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Most "Scenic" Entrance

Vancouver
posts: 217
reviews: 1
Most "Scenic" Entrance

I'm going to be driving into Death Valley from Las Vegas, and, if anyone has any experience on the subject, I'm wondering which of the entrances is most scenic/gives you a feel for the scale of the place.

For example, I've driven in via the west entrance and found it to be very interesting how you climb in elevation on that windy road, then begin a steady descent with views of the valley growing larger and larger in the distance and below.

I don't think any of the east entrances could quite stack up to that ( I've done the route through Pahrump - past the Amargosa Opera House - on the road that takes you past Zabriskie Point and ending up at Furnace Creek, found it very scenic but not quite as "wow!" )

But if anyone has any suggestions that would be cool.

Chicago, Illinois
Destination Expert
for Dusseldorf
posts: 2,715
reviews: 294
1. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

Well, if you want drama, then drive in through Beatty, and instead of staying on the main road turn off on the Titus Canyon entrance road and enter the park through Titus. Of course make sure you are driving a proper vehicle and have taken all the normal precautions and called the visitors center to check on road conditions.

Otherwise, the entrance past Father Crowleys is hard to beat for drama.

ZB

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
posts: 12,594
reviews: 7
2. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

Did you go up to Dantes View on your last trip in from Vegas? That has an amazing view of the Badwater basin and Telescope Peak across the valley.

Vancouver
posts: 217
reviews: 1
3. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

Yeah, been up to Dante's View.

As far as Titus Canyon goes, we'll have a rental and if I'm not mistaken, they won't allow you off paved roads.

This is a side trip from Vegas with family who haven't been to DV and I want them to have a good first experience. ( will be my 3rd time )

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 10,549
reviews: 41
4. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

Yup. Titus Canyon. But allow more time if your destination is Furnace Creek, because Titus is often 4wd and/or high clearance, and it has scads of marvelous sights: beautiful colors and rock formations, a ghost town, petroglyphs, and “The Narrows,” the stretch just before the west end with high, sheer cliffs where the canyon shrinks down to about 20’ wide. There is also another canyon that runs north of the main body of Titus right at the entrance, Fall Canyon; it is a hike of a couple miles to where you see dramatic formations that some people consider among the best sights in the park. I would say to allow 3-4 hours for Titus Canyon itself, not counting the drive from Beatty, a visit to the ghost town of Rhyolite, and the optional Fall Canyon hike that could go half a day or more.

If you don’t have the time or appropriate vehicle, go to Beatty anyway (but be aware Hwy 95 from Las Vegas to Beatty is not very exciting) and go down Daylight Pass to Hell’s Gate. This is a view of the Valley looking southwest.

Or take the longest way from LV, via Pahrump, Shoshone, and Badwater. From Shoshone to Badwater is about 70 miles, and the scenery is more about restful long-range views of the Valley and the surrounding mountains, not so much about grand and stupendous scenic wonders. The specific natural marvels include Badwater, Natural Bridge, Artist’s Drive, Devil’s Golf Course, and Golden Canyon, and they are in the northern 17 miles of Badwater Road. A variation of the Shoshone route takes you to Tecopa and the Old Spanish Trail, and you can tour the China Ranch date farm near Tecopa or soak in the mineral hot springs.

Or you could take the standby Pahrump to Death Valley Junction route but make a side trip to Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, a lush desert marsh in the middle of the desert. It has ponds, scads of vegetation, and reptiles and birds to watch for. The endangered Devil’s Hole pupfish lives there; the underground cavern where they live is not open to the public, but during the spring you can see their close cousins, the Salt Creek pupfish, in Death Valley proper.

If you’re into geology, you’ll understand that the west side entrances are more dramatic because that’s where the higher mountains are. But there are no bad views, boring landscapes, or ugly views in Death Valley.

Vancouver
posts: 217
reviews: 1
5. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

Cool.

I wish we had a 4x4, the one thing I haven't been able to do in any of my visits there is really explore the backroads. I've gone up to the racetrack but even that was too much for my car ( drove that time ) and we turned around rather than heading out the "loop" route for fear the unknown may have been worse.

I've thought about renting one from Farrabee's for the day but I imagine they're quite pricy. Would love to see Titus Canyon though.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 10,549
reviews: 41
6. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

The most recent info I had was that Farabee's rents for $175 per day. The Wranglers are equipped for backcountry use, including tires, which are usually an issue on rented vehicles, even 4wds. Loaner ice chests are available, along with maps and advice.

Vancouver
posts: 217
reviews: 1
7. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

So tempting...

I wonder how much it ends up being after waivers, insurance, this and that tax, etc.

I shall probably find out when I'm down there.

Mid-May, hoping for some warm sunshine to help forget about all this rain!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 10,549
reviews: 41
8. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

Contact them and ask in advance. That way, you can start planning some specific adventures (to either include or not, depending on whether you decide you afford to rent from them).

http://www.farabeesjeeprentals.com/

Zagreb, Croatia
posts: 157
reviews: 3
9. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

sorry for jumping in, one question for us without 4wd, is it possible to hike through the Titus canyon or is it something interesting nearby that can be explored in a few hours by foot ? (just to leave a car near the main road and walk early in the morning) thanks !

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 10,549
reviews: 41
10. Re: Most "Scenic" Entrance

The entire canyon is over 40 km long, one way, and then you'd need someone to pick you up at the other end. (Or to be driving through the canyon and pick you up somewhere along the way if you need to stop before you reach the west end).

You can hike the east end by driving up the Castle Road and on a rough dirt road to the mouth of the canyon, where there is a parking area. Then walk in. The narrowest part of the canyon is only a couple hundred meters in, where the walls are sheer and high and the width is 6 or 7 meters. You can walk whatever distance you wish. You will be walking on the road where vehicles come out, but the shape of the canyon will enable you to hear them before they get close enough to be a hazard.

If you have a few hours, you could explore Fall Canyon, which I mentioned in #4.