The following is my creation - if you have corrections or updates, please get to me @

Janet Westbrook, Professor of Biology, emeritus,  Naturalist;    updated 1/29/15

1/28 rained again (yeah!), snow on Telescope down to about 9000 ft.  Should make for good flowers!!  Roads OK.

Titus Canyon....High-clearance 4x4 required; deeply rutted with washouts due to flood damage. Titus Canyon will be closed for repair starting February 2nd. The road is scheduled to reopen by February 10th.

South Pass....4x4 high clearance due to deep mud.

Contained herein are TONS of useful information about DV that is not in NPS brochures; -  just nuts and bolts of how to get yourself to this amazing place, stay somewhere, and see lots of magnificent desert!! This is NOT an official DV NPS page - it's just maintained by the little ole webmistress for the Maturango Museum, 100 E. Las Flores Ave, in Ridgecrest, CA...(Ridgecrest is two valleys west of Death Valley. I’ve been going to DVNP for well over 50 yrs...).

The Bottom of Death Valley is only 2 hrs. from Ridgecrest and our Museum.

To make things a bit easier, I’ve broken my huge long page into special pages - see the chart here?  Those are hot links (as are the titles at the top of the page).  Should make hunting easier?

4 pages of photos- Winter, flowers, pretty places, 20 Mule Team; enjoy!

WINTER, finally....  Much cooler up higher!   Even though it’s not all that hot, the sun is still wicked, so don’t go anywhere without water and shade (hat). People die.

***MONSOONS are back = flash floods!!  It can SNOW now on Townes Pass!! 

Zabriske Point project in effect, CLOSED until end of April, at least.  Sorry!  Hike Golden Canyon.
all access to Zabriskie Point and surrounding area will be closed for major rehabilitation work to repair unstable support walls and improve conditions.”

Don’t feed the begging coyotes.  They eat rabbits, not people food!!  Take only photos!!

SNOW!!   Yup, Nov through May,   Can you get to Death Valley without getting into snow?  Sure- from the EAST side - Take Hwy 127 north from Baker, go to DV via Shoshone/Badwater road, or Death Valley Junction to Furnace creek, or Scotty’s Junction to Scotty’s Castle.

No snow issues getting there from Las Vegas, only from the west side - Hwy 395, and only occasionally.

Telescope Pk has had snow already and soon it won’t be melting off....

Sierra passes CLOSED DUE TO SNOW!

New rule in CA - must allow 3 feet between your vehicle and bicycles!!.   If you drive an RV, that’s tricky!! 

Barren? no! Just sand? nope!! Awesome? definitely! BIG. No, HUGE!! Trees? not many. Snakes? yup. Is it safe?? yup, if you're careful - see below. Anything to see? nah...just a bunch of colored rocks, sand, other stuff- and sometimes snow and water and lakes!  Rain? - comes in bunches when it comes!

Gas much cheaper at Stovepipe than at FC or PS!  PS has been running $5.99+/gal.

Sierra Passes are CLOSED for the winter - 4, 108, 120.  Check back about May.... 

The "official" government page on Death Valley is at . Do check it out - they have lots of good info and photos that you won't find here- look under History and Science. This page has other kinds of info, and I try to keep it updated...   Visiter Center Summer Hours 9a.m. to 6 p.m.

the MORNING REPORT!!! doesn't get posted until at least 9 a.m., but it's there!  Please note temperatures!  Please check road conditions!!  Call them if you have questions or can’t get the report!  Please also check out the new Even better- Death Valley has made a Facebook Page which they and others update.  Best resource for current road conditions!!  See
see also map

as of  1/20/15 See “Road Info” pages here for more details and longer list. 

***Monsoons have been hitting different areas in the park for a month.  Roads close, open - hard to keep track.  Important that you DO keep track.  Important that you be VERY CAREFUL when storms come - they’re serious this summer!!
Big Pine/DV road OPEN  -watch for dips and rocks; no gas for 135 miles!  probably muddy in places.

