Rules and Regulations

View a complete list of all National Park Service Regulations (36 CFR) that apply to Death Valley National Park.

The 2016 Superintendent's Compendium, which has specific regulations for Death Valley National Park, can be found below:


 

Superintendent's Compendium

PART 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS

PART 2: RESOURCE PROTECTION, PUBLIC USE, AND RECREATION

PART 3 BOATING AND WATER USE ACTIVITIES

PART 4 VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC SAFETY

PART 7 SPECIAL REGULATIONS

PART 1 GENERAL PROVISIONS

36 CFR §1.5 – CLOSURES AND PUBLIC USE LIMITS

(a)(1) The following visiting hours and public use limits are established for all or for the listed portions of the park, and the following closures are established for all or a portion of the park to all public use or to a certain use or activity:

Closures:

  • All government service roads and housing areas are closed to public entry except by authorized individuals. This closure is for visitor health and safety as well as facility and infrastructure security.
  • All facilities and buildings used for the collection, storage, treatment, or transmission of electricity, gas, telephone, waste disposal, and domestic water are closed to entry, access, or presence, unless accompanied by a Death Valley National Park representative or other owner. This closure is for visitor health and safety as well as facility and infrastructure security.
  • The service roads in Furnace Creek Wash and in Sunset Campground to Travertine Spring are closed to unauthorized motor vehicles.This closure is for visitor health and safety as well as facility and infrastructure security.
  • Breakfast Canyon Picnic Area and Access Road: Entry to this area is prohibited except with prior approval from the superintendent. This closure is for resource protection.
  • Copper Canyon: The area from the mouth of the canyon, following the highest ridgelines above the canyon floor, as shown in the attached map (Appendix D) is closed to the public. A permit is required to enter this area unless accompanied on a ranger led tour. This closure is for resource protection.
  • Eureka, Panamint Valley, and Ibex Sand Dune Systems are closed to sledding, sand boarding and sand skiing to protect the federally listed plant species and other sensitive endemic flora and fauna. These activities are permitted at Mesquite, Saline, and Hidden Sand Dunes. This closure is for resource protection.
  • Devil’s Hole: The areas enclosed by fence are closed to public entry, access, or presence. A permit is required to enter this area. Sensitive species shall not be disturbed.National Park Service lands that comprise the Devil’s Hole section of Death Valley National Park are closed from sunset to sunrise. Exempt from this closure is continuous travel through the Devils Hole Unit on the Nevada-maintained county road. This area is closed for resource protection and to be concurrent with existing rules on adjacent Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge lands.
  • Rock climbing is not permitted within 200 yards of archaeological or cultural resources. This restriction is for resource protection.
  • The installation of new climbing bolts is prohibited without the written approval of the superintendent; however if existing hardware is unsafe it may be replaced. This restriction is for resource protection.
  • Caves: Public presence, use, and access in all caves, as defined below, is prohibited without a valid permit authorized by the superintendent. The Federal Cave Resources Protection Act of 1988 defines the term “cave” as: Any naturally occurring void, cavity, recess, or system of interconnected passages which occurs beneath the surface of the earth or within a cliff or ledge (including any cave resource therein, but not including any vug, mine, tunnel, aqueduct, or other manmade excavation) and which is large enough to permit an individual to enter, whether or not the entrance is naturally formed or manmade. Such term shall include any natural pit, sinkhole, or other feature is an extension of the entrance. This closure is for visitor health and safety, and for resource protection.
  • Nevares Springs Area: Closed to all unauthorized persons, unless accompanied by a Death Valley National Park representative. There is a ¼ mile (1320 ft) perimeter closure around the monitoring well. This area is closed for public health and safety.
  • The Nevares Road Shooting Range is closed to all unauthorized persons.
    This area is closed for public health and safety.
  • Lower Vine Ranch: Entry to this area is prohibited including entry via the hiking trail from Scotty’s Castle to Lower Vine Ranch, except with prior approval from the superintendent and under special guided tours. This closure is for resource protection.
  • Death Valley Scotty Historic District (Scotty’s Castle): The Death Valley Scotty Historic District and Grapevine Canyon from the park boundary at the Nevada state line to Ubehebe Crater Road is administratively closed by order of the superintendent by authority granted in CFR 36 1.5. This is a temporary closure which will remain in effect until such time as the area is deemed safe and secure for the visiting public.
    North Highway (also known as Scotty’s Castle Road) which provides access to the Death Valley Scotty Historic District from the south is closed at the intersection of Ubehebe Crater Road. Bonnie Clare Road which provides access from the east is closed at the Nevada State Line. The Death Valley Scotty Historic District, Scotty’s Castle and environs, the entire built environment and grounds are closed to public entry until further notice.
    This closure also includes the entire wash in Grapevine Canyon from the intersection of Ubehebe Crater Road to the Nevada State line.
    This closure is the result of unstable conditions which occurred during an extreme flash flooding incident on October 18, 2015.
    This closure is for visitor health and safety, and for resource protection.
  • Surprise Canyon Road is closed to motor vehicles.This closure is for resource protection.
  • The Billie Mine and its access road are closed to all unauthorized persons except with prior approval of the superintendent. This closure is for visitor health and safety, and for resource protection.
  • Sigma and Boraxo Open Pit Mines are closed to all unauthorized persons.
    This closure is for visitor health, safety, and for resource protection.
  • Timbisha-Shoshone tribal cemetery near Texas Springs Campground. Exempt from this closure provision are the members of the tribe, relatives of the deceased, and escorted guests of such members and relatives.
    This closure is through an agreement with the Timbisha Shoshone for protection of an area of extreme cultural and religious significance to the tribe.

