Directions to Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park spans across California and Nevada, and the road you need to take to get there really depends on your starting point.

Traveling by Car to Death Valley National Park

The major road which actually transects the park from east to west is the California Hwy 190. Okay, now that’s sorted out let’s dig a little deeper;

  • From the East – in Nevada, US Route 95 runs parallel to the park from the north to the south, and connects with highways at State Route 267 (aka Scotty’s Junction), State Route 374 (Beatty) and State Route 373 (Lathrop Wells).
  • From the West – both State Route 14 and US Route 395 lead towards Ridgecrest, CA, where you can join State Route 178 and head east into Death Valley National Park. If you’re a little further north on Hwy 395 at Olancha, CA, simply join Hwy 190 to the national park, or even further north at Lone Pine, CA, you can take Hwy 136 which joins Hwy 190 and head east into the park.
  • From the South –  if you follow I-15 it passes through Baker, California, running from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. State Route 127 heads north from Baker all the way to Shoshone and on to Death Valley Junction and connects with the park on State Route 178 from Shoshone or connects with California Highway 190 at the Death Valley Junction.


Driving Around Death Valley National Park – A Few Tips

Death Valley National Park demands respect, just looking at some of the amazing photos is enough to make you go all humble, and though it’s a great place to drive through you mustn’t leave your brain at the entrance to the park . . . you know what I mean?

There are more than 785 miles of roads in Death Valley National Park – some are paved, some are not, some are only suitable for 4-wheel drive vehicles. Most of the back country areas can only be accessed by 4-wheel drive vehicles or hiking cross country.

Take your time to enjoy the drive through Death Valley National Park, not only to enjoy the wonderful scenery but also because many of the roads were built during the 1930’s – they’re narrow, they’re twisty and it ain’t safe to go fast. In Death Valley you’re more likely to die from a car rollover than from the heat – you have been warned.

Death Valley is “out of signal” in the majority of places for the majority of cell phones. Put simply, they don’t work (don’t tell you teenage daughter before you set off, then you can act surprised but get a thankful rest from the constant texting), anyway, in a more serious tone . . . don’t rely on your cell phone to help you out of an emergency situation.
Other Ways to Travel to Death Valley National Park

At the moment there’s no public transport available which can take you to Death Valley National Park, which isn’t surprising really, you do kinda’ need a car to get around once you’ve arrived. However, if you’re lucky enough to own, or have access to a private plane, read on . . .

There’s a rough staved pipe landing strip at Stovepipe Wells. There’s no fuel though, so make sure that you’ve got plenty of gas to get home again.
There’s also a small public airport at Furnace Creek. Once again, there’s no fuel.