you coming to the area by train, the nearest Amtrak train station is in Barstow. Exploring the park by bicycle is a popular option since you can cycle on all roads within the park.

Campgrounds and parking in Death Valley National Park

Campsites in Death Valley National Park

Reservations camping

Furnace Creek Campground

The Furnace Creek Campground is a large camping area with 100 sites. During the peak season, from October to the middle of April, reservations are available for up to 14 days at a time. During the off-peak season, the campground operates on a first-come, first-served basis. Furnace Creek is one of the most popular campgrounds because of its proximity to services, as well as its camper amenities. From your RV, you’ll have access to restrooms, a dump station, water, picnic tables, and fire pits. You can quickly stop by the Visitor Center or access some of the hiking trails from your campsite. Furnace Creek Campground is suitable for RVs of all sizes. There are even eight sites with full hookups. Generators are permitted between 7 AM to 7 PM.

First-come first-served

Wildrose Campground

The Wildrose Campground is located high in the Panamint Mountains; this campground is open year-round with 23 sites available for RV camping. You will have access to running water, restrooms, picnic tables, and a firepit. RV access to this campsite is limited to vehicles up to 25 feet in length.

Mesquite Springs Campground

The Mesquite Springs Campground is open all year; this campground has 10 first-come, first-served sites suitable for RVs. You can enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the picnic table and nights by the fire pit. This campground offers running water, flushable toilets, and a dump station. Generator use is allowed from 7 AM through 7 PM. The Mesquite Springs Campground can prove challenging for larger RVs to maneuver throughout the campground, so this camping area is best for smaller rigs.

Texas Springs Campground

The Texas Springs Campground is open from November to April. There are 92 RV-friendly sites suitable for smaller rigs. Because of the tight turns inside of this campground, it's best to stay here with smaller RVs, truck campers, and campervans. This campground is located in the hills above Furnace Creek, and it offers many amenities including water, restrooms, and a dump station. You can enjoy great views and some shady spots by the fire or around the picnic table at each site. Generators are limited at this campground; check the generator rules on the park's website.

Sunset Campground

Sunset Campground is a large, centrally located camping area that has 270 campsites. Campers staying here will like the proximity to the Visitor Center in Furnace Creek. The campground is open from November to April, and RVs of all sizes can park here. You will have convenient access to water, restrooms, and a dump station. Not only is this the largest campground in the park, but it’s also in a great location because you can head out to all the major attractions with ease. You can use generators at the Sunset Campground between 7 AM through 7 PM.

Stovepipe Wells Campground

Stovepipe Wells Campground is a first-come, first-served campground that is open from September to May. This campground has190 sites available that are suitable for RVs of all sizes, including oversized rigs. Campers staying here can easily stock up on supplies at the nearby general store. The Stovepipe Wells Campground provides amenities like water, restrooms, and a dump station. You can use a generator between 7 AM to 7 PM.

Alternate camping

Backcountry Camping

If you want to get out into the serenity and solitude of the wilderness, you might enjoy a backcountry camping experience into some of the three million acres that make up Death Valley National Park. Backcountry camping is allowed if you are set up at least one mile away from paved or day-use roads. To prepare for your backcountry expedition, you’ll want to bring plenty of water, food, and a map. Get ready because you are in store for some of the most stunning landscapes in the west.

Private Campgrounds

Death Valley National Park has three privately operated campgrounds located within the park's boundaries. These RV parks are suitable for RVs, and most of these parks have the modern amenities that many campers desire. Depending on which RV park you choose, you can dine, golf, or take a swim. If you prefer to stay outside of the park, there are numerous RV parks on the western side of the park in nearby Beatty, Amargosa Valley, and Pahrump.

Emigrant Campground

Emigrant Campground is open year-round. This campground is a tent-only facility that has 10 sites available. All of the tent sites have access to restrooms, running water, and picnic tables. You’ll love the gorgeous views of the valley from this scenic campground.

Seasonal activities in Death Valley National Park

Spring

Picnic at Darwin Falls

Darwin Falls, located just over a mile west of Panamint Springs, is one of the few spots with crystal clear water in the entire park. Get your camera ready for this desert oasis in Death Valley complete with lush natural springs, waterfalls, watercress, and shady trees. After a moderate hike to the falls, you can enjoy a scenic picnic surrounded by a tranquil landscape. There is a small gravel parking lot near the entrance to the hike, but it is not recommended for large RVs.

Hiking in the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are an incredible site in Death Valley that you won’t want to miss. You can enjoy an easy two-mile round trip hike for some jaw-dropping views of high sandy dunes under a rugged rocky backdrop. Located in the Stovepipe Wells Village, the nearby parking lot offers pull-through spots for RVs and trailers.

Star Wars Auto Tour

Star Wars Fans, do you want to go out of this world with your RV trip to Death Valley National Park? You can venture to the locations of the fictional planet Tatooine from the original Star Wars movie. There are six separate sites you can visit to get a glimpse of Star Wars history during your stay at the park, including the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and Desolation Canyon.

Jeep Touring

If you want to explore all the amazing sites of Death Valley National Park uniquely, hire a private company to take a Jeep tour. This guided once-in-a-lifetime expedition will let you travel in style through the dunes, salt flats, and the colorful canyons. These jam-packed tours will take you to all the major natural attractions, so you can sit back and enjoy the ride.

Cycling and Mountain Biking

Spring is a perfect time to cruise on your bike and explore all the natural splendor of Death Valley National Park. There are tons of bike trails for all ability levels waiting to be explored, from the easy Salt Creek Road to the strenuous Trail Canyon Road. You bike through some of the country’s most beautiful landscapes while soaking in views of rugged mountains, colorful canyons, and sandy dunes. Biking is allowed on paved roads and unpaved trails.

