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Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley

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posts: 59
reviews: 51
Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley


My question is in regards to Death Valley and what to see with limited time in traveling from Vegas to Yosemite.

We are leaving Vegas 6/21 in early morning and checking into our Yosemite place on 6/22.

I am hoping to spend the evening of 6/21 in Bishop, so given that, I'd like to see as much of Death Valley as possible in between leaving Vegas and Bishop.

I was planning on traveling on 190 through DV the following seem interesting to me so far:

1. Zabriskie Point

2. Badwater Basin

3. Natural Bridge

4. Artists Drive

5. Mesquite Flat

6. Stovepipe Wells Village

I am not looking to do any time consuming hikes, I would like to see things that are easily accessible via a standard car (which is a rental) and limited walking (< .5 mile). I am open to any suggestions, please tell me if I should add/remove something or consider another route or if there are any must sees that I need to do.

I left out Dante view intentionally, I can drive mountain roads as long as I am not on the edge of a cliff. What I've read about the road going up concerned me a bit, please advise if I am mistaken.

The morning of 6/22 we plan on a quick visit to Mono Lake and maybe Bodie then across Tioga Pass.

Thank you very much for you help.


Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,452
reviews: 22
1. Re: Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley

There really is no other route for what you want to do. I'm sure you know how hot it will be on the solstice so I won't bother to warn you. Your stops are among the most popular on a driving tour and you should have no problem with them and can amend your itinerary if you want when you are there. You probably won't want to do much hiking.

Badwater is the biggest detour and is sometimes a disappointment for people but it's also the main reason many go to DV so they can say they've been there.

No reason to stop at Stovepipe Village unless for a meal or snacks if you don't already have them.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
posts: 42,044
reviews: 75
2. Re: Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley

I'd add the short driving detour of 20 Mule Team Canyon. It will only add 5 minutes on an unpaved road, but you'll be driving really really slowly so it's safe. I just think it's a fun wacky drive ... almost like an amusement park attraction with quick turns & strange rock formations.

You may also want to see some of the views as you drive out of the Park toward Panamint.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
posts: 11,308
reviews: 42
3. Re: Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley

The road to Dante's View does not skirt any horrendously steep cliffs. For the first 10 miles or so, it's actually fairly straight, with gentle curves. As it gets closer to the top, it gets a little twistier, but there are always two full lanes and there are guardrails on the last half mile where it is steepest. There are drops, but mostly not sheer vertical precipices. The sheerest drops might be when you get to the parking area on top and walk to the edge near the exhibit signs!

The unpaved 20 Mule Team Canyon road is a bit better than graded gravel. It's hard dirt and clay, so the ride is smoother than gravel (Devil's Golf Course, Salt Creek, and Mosaic Canyon are on gravel roads, but they are maintained regularly and any car driven carefully will be OK). In wet weather, 20MT can get muddy and slick, but June is a bit early for the brunt of the thunderstorm season.

Natural Bridge is interesting and beautiful (everything in DV is), but it is a little over a half mile from the parking area to the natural bridge, and then you can go beyond it and see more formations if you like. Just so you know that it is not a quick stroll of a couple hundred feet. If you have time and are inclined to take a shorter walk, Golden Canyon is also just off Badwater Road. From the parking area, you walk right into the mouth of the canyon and immediately start seeing the brown and tan colors and the eroded formations. Golden Canyon is the "other side" of Zabriskie Point and it is possible to hike between the two.

If Mesquite Flat means the Mesquite Sand Dunes, be aware that you'll probably be there close to the hottest part of the day, since you're coming from Las Vegas and doing some touring on your way. People can walk out there any time they want, but be sure you bring your water and hat, and if you want to walk barefooted, bring footwear with you.

Napa, CA
Destination Expert
for Napa
posts: 5,452
reviews: 22
4. Re: Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley

Read this story before attempting to hike between Golden Canyon and Zabriskie Point on June 21st.


Some good tips for summer hiking here:


There are much better times of year to visit DV.

posts: 59
reviews: 51
5. Re: Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley

Thank you all for the advice, I checked out 20 mule canyon and I will stop there and hopefully we can stop at Golden Canyon too.

There seems to be so much to see here!

6. Re: Las Vegas to Yosemite via Death Valley

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