Death Valley

bigb

2011 Winnebago Via 25Q on 3500 Sprinter Tucson, AZ
Who has been there, and can give advice. We wanted to go over Christmas but everything is shut down now so we will have to wait but hoping to go before it gets really hot. We would probably prefer hookups since we have not boondocked yet (except for years ago in a pickup camper) but a night or 2 without hookups would be doable. Seems the bigger tourist area is around Stovepipe Wells and maybe Furnace Creek? Would like to hear from anyone who has been.
 

ECU

Well-known member
Probably a great time. I was there in February and the flowers were in bloom. A lot of the stuff is places you drive to to see. With fewer people it should be better.
 

4wheeldog

2018 144" Tall Revel
Who has been there, and can give advice. We wanted to go over Christmas but everything is shut down now so we will have to wait but hoping to go before it gets really hot. We would probably prefer hookups since we have not boondocked yet (except for years ago in a pickup camper) but a night or 2 without hookups would be doable. Seems the bigger tourist area is around Stovepipe Wells and maybe Furnace Creek? Would like to hear from anyone who has been.
Furnace creek has more amenities. Hook ups are at a premium and require reservations....At least in normal times. The week after Thanksgiving is an excellent time, for weather and lack of crowds. In a good wild flower year, the views are outstanding but it gets crowded. Something to keep in mind is that Death Valley is huge, and there are considerable distances between tourist spots.
And fuel is very expensive.
 

bigb

2011 Winnebago Via 25Q on 3500 Sprinter Tucson, AZ
Furnace creek has more amenities. Hook ups are at a premium and require reservations....At least in normal times. The week after Thanksgiving is an excellent time, for weather and lack of crowds. In a good wild flower year, the views are outstanding but it gets crowded. Something to keep in mind is that Death Valley is huge, and there are considerable distances between tourist spots.
And fuel is very expensive.
Are there rules about where you can stop overnight if you choose not to go to the campgrounds?
I can deal with the expensive fuel but the bigger issue will be the 26 gallon tank and 14 MPG.
 

VanGoSki

Well-known member
Are there rules about where you can stop overnight if you choose not to go to the campgrounds?
I can deal with the expensive fuel but the bigger issue will be the 26 gallon tank and 14 MPG.
Campgrounds are close now, but you can camp 1 mile or more off the main paved roads any time. And honestly most of the time they won't bug you if you overnight at one of the viewpoint parking lots. Just don't be obvious about it.

Fuel really isn't more expensive if you know how to do it. Don't get it at Furnace Creek or Panamint. Stove Pipe Wells has much better prices due to it being a private concession. And you can always drive to Lone Pine or Shoshone both of which are located outside the park have normal fuel prices too.
 

sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
I just got back from DV a few days ago. You will not find hookups anywhere right now.. all campgrounds and established (named) dry camps in the park are closed due to the statewide closure order. Commercial campgrounds in CA are also closed.

Camping rules and map are here:

It's a beautiful time to go but it will be cold at night (down in the mid 30s) especially if you're up high- many of the camping opportunities are 1000 to 4000 feet above sea level. T-shirt weather in the daytime.

There is NO diesel at Stovepipe Wells. Only gasoline. Diesel is close to $5/gal at Furnace Creek and in Shoshone, CA. I suggest filling up in Beatty, NV or Pahrump, NV where it was about $2/gal cheaper. CA fuel taxes are high, and there aren't many options near the park. Bring ALL of your food. A single can of vegetable soup was $9.50 at the Furnace Creek general store. Water and dumpsters are available at FC and SPW.

Dispersed camping in the park is not like camping in a national forest. Most of the roads that you can camp along are narrow (one lane), loose gravel with washouts and no real spots to turn around other than vacant campsites. The sites are just disturbed wide spots where other people have pulled a couple feet off the road. No trailers, and anything over 25ft is really pushing it. Most of the spots are on sloped alluvial fans and are not level. I didn't see any RVs that were dispersed camping, only tents, truck campers and campervans. That's not to say it'd be impossible, but pack carefully as the contents of your cabinets may end up on the floor from the side to side rocking if you exceed ~5 mph. And get to your campsite before nightfall. It's hard enough to see and assess the "sites" in the daytime. There are many illegal sites so watch your trip odometer as you get off the road and make sure you've gone at least 1 mile or you're risking an expensive ticket.

It is extremely quiet at night so I tried to avoid even running my furnace and when I did it was only on the lowest setting. A generator would be heard for miles and spoil a unique magical experience for potentially dozens of people. Don't be that guy. If you "have to", run it during the day at a paved parking area.

