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Car Hire & Death Valley

Level Contributor
231 posts
10 reviews
Car Hire & Death Valley

OH has just thrown my itinerinary into disarray and announced he wants to go to Death Valley! We have decided therefore that we would like to hire a Dodge Viper/Corvette/ Mustang or something similar for the day & drive there ourselves. Any tips for what we really must see and recommendations for reputable car hire companies?

Many thanks.

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
4,901 posts
140 reviews
1. Re: Car Hire & Death Valley

Where will you be staying in Vegas? If you're staying at one of the larger hotels, there may be a car rental agency on site. Dollar operates from several major hotels and you could rent a convertible Mustang from them.

We're going to DV in a couple of weeks. I just planned our trip a few days ago. I copied an itinerary off the DV forum to and adjusted it to suit our schedule (one-day trip).

Getting to the park takes about 2 hours, one way. There are several ways there and back, and this is one of several possible loop trips to avoid much backtracking and return by a different route.

• Take US 95 to Beatty, about 120 miles.

• Take NV 374 west, which goes by Rhyolite, a preserved gold mining ghost town that is worth seeing.

• Continue west into the park (watch for tricky curves on the road) and turn south on CA 190, then west toward Stove Pipe Wells Village. The famous sand dunes are on this road, and you can pull off anywhere and walk. Where the road is nearest to the dunes are exhibits about the dunes, what makes them, why they are here, and why they stay here. In the morning, you can see tracks made by nocturnal wildlife.

• A mile or two west past the dunes is Stove Pipe Wells Village resort, with lodging, gas, general store, and restaurant. There are specific mealtimes, but the store is open 7:00-9:00.

• From the dunes or SPW, return on 190 and bear south for Furnace Creek. On the way, you'll pass Salt Creek; depending on the season and how high the creek is, you may see the pupfish. They are most numerous in the spring.

• You'll also pass Harmony Borax Works, the original home of the 20 Mule Team borax wagons. For the 1880s, this was a very high-tech operation!

• Just south of Harmony is the park Visitor Center, with assorted programs about DV, bookstore, guided walks, etc. Programs are limited in summer. Just south is Furnace Creek Ranch, a resort with various facilities. From Stove Pipe Wells to Furnace Creek is about 25 miles.

• Back on 190, turn right at Badwater Road. You'll see Furnace Creek Inn on your left--a Spanish style resort hotel built in the 1920s. This road goes by Devil's Golf Course, a vast area of mud and salt formed into fabulous shapes and crystals over eons of flooding and evaporation.

• Badwater is 17 miles south of the Inn; on the salt flats just west of the parking area is the lowest point in the Americas (282' below sea level). You can walk as far as you like, but be sure to take water, hat, and sunglasses; there is no shade and the surface is snow-white.

• Return north on Badwater Road to Artist's Drive. This is one-way northbound (no trailers or vehicles +25' long). It is narrow, curvy, and very scenic. The highlight is Artist's Palette, where metallic oxides have colored the rocks vivid shades of green, purple, pink, etc. It’s colorful in most light conditions, but the peak is when the sun is low in the west in the p.m.

• Also on the east side of Badwater Road is the entrance to Golden Canyon, one of DV's premier hikes. It's very colorful, with spectacular rock formations. This hike is as long or as short as you wish.

• Back at Furnace Creek Inn, turn right on 190. (BTW, visitors are welcome to see the Inn and the lovely gardens). You're now on the way back to Las Vegas, but first you'll want to see the view from Zabriskie Point, just off the highway. This is the “other side” of Golden Canyon; if you had time, you could hike all the way from one to the other.

• Several miles farther east on 190 is Dante's View Road, which takes you 14 miles to a view area 5,600' above sea level. You'll look down on the huge expanse of salt, water, and rock that is Death Valley. You can pick out Badwater, where you were earlier, and see little “ants” walking on the salt flats.

• Continuing east in 190, you’ll reach the hamlet of Death Valley Junction, a 1920s borax mining company town. Today its claim to fame is the Amargosa Opera House, where a dancer named Marta Becket gives dance and mime performances on selected nights from fall through spring. The Opera House is in the historic Amargosa Hotel, originally a dormitory for the borax workers. The hotel has no restaurant and DVJ has no other services.

• From DVJ, continue through Pahrump back to Las Vegas. Not counting side trips or sightseeing detours, this trip is somewhat over 400 mi/640-650 km. It will be a full day and you'll see some of the major highlights. You'll miss the entire west side of the park around Emigrant and Wildrose, which is mountainous and green, a huge contrast to the central part. That simply means you'll have to come back another time!

• N.B.: The park entrance fee is $20.00 per vehicle, valid for 7 consecutive days, or the America the Beautiful federal lands pass. Most services are available in Beatty; meals, limited groceries, and lodging at Stove Pipe Wells and Furnace Creek. Gas is typically cheaper at SPW than FC, and lowest in Beatty.

Hope this helps!

Edited: 5:08 pm, April 24, 2010
Level Contributor
31,600 posts
2. Re: Car Hire & Death Valley

Everyone who has posted on this forum who lives in the UK has said that you should reserve a car using an agency that is located in UK or something that is geared towards the UK , for example - http://www.dollar.co.uk/

Your insurance needs differ from those that live in the US. Perhaps you can start another thread asking for help from UK residents (or use the search button).

Level Contributor
231 posts
10 reviews
3. Re: Car Hire & Death Valley

Thanks for taking the time for that Bhambound - very informative! We're staying at the Venetian.

vp03 thanks for that info, I will post again quoting your reply if that's ok?

Manitoba, Canada
Level Contributor
238 posts
25 reviews
4. Re: Car Hire & Death Valley

Thanks BhamBound! What great info. Where is the DV forum? Just through trip advisor? We've been playing with the idea of going to DV seeing as we have done Red Rock, Valley of Fire and Oatman a few times and we love to do an off strip trip each time we go down. Planning to go to DV the week of May 9th.

Phoenix, Arizona
Level Contributor
4,901 posts
140 reviews
5. Re: Car Hire & Death Valley

Thanks! Here is the link to the Death Valley forum on TA.


6. Re: Car Hire & Death Valley

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