Getting from Las Vegas to Death Valley
When it comes to the national parks near Las Vegas, most people immediately think of the Grand Canyon.Certainly the Grand Canyon is the most popular park located within a day’s drive of Sin City, but Death Valley National Park is actually the closest one. Death Valley marks the lowest place in the Western Hemisphere with the hottest temperatures in the United States. It is an impressive, sprawling dry oasis with a surprising amount of life, especially in the springtime.
Visitors from Las Vegas can make it to Death Valley and back in a day. It is approximately 120 miles from Las Vegas to Death Valley, and the drive is relatively simple and straightforward.
If you have a rental car, you can make the drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley fairly easily. To reach the park, take I-15 south out of Las Vegas toward Los Angeles. Take exit 33 to NV-160 west. Make a left on Bell Vista Avenue, which turns into Ash Meadows Road when you enter California. Turn right onto CA-127 north and left onto CA-190 west. Begin to follow signs to the park when you see them.
This drive leads visitors into the center of the park near Furnace Creek, where many of the highlights of Death Valley are clustered together. For a day trip, it makes sense to stick around the Furnace Creek area and check out the Devil’s Golf Course, Artist’s Drive, Zabriskie Point, Twenty Mule Canyon and other attractions.
If you are driving into Death Valley, it’s important to realize that some of the roads in the park require 4-wheel drive or high-clearance vehicles. Though the majority of roads are paved and easy to navigate, some of the roads leading to hiking trails are rough and should be driven with care. Make sure you fill your car up with gas when possible on the drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley because gas stations are few and far between in the desert. Finally, make sure you travel with an ample supply of water. The summer months in Death Valley can be absolutely brutal, but even in the fall, winter and spring, travelers should drink lots of water in order to stay thoroughly hydrated.
There are a few tour groups that offer day-long excursions into Death Valley from Las Vegas. Though not as plentiful as the tour offerings for Grand Canyon, there are a few companies that offer tours, particularly into the Furnace Creek area of Death Valley National Park. These tours take a full day and normally start around $200.00 per adult.
Photo credit: Stefan Mendelsohn