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Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Wales
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Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Hi guys

My partner and I are hoping to hire a car and drive to Death Valley from Las Vegas next week. Unfortunately an overnight stop is not an option and we know we will miss some of the sights, but hey we are trying to make the best of a bad situation.

The itinerary we have come up with is below. Is this any good or even plausible? Are there any other things to see close by on route that we could squeeze in?

Las Vegas

Enter park via DV Junction

to Dantes View

to Twenty Mule Team Canyon

to Zabriskie Point

to Artists Palette

to Furnace Creek (gas)

to Devils Golf Course

to Badwater

to Shosone

to Las Vegas

Any help or feedback is greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance for all your help.

James

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53 replies to this topic
Tucson, Arizona
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for Dusseldorf
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1. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Very feasable. You do not need to buy gas at Furnace Creek. You will have plenty and it is way too expensive there. If I were you I would not head down to Shoshone after Badwater but I would go back the way I came. You can always get gas in Pahrump if you need to. There is nothing special in Shoshone( there actually is to some of us archeological nuts but not one day exporers). Spend a little more time at all the places you are visiting. I would stop at the Borax works if you can, and also drive along 20 Mule Team Canyon on your way back out .

ZB

Wales
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2. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Thanks that's great. I'm not looking to hire an SUV, is this trip possible without one?

Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

any rental can make this trip. as long as it has 4 wheels or two actually will work as well!

ZB

San Francisco
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4. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Agree: no real need to go to Shoshone, unless you are very keen on seeng the tiny local museum there. It's quaint, but not a "must-see."

This would mean you would enter and leave on 190 via Death Valley Junction, so you could divide the sightseeing between coming and going.

I would suggest Dante's View on the way in, to get the lay of the land and a tangible idea of what sort of place Death Valley is, and the vastness and natural diversity. Dante's is 5475 ft above sea level, and you will be looking down at Badwater, 282 ft below sea level, and across the Valley at the Panamint range where the high point is over 11,000 ft.

Save 20 Mule Team Canyon for the return trip, because it is 1-way eastbound. Go to Zabriskie Point next. After that, I'd suggest passing the Badwater junction for now and going up 190 to Furnace Creek, where the park visitor center is. It’s less than a mile from the junction. The visitor center was just reopened after being redesigned with updated exhibits, so I can't tell you exactly what you'll see. But you'll learn more about the other sights you'll be visiting. This is also where you can pay your park entrance fee if you did not do so earlier at one of the automated kiosks (or don't have an annual Federal outdoor recreation pass for people planning to visit many national parks or monuments).

Furnace Creek is also where the resorts are, where you’ll find a small museum mainly about borax, a general store, restaurants, and a saloon. The general store sells postcards and souvenirs (some of which you might find at the park visitor center for less). There is a post office at Furnace Creek but the service counter is closed on weekends, so if you’ll be there on a Saturday or Sunday, get whatever postage stamps you need in advance.

After Furnace Creek, return to Badwater Road and see Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater, Artist’s Drive, and Golden Canyon. In that order, you’ll be making a loop trip south and then back north to 190. Golden Canyon is the only one that might be called a hike, and you can see the eroded rock and warm brown and tan colors in a short comfortable stroll. Much of the rock in Golden Canyon (and Zabriskie Point and 20 Mule Team Canyon) is clay and sandstone. All these sights are in the first 17 miles of Badwater Road, so you won’t be going long distances. The southern part of Badwater Road is scenic, but it’s more about long-range vistas and sweeping views of the mountains than specific natural marvels. If you were staying a night and had more time, it would be nice to take it, but you can plan to do it on your next visit.

If you have time, the Devil’s Cornfield and Sand Dunes are 20-25 minutes north of Furnace Creek, on Hwy 190. This would add maybe 45-50 minutes of travel plus whatever time you spend there. You’d still return on 190 for Las Vegas. On the way back, you can go through 20 Mule Team Canyon and then take a few minutes to look around DV Junction, a 1920s borax mining company town which is now a ghost town and the location of the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House.

Wales
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5. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Thanks for the input guys. Here is my revised itinerary. What do you think?

Las Vegas

to Dantes View

to Zabriskie Point

to Badwater Junction

to Furnace Creek

to Devils Golf Course

to Badwater

to Artists Palette

to Golden Canyon

to Devils Cornfield

to Mesquite Flat Dunes

to Twenty Mule Team Canyon

to Death Valley Junction

to Las Vegas

Uden, The...
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6. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

If you want to go to Devils Cornfield and the Dunes (and maybe even Salt Creek) I'd do that from Furnace Creek first and go to Badwater etc after that.

Artist drive is better later in the day.

Wales
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7. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Got it, I hope? Below is my finalised itinerary.

Las Vegas

to Dantes View

to Zabriskie Point

to Badwater Junction

to Furnace Creek

to Salt Creek

to Devils Cornfield

to Mesquite Flat Dunes

to Devils Golf Course

to Badwater

to Artists Palette

to Golden Canyon

to Twenty Mule Team Canyon

to Death Valley Junction

to Las Vegas

Camp Sherman, Oregon
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8. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

That sounds great, you will be doing a lot in the day. FYI, as of last week the visitor center did not have it's exhibit's ready, just a park info movie running in the auditorium. Good place to get a map if you want. I upgraded to the National Geographic one, big improvement over my well used AAA map. Good to get to Salt Creek in the am before the sun is shining in your face from the west. If you have time a quick walk into Mosaic Canyon just past Mesquite Dunes for the great rock formations. At Bad Water you might have to walk out a ways to see good salt formations as this has been a dry year and very little water on the flats. I agree also Twenty Mule Team as you are leaving as in the am the sun is right in your eyes, blinding at times. This will be a wow experience for such a short trip.

Boston
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9. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

You're going to see a lot of pretty scenery - from your car. You'll spend much of the day in AC comfort burning up gas. Once you get out there, consider slowing down a bit. At one of these beautiful spots, take a half hour walk. If you're at Salt Creek, sit and watch the pupfish - they will likely be out by now. Walk out onto the whiteness at Badwater (you might want to bring a few rags or paper towels to clean the salt off your soles when you get back to the car). Hike way out into the dunes. Especially if you haven't been out in the desert before, take enough time to get away from the cars a bit (don't forget to carry water!) and savor the silence.

BTW Badwater is dry and very white thisyear - just walk 1/4 mile out the beaten path where it gets much more interesting.

Edited: 10:56 pm, April 03, 2012
Vancouver, BC
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10. Re: Death Valley self drive day trip itinerary from Las Vegas

Would love to hear about this trip when you get back... Thinking of doing something similar on my trip in 3 weeks. Have a blast!

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