Cottonwood Canyon - graded to the top of the fan; 4x4 beyond that- not so good.  great hike to see petroglyphs

Dante’s View - OPEN
Emigrant Canyon OPEN to Charcoal Kilns - snow at Mahogany.   

Hunter Mountain road down to Hidden Valley - OPEN, but snow, mud, slick - 4x4 for sure!  Ice near the spring.
Keane Wonder Mine road - closed till they get all the arsnic out

Panamint Valley Road -OPEN!!   but the 1.7 miles of gravel by Indian Ranch Road actually pretty good now, ie 40 mph.

Racetrack Road - OPEN, but very very washboardy near Teakettle Junction.  That road EATS tires - be careful! Not for “city” tires.  Be sure your vehicle has a “real” spare, not a donut.  Clearance not an issue - it’s sharp rocks and washboard.

Saline Valley -both passes have new snow and mud.     4x4 and clearance best, not sure it’s still a Subaru road? ... be sure you have clearance and GOOD tires.

Saline - Warm Springs (AKA Bat) Road - ie  park road up to the springs - not toooo bad now, easy at the dips, is rocky.

Scotty’s Castle Road - road all fixed and nice,  but gets debris every rainstorm.
Steel Pass - very difficult-always 4x4!    severe flash floods wiped out several sections of road, made a huge mess!!  Doable, but hard to find the 2 parts of the trail that washed out.  One north of Steel, the entire river bed south of the pass;

Dedecker Canyon (north side of Steel pass) always 4x4 and high clearance and narrow wheel base at the steps- they’re OK, but you’ll need a spotter.   See Saline Valley web page for latest!

Titus Canyon OPEN have high clearance and good tires, 4x4 might be best until the red clay dries out...
West Side Road - OPEN but suffered Monsoon damage, may have standing water

Wildrose Road (lower) - Closed, seriously washed out; gonna be a while before Inyo Co can repair. $$$$  Don’t!!
Darwin Falls Trail -very rough! the Visitor Guide Fall-Winter is full of current great info!  Lots of suggestions on places to go, current info.  Great map in center.  Download this guide, stick it on your portable device, get one in the visitor center!

Note:  If you pay your entrance fee $20 at one of the ‘iron rangers”, the park does not get much of that $$.  Better to give it to a real ranger either at Stovepipe or Furnace Creek - then the park gets to keep all the fee to use for projects.

Campgrounds now OPEN , reservations required at Furnace Creek CG

Gas - yikes!! Always cheaper at Stovepipe, but only 87 octane, 24/7 with credit cards;   Chevron at Furnace Creek has diesel and all 3 grades 24/7 w/ credit cards. The T-Stop is now Valero in Trona, and there is now a Shell Station in Trona, but - Fill up in Ridgecrest!

Pilots - there no longer is any AVgas at the DV airport.    Diesel only at Furnace Creek and sometimes at Panamint Springs.

  Secretary of the Interior Julie announced that the National Park Service will waive admission fees & encouraged all Americans to make a New Years resolution to visit a national park this year.   Dates for 2014; - To encourage Americans to explore America's natural beauty, rich history and culture, the National Park Service will waive admission fees on 17 days in 2014. In addition, the Bureau of Land Management, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the U.S. Forest Service will waive their entrance and standard amenity fees on some of those days too.

The main Visitor Center  had an "extreme makeover"!  Note vast changes in the parking lot, like SHADE on top of which will be solar panels. Better restrooms. Updated Auditorium. Larger lobby.  It’s really nice! Brand new exhibits - very different from the old ones- go see.  The Furnace Creek Visitor Center is the primary visitor contact facility in Death Valley National Park.  The park is providing its full range of services including answering and assisting visitors with their questions and park planning needs, issuing backcountry permits, issuing park passes, and selling books and other educational materials through the Death Valley Natural History Association. The park is providing a full range of ranger conducted activities throughout the winter and spring. Showing is a new orientation video, well done!. In the big bookstore there is a row of chairs along the window all with free wifi. Books, maps, and info are available at the little Station just east of Stovepipe Wells (when the flag is up), and at Scotty's Castle.

