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    Death Valley

    National Park CA,NV

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  • EXTREME SUMMER HEAT

    Expect high temperatures of 100 to 120 degrees F on your summer visit to Death Valley. Heat related illness is a real possibility. Drink plenty of water and carry extra. Avoid activity in the heat. Travel prepared to survive. Watch for signs of trouble. More »

  • Zabriskie Point Rehab Project Delayed Until Further Notice

    The popular vista site Zabriskie Point will be closed for major repairs over the 2014/2015 winter and spring seasons, but the exact date has not been determined. The site will remain open until further notice.

Backcountry Roads

backcountry road

Death Valley has more miles of roads than any other national park. Though 91% of the park's 3.4 million acres are protected in roadless wilderness areas, nearly one thousand miles of paved and dirt roads provide ample opportunities for recreation and exploration.


Road conditions can change quickly. Current road condition information is available at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center or on the Morning Report posted throughout the park.

 

Backcountry Roads Information Sheet:
A printable PDF document with general information, recommended routes, and map.

 

Stay on established roads
Driving off roads is prohibited. The desert environment is extremely fragile and slow to recover from vehicle damage. Honor road closures. If in doubt, do not drive. Operating a motor vehicle in a manner that causes unreasonable damage to the surface of a park road or route is prohibited.

Vehicles
All motorized vehicles and drivers must be properly licensed. Off-road vehicles are prohibited from operating on all park roads, paved or dirt. These types of vehicles include, but are not limited to, ATVs, dirt or motocross bikes, and golf carts, Rhino or Polaris multiple passenger vehicles. Duel sport motorcycles are allowed on paved or dirt roads as long as the vehicle is registered and street legal according to California state laws.″ Vehicles with off-road registration "green stickers" may not be operated in the park.

Bicycles
Bicycles are allowed on paved and dirt roads and the bike path near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Bikes are not allowed off roads, on trails, on closed roads, or in the wilderness areas of the park.

Wilderness
The wilderness boundary is 50 feet from the center line of most backcountry dirt roads. Only foot or horseback traffic is allowed within the park's wilderness.

Travel prepared
Things can go wrong quickly in the backcountry. Pre-trip planning could save your life. Bring basic tools, a shovel, extra water and food with you. In the higher elevations, snow and ice conditions may require tire chains. Top off your gas tank before starting a trip. Flat tires are a common problem for backcountry visitors due to rough road conditions or from having unsuitable tires. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with "off-road" tires rather than highway or street tires. Carry at least one inflated spare tire (preferably two), a can of fix-a-flat or tire plug kit, a 12-volt air-compressor, a lugwrench, and be sure all parts of your jack are on hand. Know how to use your equipment before you head out.

Bring water
Always carry extra water for you and your vehicle. In hot weather you need at least a gallon per person per day. A 5-gallon container of water is standard emergency backup. Springs and other natural water sources may be dry or contaminated. Do not depend on them.

If your vehicle breaks down
It is best to stay with your vehicle if it breaks down. On main roads, another traveler should come along sooner than you could walk for help. Leave the car's hood up and/or mark the road with a large X visible to aircraft. If you decide to walk out, stay on the main roads-do not cut cross-country. If it's hot, walk out only if you can carry sufficient water and wait until after sundown. Leave a dated note describing your plan with your vehicle. Dial 911 in case of emergencies, but remember, cell phone reception is non-existant in most areas of the park. Towing charges are high and AAA often doesn't cover tows on dirt roads.

Be a good road neighbor
Stop to help those in need. Report anyone in trouble to the nearest ranger. You may need help yourself some time.

Safety in numbers
Travel in a group of two or more 4WD vehicles in remote areas and on rough roads. If that is not possible, leave a trip plan with a reliable person that will do follow-up on your safe return.

Don't expect road signs
Most backcountry road junctions are unmarked, so carry good maps and study them in advance. Be alert for washouts and other road damage.

Know the weather forecast
Rain or snow can alter road conditions and make travel dangerous. Flashflooding is possible almost anywhere in the park, but is more likely in canyons. Do not camp in dry washes or drainages due to the possibility of a flash flood.

 

Rental Vehicles
Most vehicle rental agreements restrict vehicles to paved roads. Check your contract and be aware that the rental company can charge you for damage to the vehicle outside of the contract agreement specifications.
Be sure that your rental vehicle has a good spare tire, that the tire is accessible and not "locked" into a keyed holder, and that the tools to change the tire, including jacks and wrenches, are in the vehicle and accessible.

Farabee's Jeep Rentals now have an outlet located in Furnace Creek. These jeeps are outfitted for rugged backcountry road use.

Did You Know?

The salt stretches across the floor of Death Valley

The salt pan on the floor of Death Valley covers more than 200 square miles. It is 40 miles long and more than 5 miles wide.