On the second part of our California road trip, we decided to go from Death Valley to Las Vegas. Driving through Death Valley was a dream coming true for me. I always dreamed of those no man’s land that you see in the movies.
Death Valley to Las Vegas
From San Francisco and then Yosemite, we didn’t took the quickest route to Las Vegas. We drove through Death Valley to Las Vegas.
If you don’t stop anywhere it would take you around 3,5 hours but since we entered via Paramint Springs and stopped at some must see in the National Park it took us a full day.
Actually there are many things to see in Death Valley. My tip is to plan to sleep one night in Death Valley national park.
Tips for driving through Death Valley
- Death Valley is one of the hottest place in the world, so be sure to bring A LOT of water with you! I can put up with the heat very well but this heat was something I have never experienced before.I could barely breath and I could feel my heart beating like it never did before.
- There are only 3 gas station in the National Park at Furnace Creek, Paramint Springs Resort, and Stovepipe Wells Village. Be sure to have your tank full when you enter Death Valley to be sure you will have enough. Also prices for gas in Death Valley National Park are much higher!
- I have heard stories that the car GPS was not working. It worked for us all the time but maybe it depends on your GPS. Be sure to download an offline map!
- There is no phone coverage!
- Be sure you car is in good maintenance! For some area of the park you will need a 4×4 and high clearance vehicle! Also check if you rental car is insured for this area of California!
- A/C in the car should be used with caution because of the risk of overheating due to the extreme temperatures
What to see in Death Valley and itinerary
When you think of Death Valley you might think, no man’s land and boring same road for several hours. Actually you are very wrong. There are many things to see in Death Valley National park. From colored mountains to sand dunes!
So what to see in Death Valley ?
Mesquite flat Sand Dune’s in Death Valley national park
Sand dune’s is probably one of the most famous places to see in Death Valley. You can take a short or long walk into the dunes and the best time to visit Mesquite flat sand dune’s in Death Valley is at sunset or sunrise. You will have the nicest light. Important especially if you are taking pictures 😉
Zabriskie point – Death Valley’s view point
Zabriskie point is a view point in Death Valley situated on a mountain top. To get to the view point you need to take a little walk. From there you can see the Artist Palette’s aka and the salt plains.
Artist palette and artist drive
On your way to BAdwater, you will drive along Artist drive. It is a route next to a range of mountains of several colours.
The minerals in the rocks have shades of blue, green, yellow, purple and red like a painting. This is why it is called “Artist” drive. At some point on the road you will find Artist Palette, where the colours are the most intense.
Badwater Basin is the lowest point in North America. While it was not to see it would not be again on my itinerary the next time. Better to see it from far, from Dante’s view for example.
Dante’s view is another view point and supposed to have the nicest view over Death Valley!
If you have more time on your hand, I think that Racetrack Playa in Death Valley is worth a stop. It is where rocks moves from alone. Fans of supernatural will love it! Watch some videos on Youtube to understand what I am talking about.
Other places of interest in Death Valley are :
- Telescope Peak that is the highest point in Death Valley National Park
- Red Cathedral for it’s photogenic red cliffs
- Eureka Valley Sand Dunes that are the highest dunes in Death Valley
Lodging in Death Valley
My only regret is that we didn’t camp in the National Park for the night. If you have the chance to, Paramint Springs at the West entrance of the park looked incredible.
If you are looking for a real hotel, the Ranch and the Inn at Furnace creek are your best bet. It is quite expensive though!
For the most adventurous you can plan to camp in Death Valley national park. There are 12 camping in the park. You can’t reserve any of them in advance except for the camping at Furnace Creek via recreation.gov.