New - Virtual Museum - see   Cool stuff on Scotty’s castle - B&W photos, construction stuff, people, and a video of the castle organ;  also scenery, artifacts, etc.  Fun page to play with! 

FYI - fees at Scotty’s Castle did go up unless you have an America the Beautiful Annual Pass - in which case they went down.  Get a pass and go visit LOTS of parks!!  Remember to order your tour tickets on-line now!  Saves long waits at the Castle, not that it’s all bad wandering those lovely grounds!

"Stimulus Funds" and your Entrance Fees are making a difference!! All the main roads have been repaved, Scotty's road is a delight now (up to the intersection), new stuff at Ubehebe and Father Crowley Overlook (a new bathroom!!), new mileage signs, new directional signs. Yeah!! Your $$ at work.

And - a group from NASA was in the park summer 2010 studying the rocks at the Racetrack. Pretty interesting stuff at fun to read city kid's opinions of our favorite desert. Data needs analyzing before they have any notion of just why the rocks move, but they have sensors imbedded in the Race Track Playa, and are able to do experiments on Bonnie Clare lakebed (outside park, landing strip for Scotty's Castle).

Take water, drink it!, wear hat while hiking during the day - air is very, very dry! -

CELL PHONE SERVICE now working at the Ranch - ATT only right now.   Up to 5 miles (maybe) from the tower at the Ranch.   Verizon works in Trona, but not ATT.   Free WiFi at the Visitor Center DVNHA store (when it’s up)  Xantera properties have WiFi in the rooms.   NO cell coverage in most of the Valley - not at Stovepipe, not at DV Junction...

Stovepipe wells has a new concessionaire - a family-owned company, Death Valley Lodging co. Same phone number, same operation mostly - they have done major upgrades to the rooms, both amenities and decor, and the store- completely redone.  Gas available 24/7 with credit cards, and price is now posted in a large sign.  Always cheaper here.  NOte:  no cell service or WiFi at Stovepipe!  enjoy quietness....
There is no concessionaire at all at Scotty's Castle now, so no grill -but there are sandwiches, snacks; alas, no gas.

Dark skies - yes, those are stars up there, and planets, and galaxies, and nebula that you can see with your naked eye! BUT - gotta get away from the glow of Las Vegas to the SE. Suggestions: Panamint Valley. If you're staying at Stovepipe, you should be able to just walk away from the new lower lights, or drive out toward the sand dunes or up toward Emigrant. If you're at the Furnace Creek zoo, head on down toward Badwater, maybe as far as Artist's Drive turnoffs and park there, or go out into the middle of the valley at Devil's Golf Course; that'll get you out away from the mountains with a good shot at the sky. Or up toward Dante's view road, but watch the glow problem. Mesquite Campground is wonderful. That amazing shot from the Racetrack was taken in the fall when the skies are clear and the playa dry, and it was a long time exposure...but indeed, that's a wonderful place to find Dark Skies. Have fun!  See the new dark sky exhibit in the VC!

Watch the clouds - Telescope is no place to get caught when there's a storm! Watch the weather report!! Head down if you see a storm coming - and you CAN see storms coming!! Keep eyes on the sky. Carry jackets, flashlights, food, water, etc. when you come here no matter what time of year.  Lightning is an issue, as is hail - don’t do it if there’s a storm coming. Folks die!  Telescope is now a lovely summer hike, as long as there aren’t any clouds. It can be deadly.

