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driving in January

N.J. USA
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296 posts
7 reviews
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driving in January

We are thinking of spending some time in Death Valley NP in mid January. We will be flying into Las Vegas and driving from there. Is there anything to be concerned about re the drive at that time of year? What will the weather be like? Will snow/ice be likely?

thanks

Fortaleza, CE
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1. Re: driving in January

Weather.com says the average high and low on Jan. 15, for example, are 65F and 38F; record high was 81F, record low 27F.

Could be pleasant to cool to cold during the day, and cool to cold (even very cold) at night. Could be windy. Rain a possibility, though the most worrisome rainstorms to me are thunderstorms/cloudbursts in the summer.. Snow extremely unlikely except at higher elevations, though it could occur anywhere (usually not much at all). You will certainly see snowcapped Telescope Peak (12,000'+). Other than bundling up, I can't think of specific problems you need to worry about. Hope you're staying at least one night and have accommodations booked.

Edited: 11:59 am, December 04, 2013
Santa Ana, CA
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2. Re: driving in January

Here is the official website for Death Valley NP and the page for the daily report. You can see the temperatures (probably the same next month) and a list of any roads with problems. I see a couple of them have snow. Anything noted "flood" came from September and haven't been repaired yet.

www.nps.gov/deva/loader.cfm…

N.J. USA
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296 posts
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3. Re: driving in January

I would like to know about what to expect on the drive from Las Vegas. What is it like in January?

thanks

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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4. Re: driving in January

There are several major routes into Death Valley from Las Vegas. The most direct one is south through town to NV Hwy 160 to Pahrump, then Bell Vista and Stateline Roads to Death Valley Junction and west into the park. There is also NV Hwy 372 from Pahrump to Shoshone and then Badwater Road into the park; and US 95 north to Beatty and NV 374 west.

Typically, thse routes will have only minor snow and ice issues. if that. The likeliest place for it is a short stretch of Hwy 160 between Las Vegas and Pahrump called Mountain Springs. It's a good road, but it's at higher elevations. On the way out of Las Vegas, you will be mostly ascending on this road, so you wouldn't be going that fast.

It's possible to encounter snow and ice on the Beatty route, once you get into the park onto Daylight Pass Road. That's the extension of NV 374 once it enters the east park boundary. I have seen enough snow on this road to require 4wd. Daylight Pass and the two roads that branch off it inside the park, Mud Canyon and Beatty Cut-off, can be tricky; They are downhill with sweeping curves that can be deceptive, and it's possible to build up excessive speed without realizing it. On stretches like this, it is best to use your transmission, not only your brakes. This does not always come naturally to Americans if they always drive automatic transmissions, but shifting into lower gears on descents will help control your speed wiithout wearing out your brakes.

The southern route along Badwater Road almost never gets snow. It is entirely below sea level and just doesn't get that cold.

Whichever route you choose to enter the park will be scenic, except that US 95 is a lot less dramatic and diverse than anything inside Death Valley. If you're staying in the park for a couple of days, you'll have time to explore different areas and see the variety of landscapes and natural wonders.

5. Re: driving in January

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