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Los Angeles to Las Vegas through DV

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Bucharest, Romania
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Los Angeles to Las Vegas through DV


We intend to spend 2 weeks in California, driving between main cities.

Leaving Los Angeles in the morning, going to Las Vegas, we want to spend around 2 hours in Death Valley. I know is very short, but better than nothing.

So, following CA 190 E, arriving at Furnace Creek after 4 hours. Spending no more than 2 hours at Badwater, Natural Bridge, Artists Drive, (maybe Golden Canyon), Zabriskie Point and then going to Las Vegas, other 2 hours through CA 190 E.

I know is very ambitious, but do you think is it possible?

Thank you for any advice.


Cuenca, Ecuador
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1. Re: Los Angeles to Las Vegas through DV

Hello Irina, and welcome to the Death Valley Junction forum.

You've got a good idea, but you won't be completely able to do all of what you described in the time you state. The Mojave Desert where I live is a very expansive place, and it takes time to get to one area of the desert to another. . . and that's also true inside Death Valley National Park, which is about 3.4 million acres (13, 759 square kilometers), a bit larger than Montenegro in Southern Europe (I think you can relate to that coming from Romania).

It will take around 6 hours to get to Badwater in Death Valley NP from Los Angeles with no stops along the way. A common short trip to do while there in the park is to view Devil's Golf Course, Badwater, and Artist's Drive, which will take around an hour and a half. You can add in Zabriskie Point going east towards Las Vegas by way of Pahrump, Nevada, which is an often recommended routing on this forum.

So yes, you can see those sights and places along the way as you overnight in Las Vegas, but it will take some more time than you may have thought. It can be done, and is done all the time. As you say, seeing at least some of Death Valley National Park is better than seeing none at all.

You don't say when you will be traveling, but common practice around here is to bring plenty of water to drink. You will need it at all seasons of the year in Death Valley, but especially in the Summer. I personally carry at least - if not more than - one flat of 24 bottles of 500ml water with me in my car's trunk at all times. Having them iced and cold in a portable cooler would be an even better idea. I can't stress enough the need for the body to be properly hydrated, even when in the car seeing the sights that way and out of the car for short stops. The sun is bright here and will tan your skin whether or not you want that to happen. Trust me on this.

Enjoy your travels with us.

San Francisco
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2. Re: Los Angeles to Las Vegas through DV

It would be barely possible to just scratch the surface. We wish you had more time to enjoy Death Valley, but if this is absolutely your only opportunity, do take it. If you are coming in the summer, we have a whole thread devoted to conversations about summertime safety pecautions (see "Top Questions" in the righthand corner of the main Death Valley National Park forum).

Coming in from Hwy 190 from the west, you could see the Sand Dunes, which most people enjoy, then head for Furnace Creek. Be sure to go to the visitor center to see the park movie and find out about the many sights you won’t have time for. The visitor center has a well-stocked book and gift shop and you can get picture books and other items.

From Furnace Creek to Badwater is about 25 km, and on the way is Devil’s Golf Course. At Badwater, turn back north. Natural Bridge is an interesting, but you have to walk about 700-800 metres from the parking area to the “natural bridge.” There are other rock formations beyond it. You may or may not have time to do this, if you are due in Las Vegas at a certain time. This “natural bridge” is unusual for Death Valley, but if you are going to Arches or other southern Utah national parks, you will see more spectacular natural bridges and arches there. If you are really limited on time, I would skip this and go to Dante’s View.

Artist’s Drive is 1-way starting at the south end, so you will do it on the northbound return trip on Badwater Road. Back on 190 east, Zabriskie Point is just off the highway, and 20 Mule Team Canyon is another scenic drive just beyond. It will not add much distance to your trip, and you will come out on 190 farther east.

Dante’s View is a must-see, particularly for visitors with limited time. For most people, it is the best way to get the “lay of the land.” From the main highway (190), it is about 20 km on a paved side road to the view area, which is almost 1700m in elevation. You will have a grand panoramic view of Death Valley, from the surrounding mountain ranges (up to almost 3400m above sea level) down to Badwater (85m below sea level), the vast salt flats, several roads, and the oasis of Furnace Creek.

All of these roads are suitable for any car driven carefully. Devil's Golf Course and Natural Bridge are graded gravel; they are not paved but are maintained regularly. 20 Mule Team Canyon is hard dirt and clay. On such roads, the only extra precautions might be to go a bit slower to maintain traction and avoid flat tires.

Bucharest, Romania
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3. Re: Los Angeles to Las Vegas through DV

thank you very much for your replies.

We will be on this road on 25th of June, we understood there will be 50Celsius degrees, very hard indeed...

4. Re: Los Angeles to Las Vegas through DV

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