GPS MAPS ARE NOT RELIABLE ON BACKCOUNTRY ROADS IN DV!! Be sensible! Don't get stuck. If it looks bad, turn around while you still can. It'll be there when you come back. If you aren’t getting where you think you should be, turn around!!!! Don’t rely on GPS maps to get you out of trouble - they’re NOT accurate!!   DON'T CROSS RUNNING WATER!! DON'T GET STUCK IN SNOW!!!! road or trail. It's bigger than you are! If you get stuck, STAY WITH YOUR VEHICLE!! It's fairly easy to spot a vehicle from the air, but almost impossible to spot a person. Tell someone, anyone, where you are going and when you expect to be back - !!

Thunderstorms and snow and hail definitely happening.. Watch the sky. Just cuz it's not raining where you are, doesn't mean water isn't going to run downhill TO where you are.... don't camp in a wash, don't be hiking in a canyon in the afternoon, don't cross water when it runs across the road or your trail. Moving water is a powerful thing- more than you or your vehicle can handle! How do you think those canyons and huge alluvial fans got there!! It’s been windy - VERY windy sometimes....

The sand dune parking lot- Gets you closer to the dunes, but makes it harder to get good sunset shots from the road level. It’s farther than it looks to the high dunes, like about an hour hike one way - take water, even in winter, don’t get lost!  You can’t see your cars when you get into the dunes! Folks have died here every year!....

Area Code 760 has been given an "overlay", making it necessary to dial the 760 area code even if you're calling DV from a 760 area code. You now need to dial all 11 numbers - 1-760-whatever, even when calling between numbers in the park. Sigh. Except 911 - just dial 911...

Web Cam - from Visitor center looking west toward mountains -

On-line reservations!  You can reserve a room in any of the 4 hotels/motels on line - see their websites.  You can reserve campsites at Furnace Creek (required Oct 15-April 15), see camping info.  You can even reserve spaces on the Scotty’s Castle Tours - all 3 kinds of them, at See Scotty’s Castle Page for info.  Lots of info in the Park Newspaper.

Park Entrance Fees are $20 per vehicle and about to rise to $30!. The Park gets to keep the fees IF you pay a real ranger (Iron Ranger fees do not all go to the park, a lot to the concessionare) . Makes the $80 Annual "America the Beautiful" Pass still a real deal and not going up!- get at Visitor Centers. Note that the Senior, Disabled, and Volunteer passes have changed - they are now plastic, and all are called "American the Beautiful" passes.

Remember this is a deep valley. Cell phone reception is limited/non-existent (which means "On Star" doesn't work either) except near the Furnace Creek Ranch. But not in the rest of the park - at all. However, folks have dialed 911 from strange places and it seems to connect. ?? Satellite phones work wonderfully well, of course - lots of sky.
TV reception: Ya gotta be kidding! NOPE, unless you have a satellite dish, or stay indoors.
GPS (from satellites) works wonderfully well - no trees, no clouds- BUT the maps most have are not good, so don’t rely on it for road info.  Marking your location to get back to the car works great, but don’t trust road info!!

SPOT things work if not in a canyon. :-)

How about Bicycles?? or Dogs??

Bicycles can now be rented at the Furnace Creek General Store!  And they do guided tours.
Street bikes can, of course, ride on the paved roads - BUT - there is no shoulder to speak of in most places on the main road through the park. It's risky - you'll get hit by RV mirrors! Traffic on Hwy 190 is constant. At least most of it has been repaved, but still - NO shoulder. Scotty's Castle road repaving done and lovely, but skinny shoulder, if at all. The road down to Badwater is a little bit better- has sort of a shoulder having just been widened down to Badwater, but not beyond. RIDE SINGLE FILE ALWAYS!!   **New - You can rent bikes at Furnace Creek Ranch!  24 speed mountain bikes, many sizes, $10/hr, $34/1/2 day.   ** NEW LAW    Vehicles must remain 3 ft. away from anyone on a bicycle on the road!

MOUNTAIN BIKES - Ah ha, yes, you can ride on any of the dirt roads (but not trails) - see for ideas. Much better idea - not as much traffic at all on these. Plenty of challenges with soft sand and washboards - definitely not for skinny tire bikes... No bikes (or dogs) of any kind on trails or in the Wilderness.