Enjoy!
 
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glasseye

Well-known member
What everybody else said is true. In "normal" years, it doesn't start to get really hot until April.

If you have a chance to go, just do it. DVNP (and the surrounding deserts) are an absolutely amazing place to visit. You'll feel like you're on another planet. I live in British Columbia and I've visited over a dozen times over the years.

20110331_0176-1-Pano.jpg

Eureka Dunes. Campsite is closed, but there are alternatives enroute.

Be There LuLa-9.jpg
 
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bigb

2011 Winnebago Via 25Q on 3500 Sprinter Tucson, AZ
Thanks for all the great replies, I couldn't have asked for more! Right now we are going to see what January brings. For our first time there we might try to get a reservation with hookups. I have a feeling January & February will be as bad or worse though, if that's the case we may have to wait. Another thought is to stay in Nevada and make a day trip or two into the NM to scope it out.
 

Mr. Bills

2016 170 HR 4x4 Class B Conversion
Here is another option for a place with hook-ups on private property at the very western edge of Death Valley National Park. I do not know if the campground is operational due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, but it is easy enough to find out.

https://www.panamintsprings.com/

I stayed in the motel at Panamint Springs several years ago. Some in our group were in the campground. Interesting place. The bar had more varieties of beer than any place I've seen anywhere.
 

glasseye

Well-known member
Here is another option for a place with hook-ups on private property at the very western edge of Death Valley National Park. I do not know if the campground is operational due to the current Covid-19 restrictions, but it is easy enough to find out.

https://www.panamintsprings.com/

I stayed in the motel at Panamint Springs several years ago. Some in our group were in the campground. Interesting place. The bar had more varieties of beer than any place I've seen anywhere.
Heh. I have raised one or two in that bar myself. Panamint Valley is an impressive place all it's own.
 

bigb

2011 Winnebago Via 25Q on 3500 Sprinter Tucson, AZ
That looks like my kind of place
 

mtncrawler

Active member
Just a side note about Panamint Springs Resort. Like many businesses during this time - they are struggling. If you do decide to go, they really need the support (assuming rules allow them to be open). There is also a Go Fund Me site setup for those wanting to help out. I've stayed in their CG, used their restaurant, store, bar...etc when touring DV by motorcycle mainly. Good folks.


Another suggestion for a place near DV with hookups is the Shoshone RV Park. Another great place a little ways away from DV - but great access to the roads leading into the park (Badwater Rd (178) /Furnace Creek Wash Rd (dirt)) from the south. If you're looking for some good backcountry spots - there is a section of Furnace Creek Rd (dirt) between Hwy 178 and Hwy 127 that has some great spots/pullouts and close to Shoshone and Tecopa. Speaking of Tecopa - you'd be making a mistake NOT to visit to the China Ranch Date Farm and NOT getting a date shake. :) (Or the hot springs outside of town)


Safe travels - get out there and enjoy!
 
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sprint2freedom

2008 NCV3 170ext
China Ranch is open and serving date shakes at their walk-up window, as well as delicious cookies, muffins and bread. They're allowing 1 person inside the gift stop/store at a time. The hiking trails there are also interesting.. I didn't make it all the way to the slot canyon or waterfall but one could easily spend a half a day just exploring and eating dates.

Any RV park or campground in CA is likely to be closed due to the covid situation (although I suppose some may be defying the order). In the near term, plan to boondock or stay somewhere in NV.
 
I've stayed at furnace creek in late February.. perfect weather. chilly at night and 70-80 during peak of the day. days are still very short, but makes for a great break from the cold where I live

furnace creek spots typically 'sell out' as soon as they become available.. don't remember the exact specifics but I think they allow reservations 6 months out, so I make reservation in august for February.
 

Kajtek1

2015 3500 X long limo RV
I've been there in August and huge campground next to visitor center with plenty of hookups had only 1 campsite taken, what looked like some kind of solar system testing.
It is hard to imagine without being there, but burning 25 gallons in Death Valley won't take much. It is huge valley, so observe the fuel gauge.
Beware that coming out, you are facing going over the mountains, so you will burn a lot of fuel on short drive.
Pahrump always has cheaper fuel than Las Vegas.
 

glasseye

Well-known member
Wow. Substantial changes to the Dantes View lookout.
That would be a heck of a feat, Ziggy. Over five thousand feet elevation change, I believe.
 

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