Summer

Photography at Ubehebe Crater

During your summer RV trip to Death Valley National Park, you won’t want to miss a pitstop to Ubehebe Crater. This jaw-dropping volcanic crater is 600 feet deep and a half a mile across. It’s an excellent spot for summer pictures since it can be viewed right from the parking area.

Explore the Devil’s Golf Course

For some of the most interesting views in the entire park, take a scenic drive to the Devil’s Golf Course, which is a vast area filled with eroding rocks formed into jagged spires. If you listen carefully, you can hear the pings and pongs of tiny salt crystals bursting apart in the heat. This striking large salt pan was named after a phrase in a 1934 National Park Service guidebook that claimed “only the devil could play golf” here.

Sightseeing Tour

If you want to explore Death Valley in style, hire a private company to give you a guided sightseeing tour. You’ll be able to see all the one-of-a-kind attractions of the park from the comfort of air-conditioned vehicles. You can view the colored stones of Artists Palette and take incredible pictures at Zabriskie Point with the help of an experienced guide that takes you everywhere you need to go.

Tour Artists Drive

If you want to enjoy one of the most breathtaking drives in the country, you’ll want to take your RV or vehicle on a trip down Artists Drive. This nine-mile route will take you through multicolored hills and rugged beauty. The afternoon is the best time of day to catch photogenic views of colorful hillside and terrain. If you drive a larger rig, pay close attention to the driving restrictions as this one-way drive is limited to vehicles up to 25 feet in length.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center

An RV vacation at Death Valley National Park wouldn’t be complete without learning more about the area’s incredible natural and cultural history. During those hot summer days, beat the heat at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center where you can watch an educational film, check out interpretive exhibits, and get the inside scoop from park rangers. Don't forget to pick up your Death Valley souvenirs.

Fall

Take a Bike Tour

You can cycle through colorful mountains and vast sandy dunes when you take an unforgettable bike tour through Death Valley National Park. Private companies offer the chance to take a guided tour with spectacular views right from your bike. If you want to soak in all of Death Valley’s best attractions like Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Golden Canyon, and Zabriskie Point while cycling with gorgeous backdrops all around you, this is the adventure for you.

Hiking through Golden Canyon

Imagine hiking through golden-colored hills, winding canyons, and towering walls. This dream can become a reality with a hike through the Golden Canyon to the Red Cathedral. Star Wars fans are in for a treat since this was the filming backdrop of the fictional planet Tatooine in the original movie. The Red Cathedral is a fantastic site of towering red rocks that look down over narrow paths. The parking lot near this trail is suitable for RVs and trailers.

Discover the Mystery at the Racetrack

The Racetrack is a remote valley filled with wonder and striking beauty. The road to the Racetrack is only recommended for high clearance vehicles with 4x4, but the trek is worth it. After you make the expedition through whistling Joshua Trees, you’ll discover the mystery of the moving rocks at the Racetrack, which baffled scientists for decades. Splattered across the desolate terrain are hundreds of rocks, some up to 700 pounds, which would mysteriously move like magic, leaving behind eerie trails. The answer to this mysterious area lies within the incredible climate of this other-worldly environment.

Birding

Death Valley National Park is home to a diverse habitat of desert birds like the cactus wren and the mountain bluebird, making the park a prime spot for bird watching. For several weeks in the fall, you will be thrilled by the scores of birds that migrate through the area. Popular bird-watching places include Furnace Creek Ranch, Saratoga Spring, and Wildrose. Before heading out for your birdwatching expedition, make sure you have your bird guide with you to help you classify the birds that fly past.

Visit Harmony Borax Works

Founded in the 1800s, the Harmony Borax Works holds tremendous importance in the history of Death Valley. It helped develop the area because of the influx of borax miners. You can see the remains of settler buildings, railroad cars, wagons, and tools used by those miners. Harmony Borax Works is a prime place to soak up the history behind the heritage of Death Valley National Park.

Winter

Ranger-Led Tours

The winter is a perfect time to take a ranger-led tour of Death Valley National Park. The park service offers regularly scheduled tours and talks at popular destinations including Golden Canyon, Mesquite Flat Dunes, and the Harmony Borax Works, where you can learn about the cultural and natural history of the park from the experts.

Stargazing

Death Valley National Park is known to have some of the darkest skies in the country, meaning you are in for a treat with a night sky glittering with stars. You will be awed by incredible views of the Milky Way. If you want to stargaze on your own, the Harmony Borax Works, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and Badwater Basin offer perfect viewpoints. You can also get out the telescope during one of the park’s regularly scheduled night sky programs.

Backpacking the Owlshead Mountains

If you want to explore the road less traveled and experience the incredible diversity of Death Valley, you will enjoy backpacking through the Owlshead Mountains. This trek will take you through the wondrous canyons, rolling hills, and desert wildflower meadows. This seven to 18-mile moderate hike is perfect for getting unique views you won’t find anywhere else in the park.

Hiking Wildrose Peak

Experienced hikers won’t want to miss a trip to Wildrose Peak, where you can get a glimpse of some of the beautiful, diverse landscapes that make up Death Valley. This eight-mile hike will take you to some gorgeous views of green peaks and desert valleys. There is a parking lot near the beginning of the trail that is suitable for RVs and vehicles up to 25 feet long.

Sunrise and Sunset Photography at Zabriskie Point

The most famous viewpoint in the park is Zabriskie Point, where you can soak in breathtaking views of golden badlands, rolling desert terrain, and rugged mountains. For an unforgettable experience, get your camera and hike up to the viewpoint during a sunrise or sunset, when the desert sky lights up in a parade of colors.

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