Dogs are allowed in campgrounds but always on a leash - and remember that coyotes regularly patrol the campgrounds day and night looking for dinner, little furry dinner. Several little dogs have disappeared... Dogs are NOT allowed on trails at all. You could walk him on a leash along the roads, but yikes. They're really not allowed much of anywhere - sorry! Not in motel rooms either. Not a good idea to leave pooch in the car while you go hiking - gets way too hot even in winter. Greenhouse is greenhouse. In other words, DV is not really "dog friendly". Sorry.... best to leave him home...True in ALL National Parks...not pet friendly at all. :-(    Has to do with both protecting the wildlife and your dog- too many quick and foxy critters hunt day and night for furry dinners.  (coyotes, eagles, all manner of carnivores in all parks)

Check here for a list of Museums, Information Centers, and Chamber of Commerce folk in the areas mentioned - address, phone, web page, and e-mail contacts. Gee, you can surf the web forever!! :-)

The area code for Death Valley numbers is 760 and for nearby Nevada numbers is 775.
The Park's number is 760 786-3200 Yes, it's now automated- but you can talk to a real person if you hit “0” during "regular business hours". Emergency Help is always 911.

By all means DO check the Park daily weather and road report here, or by phone before you go anywhere!! and you can talk to a REAL person at 760 786-3200 (touch 0) 8 a.m.-4ish weekdays. There is no one at the Com Center on weekends.

Entrance Fees are $20 per car. Pay at Stovepipe, Grapevine, or Visitor Center, or at any one of the "Iron Ranger" machines in several locations. Get a America the Beautiful Pass, ($80) good for ALL National Parks and Monuments, USFS, BLM, etc.. Get it on-line, or at the Park where DV gets to keep a good portion of the $$.

Visitor Center at Furnace Creek is open 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m. Books, maps, other great stuff for sale. Ranger to answer your questions. Great displays will be back by june. Pay your Entrance Fees here- to a real person.  There are "fee machines" at other locations in the park too(but the park doesn’t get to keep all the $$, better to pay a real ranger)  - no excuses now!

Ranger Programs- see Visitor Guide.

Concessionaire Xanterra news, golf stuff, Inn info, booking rooms, the works - etc. Summer Hours now  Click here.

Worship Services
Catholic Mass - 1st and 3rd Sundays, 6:15 at FC Ranch Education Building
Christian Ministries in the National Parks; Sundays 9 a.m. at Stovepipe Wells, 10:45 a.m. at the Date grove, FC.

The daily weather/road report posted at all ranger stations. Check!!!! Call!! (760) 786-3200 Especially as thunderstorms change things so fast!!

The Maturango Museum is your source for Death Valley info in Ridgecrest!

Looking for something to do on your way to Death Valley? check out

of things to see in the Ridgecrest area west of DV, and of course, visit our Maturango Museum .

**Great book with pretty pictures, super useful info: "A Traveler's Guide to Death Valley National Park" by Cliff Lawson. Maps, pictures, directions, and short blurb on all the popular 2-wheel drive attractions in Death Valley region. Well done.
" Death Valley and the Northern Mojave" Tweed, Davis, Cachuma Press - overview of popular spots to visit in both DV and Ridgecrest areas of desert. Maps, great photos!
"Hiking Death Valley" by Michel Digonnet; great mining history, great maps and a complete list of hikes available
Get both of these are more, of course, at the Maturango Museum 100 E. Las Flores Ave, in Ridgecrest!! Open every day (except major holidays), 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. We're right on the main drag (China Lake Blvd.), sort of in the middle of town. 760 375-6900 We sure can answer a bunch of your DV questions and we have their Newspaper Guide and books, videos, etc.

