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Which road should we take to enter DV?

Laval, Canada
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Which road should we take to enter DV?

We are going to DV in July. We will spend one night at Kingman before going to DV. We will sleep 2 nights at Stovepipe Wells.

I've checked the different must see places in DV and trying to plan our visit.

Which road should we take to entre DV and what do you suggest as itinerary to see as much as possible.

After DV, we are going to Las Vegas.

Thanks for your advice.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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1. Re: Which road should we take to enter DV?

As you can see, there's a multitude of ways to get in from the east. The shortest seems to be Hwy 93 thru Boulder City, then the beltway, I-215, that skirts the southern edge of Las Vegas. This takes you to Hwy 160 toward Pahrump and Death Valley Junction. Since you will be going to Las Vegas later, this keeps you out of the congested central part of the city for now. Not counting any detours for sightseeing, it is around 250 miles to Stovepipe Wells, and you can see Dante's View, 20 Mule Team Canyon, and Zabriskie Point on the way in (this will add to the mileage). Also along the way are the park visitor center, Harmony Borax Works, and Salt Creek.

Another way is from the south on Badwater Road. Go thru Boulder City, then take I-15 to Baker and 127 north to Shoshone, and enter the park on Jubilee Pass. The stretch from Las Vegas to Baker on I-15 is not very inspiring. There are fine panoramas of the mountains, but mainly from a distance. And traffic is often so distracting that you can't really enjoy the scenery. This is the main Los Angeles-Las Vegas route and carries scads of truck and bus traffic as well as private cars. Within the park on the Jubilee Pass Road, the scenery is grand, but this trip is over 300 miles to SPW. The major specific natural marvels on Badwater Road (Badwater, Devil's Golf Course etc.) are in the northern 17 miles, so the southern 40 miles or so are primarily for the scenery.

Another way is to go from Boulder City right thru Las Vegas (yes, you'd be in the midst of the urban traffic) and up Hwy 95 to Beatty. You could see the ghost town of Rhyolite on the way into the park. This trip from Kingman to Stovepipe Wells would be around 260 miles. On the "plus" side, it's one of the shorter routes, you get to see Rhyolite, and the Devil's Cornfield and Sand Dunes are on the way to SPW. Also, Scotty's Castle and Ubehebe Crater are convenient to this route. And you wouldn't be repeating the drive on Hwy 190 later when you go to Las Vegas. On the "minus" side, you'd go through central Las Vegas traffic twice. Also, the scenery along 95 is beautiful but fairly tame, not at all as varied or dramatic as it is just over the mountains inside the park.

With two days at SPW, you'll have time for both exploring and relaxing. If you came in from Beatty, you'll have time in your two days to go down to Badwater, or over to the west side of the Panamint to the green, mountainous Wildrose area.

When you leave for Las Vegas, the most direct way is past Furnace Creek, 190 east to Death Valley Junction, and Stateline Road to Pahrump. If you want, ou could save Zabriskie and Dante's View for the trip out, making it the grand finale to your trip.

Whichever way you took to go in, then take a different way returning if you can.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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2. Re: Which road should we take to enter DV?

P.S. I don't recall if you've said what kind of vehicle you'd have. If you rent a 4wd, after Rhyolite you could come in on Titus Canyon Road. It is a backcountry road with a big variety of things to see: unique rock formations and colors, a ghost town (Leadfield), petroglyphs and possibly a chance to see bighorn sheep (both at Klare Spring), and sheer, weathered canyon walls in the west end that show the power of water in the desert.

This is a 26-mile road westbound; once on it, you can't change your mind and turn around. It may not always require 4wd, but it's a good idea to have it. For DV newcomers wanting a backcountry experience, this is the one I would most recommend because it is not extremely rigorous but there are opportunities to get into 4wd, and there is a lot to see so you don't feel you're working hard for a tiny reward. :)

3. Re: Which road should we take to enter DV?

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