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Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

St. Petersburg...
posts: 3
Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

Hi!

Please help me with information and advices!

I'm plan to visit USA (Los Angeles) for couple of week, and I want to rent a car and go to the Death Valley and may be Hoover dam to.

My questions:

1. My aim is to visit the grand landmarks - breathtaking views etc. And something that I can't find in Europe. That's why I want to visit "Real American Desert" in Death Valley (Grand Canyon will be better, but it is to far from LA). Could you advise me some specific places in Death Valley and aprox. 50 miles around Death Valley with such breathtaking views and grandiose landmarks? I plan to arrange my trip in 2-3 days.

2. Is it safely if I will drive to Death Valley ALONE on my rent car from LA? I'm a very experienced car traveler and have traveled across all Europe, but I'm worry because if it could be no help (no people and no cell coverage) in Death Valley. May be I'm wrong.

3. Is it OK and safely, if I will visit Death Valley at the end of December? I mean weather and climate. What about temperature, wind, humidity etc? As I know there can be freezing in some part of Death valley and heat on the other part. So may be you can advice me some special clothing for this trip, thermos and food etc.

Thank you!

Edited: 4:49 am, December 04, 2012
Fortaleza, CE
posts: 6,875
reviews: 348
1. Re: Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

What is your worry re driving alone in DV? Car breaking down and you being stranded and dying? If you stay on the paved highways-- and your rental car agreement will likely say you can't go on unpaved roads-- there will be other cars around. Cell phone coverage can be spotty, so don't just head off onto backroads alone (you may not be able to call for help).

The park's Web site has info on temperatures. So does www.weather.com/weather/monthly/CANPDV:13 It can get below freezing at night, especially at higher elevations. You're staying in a hotel in the park? Book early? Why is humidity a worry? Unless you decide to hike up Telescope Peak, snow shouldn't be a worry in DV. If you go to the Grand Canyon, chances of encountering snow are good, and your rental car agreement may prohbiit the use of chains.

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 48,818
reviews: 42
2. Re: Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

It's perfectly save to drive yourself from LA to Death Valley. Take 14 and 395 and enter DV by its west side. Hoover Dam still is a 3 hours drive to the east from DV. And as always, dress in layers.

St. Petersburg...
posts: 3
3. Re: Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

Thank you for your answers and advices!

As for the paved and unpaved roads:

Does Titus Canyon (with unpaved road) is dangerous for ordinary (not SUV) rent car?

On Death Valley official site they say "Most vehicle rental agreements restrict vehicles to paved roads. Check your contract and be aware that the rental company can charge you for damage to the vehicle outside of the contract agreement specifications".

But they also said that this road is OK for 2 wheel drive car and that this is the most visited unpaved road in the park.

So does it REALLY dangerous to go to Titus Canyon... even not dangerous for me, but for my credit card :-) Does rent company can really charge additional money if I will go to Titus Canyon unpaved road?

The Titus Canyon is the ONLY unpaved road that I plan to use, other landmarks are on the paved roads.

Please, see the link about Titus Canyon: nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/titus-canyon.htm

Thank you!

Uden, The...
Destination Expert
for Road Trips
posts: 48,818
reviews: 42
4. Re: Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

You definitely should not drive Titus with a sedan. You'll need a SUV with higher clearance and your rentalcompany doesnot allow to drive roads like that. If you want to go on roads like Titus you can rent a Jeep at Farabees near Furnace Creek Inn. Higher clearance is more important than awd on Titus. There are some steep parts at Titus that some people call "white knuckles". Whatever you do, always first ask local advice before driving Titus.

Tet

St. Petersburg...
posts: 3
5. Re: Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

I see, thank you!

Edited: 3:43 am, December 10, 2012
Fortaleza, CE
posts: 6,875
reviews: 348
6. Re: Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

Many years ago, my father, who was quite familiar with DV, decided to drive Titus in our Buick Skylark sedan. Did some damage. We made it out, but had to get towed from DV to some town. If you had to get towed from Titus itself, the bill would be very big. Your rental car company would not be pleased.

Edited: 7:56 am, December 10, 2012
7. Re: Death Valley - alone on rent car from LA. Is it OK?

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