MOVIES!! Our wonderful photographer Mark Pahuta has been busy with his digital camera and has made QuickTime movies of our art shows and the insides of the Museum. They're big files, but download them and open with QuickTime, place the cursor to one side or the other and the panorama will start to move around. Use the + and - buttons on the player to zoom in and out. These are way cool high tech stuff that your 'puter does so well!!

Our Natural History Display area and Children's Corner , the exhibit part of our Museum. (file size 400K)
Our fantastic Museum Store, Gift Shop. Unique stuff, lots of petroglyph stuff. (file size 964K)
The current art show is on our art web page, and other great stuff...

Got questions that need a real live person's opinion? - after reading all this?? :-)

Little ole Webmistress Janet can answer some questions if you don't find it here somewhere. I live in Ridgecrest, 2 hrs and 2 valleys west of DV, but I can see Telescope Peak from my computer.
Try various Chat Boards to see if there are any current road reports:
Death Valley Talk

Annual Events

  1. 1.Death Valley 49ers Encampment at Furnace Creek and The Inn. (and the entire valley floor), usually second weekend in November, the link has the schedule of events.  

  2. 2.Holiday Festivities at Furnace Creek December 22-31.

  3. 3.Webpage from Xanterra Resort folk with lots of Annual Events, golf things, special packages, summer rates, etc.

  4. 4.Furnace Creek Invitational Golf  Tournament - January
    see above web page for other golf things

If you only have one day from Ridgecrest or Las Vegas

Death Valley is HUGE. There is so much to see! You'll have to pick and choose and remember that sights are very far apart in this desert! Good luck!! Come back when you have more time... but even a one day trip is enough to give you an idea of the immensity and grandeur of this desert! Be sure to stop at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. It's 2.5 hrs. from Ridgecrest to the Visitor Center, and 2.3 hours from Las Vegas. Start early, stay late!! (and come back!!)  Note:  The road through Trona and Panamint Valley, Wildrose, et al is washed out.  You have to go up to Hwy 190  at Olancha and across via Darwin and Panamint Springs- adds about an hour. 

If you have at least 2 days...

Start at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and get maps and information about the sites and then choose. You might do things in the north end of the valley one day and in the south end of the valley another. Remember that Scotty's Castle tours are given on the hour and are limited to only 19 people on each tour, so if you want to see the castle, you will have to devote the better part of a day to that adventure, but now you can reserve tour times on-line!  It's well worth it!!

Good luck!! Plan to come back again and again! This amazing place is always different and there are millions of acres to explore!!


Other stuff

 Mountain Bikes: are allowed on all paved and open dirt roads and the bike path near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center - goes from there to the campground and to Harmony Borax Works. Bikes of any kind are not allowed off roads, on trails, or in the wilderness areas or on CLOSED roads. Titus works on a Mountain Bike.

Horseback: Horse use is allowed except in developed campgrounds or paved roads; not on Telescope Peak trail. Take your own water and feed.  There are a few horses at the stables for guided rides. 

Campfires are prohibited, except in fire pits in developed campgrounds. Gathering wood is not permitted, (heck, there isn't any! ) and burning of wood, either dead or alive, is not allowed in the backcountry. Use a camping stove.

Pack out all garbage - don't bury it. It's too dry here for anything to decay. DO bury human waste at least 6 inches deep or more.

Don't even think about feeding the cute coyotes and kit foxes and kangaroo rats that will wander up and look at you with sorrowful eyes. It's prohibited and it's definitely not good for the animals. They have plenty of natural foods! Goes also for ravens and roadrunners. Don't feed the wildlife!!! Several pesky coyotes have had to be shot because they just wouldn't stay away from people because they learned that people feed cute critters. Don't cause the death of these wonderful animals. Shoo them away!! And keep your pets INSIDE AT NIGHT! Keep an eye on your pet even during the daytime - Coyotes don’t have watches and are out at all  hours. Coyotes prowl the campgrounds and RV's looking for a furry dinner or food left out of any kind. (NOT people- they don’t eat people!!).

Pets are permitted in developed areas and on park roads. They must be leashed and restrained at all times. Pets are not allowed off roads, on trails, or in the wilderness areas of the Park. Be a friend to your pet and leave him home - he can't go with you most places, and you can’t leave him in the car, it will get too hot! If you put him outside, Coyotes will eat him. Think about it...

Weapons are allowed, but WHY bring them? You can't use them in the Park. This includes firearms, air guns, bow and arrow, slingshots. There is NO hunting, season or not, in this Park.

Private Property - there is quite a bit within the park boundaries. If you see a sign, respect it! There are patent mining claims in the park which are private.

This is a National Park. You may examine but NOT remove any historic artifact, rock, plant, or animal. The use of metal detectors is NOT allowed. Leave the stuff for others to enjoy!!

Water - some of it is salty, some of it is fresh. Suspect girardia and don't drink any water that you haven't treated unless it comes gushing out of a spring in the rocks- and there ARE many springs! Carry enough water when you hike. There are about 300 springs in the park - it's far from a dry barren place, but it's also a big park and springs are hidden in canyons usually. Don't count on there being water - springs come and go. Birds, big horn sheep, burros, and all the other critters depend upon these springs... that's why you aren't supposed to camp near them. Share, and be considerate.

Wildlife. LOTS of it! Though most animals are active at night in the summer. (no wonder!) Many hibernate or migrate away in the winter. Take an evening walk on the sand dunes! You'll hear coyotes howl around Furnace Creek and Stovepipe. They won't bother you IF you don't try to feed them! People are not on their list of things to eat, just fingers. Coyotes are everywhere, especially around the campgrounds. Their favorite food, easier to catch than bunnies, are little dogs tied by RV's. Keep your pets INSIDE at all times! Coyotes are active day and night and they hear little yipping from far away!!
Spiders - yup- Tarantulas are all over, but in the fall - October- the males migrate looking for 'the girls' one last time before winter hibernation. If you see one, watch it, wonder, but don't disturb him...they won't hurt you!

Birds all over the place, but especially around springs, of course. LOTS of birds - and they are mostly diurnal. Owls in the trees at the Ranch. (The ONLY trees are at the ranch!- more or less) Great birding on the golf course! Wild horses- no. Wild burros - well... aren't supposed to be - they keep trying to round them up because they aren't native and they cause enormous damage around the springs, but... you'll still see droppings in more remote areas.

Snakes? Of course, they live here! Will they bother you? - not if you don't bother them. They hibernate when it gets cold at night (like below 45). They hate heat, so in the summer they come out at night. If it's nice weather for humans, it's nice weather for snakes. Poisonous snakes in DV are FAT with big head, nonpoisonous snakes are skinny, skinny head. Plenty of both.

Earthquakes. Interesting topic. How do you think Death Valley got here!! It's a huge down-drop valley with huge faults on both sides. Little faults all over the place. Volcanic rocks indicate faults and the stuff is everywhere! Will there be one when you're here? Probably not- at least not a big one. BUT - the quakes and aftershocks near Joshua Tree/Landers/Baker are sometimes felt here. No problem - it's a good ride! No rocks come tumbling down or anything like that, usually. There aren't many buildings, and they're all low - no problems there. There's nothing much here to hurt! Enjoy the ride!

Flash Floods - yes. !! Any time of year when it decides to dump in one spot for even 5 minutes can make a flood of water dash downhill.  Are you downhill from that big black cloud?  Get OUT of the wash.  Is water crossing your road? Wait for it to go down - running water can carry enormous loads - like vehicles - with it.  Don’t do it.  Sorta like running into a train....

Want a 4x4 experience?  See Backcountry Road info page; rent a Farabee Jeep!  Go on a Pink Jeep tour.


To continue: does anyone live there? yup - Rangers, Concessionaire people, and their families. All year most of um! Does anyone die there? Yup, sometimes. The 49ers (who named the valley) didn't, but their animals did. A few miners did. A few tourists who think they can hike without water do. But it's not necessary any more. Just be careful!!

The desert is awesome - all of it. (all of them, around the world! each is unique) And it isn't all "SAND". This park is particularly awesome - that's why it was made a Monument in 1933 and a park in 1994. Your first thoughts are "barren - ugh" - but take a close look. The only places where there are NO plants are out on the dry lake playas and on the tops of the sand dunes. There are plants everywhere else, even if they're little and not very green most of the year. Where there are plants, there are animals, though they hide when the weather isn't nice (which is a lot!- too hot, too cold, too windy) There are even some animals out on those playas! Check the sand dunes in the morning and see who had parties last night - lizards, mice, bugs! Then take a BIG look. Where else can you see so much geology all in one place!! Death Valley is over 11,300 feet deep at Badwater. Panamint Valley is 9000 feet deep. Saline Valley is 9000 feet deep. WOW! Visit the sand dunes in Eureka Valley - they're the tallest in California. Don't let the name scare you. Let it teach you a lesson about deserts. It's awesome.

Active Death Valley Chat Board great place to find out road conditions on the remote roads, ask questions of frequent visitors who know the park.

Note: I try to keep the data correct. The explanations herein are entirely my opinions. If you have suggestions for things to update or add, or want to ask a question, please e-mail to

Maintained by Janet Westbrook

See Maturango Museum Home Page Have you seen our Museum Home Page? We're a small but mighty fine Natural History Museum in beautiful downtown Ridgecrest, CA. Open daily 10 a.m.- 5 p.m.; lots of books for sale, lots of Tourist info, great displays. Check us out!!! 100 E. Las Flores Ave, Ridgecrest, CA 93555 (760) 375-6900
You gotta come past us on your way from Los Angeles to Death Valley anyway, and you can detour to visit us if you're not exactly headed that way - maybe you should be?? :-)

Other Internet Information:  This is not to endorse the info, just stuff I found Googling around....

The following are other sites on the World Wide Web which feature information about Death Valley. These links do not provide access back to this page or to the Maturango Museum Home page, but you can get back to us using the "back" command in most web browsers.

Death Valley Natural History Association pages - News of DV events, Scoty's Castle organ concerts, etc. etc. Check often!!

Lots of you may be interested in a trip to Cerro Gordo, a private in-tact mining town up above Owens Lake, scene of incredible silver and lead mining, some still active. Road best in 4x4 (darn steep and rocky),  The website says the town is CLOSED to visitors at this time;  might open in summer, but it’s snowy and cold up there.  see web page! 760-876-5030

A comprehensive page about Fossils in Death Valley, Also links to Fossils in Red Rock Canyon State Park. Great geology stuff, nice photos of all things fossil, and lots of DV photos. a huge reference source!

Parks Geology neat stuff about DV geology, lots of pictures, etc.

A whole page full of amazing links from the folks at Mono Lake Committee

Tons of info about all sorts of places to visit from Sierra Web folk
Driving Hwy 395? Here's tons of info about the towns, sights, etc.  See also my Hwy 395 info on the Museum’s page.

Panamint Springs Resort, over in Panamint Valley, west of Death Valley proper, but in the Park, has a neat home page with lots of suggestions on things to go see;

Desert USA is an on-line magazine with tourist into about parks and neat places to see and do in CA, AZ, CO, NV, NM, TX, UT! Check out their Death Valley info page Lots of nice stuff, info, pictures, maps

Exploring in an RV, and it'll do for the rest of us too. Great links to other National Parks, Monuments, National Forests in the U.S. RVn 4 Fun

Have your own rig but need a guide to DV backcountry? or want to hike - here's a commercial way to do that -

Death Valley National Park home page through GORP is good, links to other parks and lots of interesting places

keep hitting that "search" button!!

All comments entirely mine.... send updates and mail to Janet Westbrook
updated as posted


Death Valley National Park

Janet’s Tourist Information