(a)(2) The following are designated areas, conditions, and restrictions on activities as established by the superintendent:

  • Unmanned Aircraft (Drones, Quadcopters, and Model Aircraft): Launching, landing, or operating an unmanned aircraft from or on lands and waters administered by the National Park Service within the boundaries of Death Valley National Park is prohibited except as approved in writing by the superintendent.
    The term “unmanned aircraft” means a device that is used or intended to be used for flight in the air without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the device, and the associated operational elements and components that are required for the pilot or system operator in command to operate or control the device (such as cameras, sensors, communication links). This term includes all types of devices that meet this definition (e.g., model airplanes, quadcopters, and drones) that are used for any purpose, including for recreation or commerce.
    These conditions have been established for visitor safety and resource protection.
  • Passenger carrying busses must shut down their engines when not underway, between October 1 and April 15, or as determined by the superintendent in areas where other cool environments are available.
    The idling of bus engines creates noise and adds unnecessary exhaust fumes to the air. It diminishes the enjoyment by visitors of the clean air and tranquility of the park. However, the superintendent recognizes the need for a readily accessible environment in which visitors may cool off after being exposed to extreme temperatures.

36 CFR §1.6 – ACTIVITIES THAT REQUIRE A PERMIT

If you would like to do business with the park or apply for a Special Use Permit call (760) 786-3241.

  • §2.5(a) Specimen collecting and research activities. Permits are subject to the requirements set forth by the National Park Service's Research Permit Reporting System and the park’s research permit coordinator. (See Section 2.5)
  • §2.10(a) Groups overnighting in wilderness, backcountry, and in non-designated group camping areas with group size exceeding 12 persons shall be required to split into smaller groups of 12 persons or fewer, and hike, camp, and eat a half-mile mile from the other group. Visitors and other park guests may request an exception to these limits from the superintendent under the terms of a special use permit.
  • §2.12(a)(2) Operating a chainsaw in developed areas, except for NPS approved projects.
  • §2.12(a)(3) Operation of any type of portable motor or engine (including generators), or device powered by a portable motor or engine in non-developed areas.
  • §2.12(a)(4) Operation of a public address system in connection with a public gathering or special event for which a permit has been issued pursuant to §2.50 or §2.51.
  • §2.13(a)(1) Debris burning on private lands is only permitted on state approved “Permitted Burn Days” in compliance with regulations of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, and the conditions of a burn permit issued by the park.
  • §2.17(a)(3) Delivery or retrieval of a person or object by parachute, helicopter, or other airborne means.
  • §2.17(c)(1) Removal of downed aircraft.
  • §2.38(a) Use, possess, store, transport explosives, blasting agents.
  • §2.38(b) Use or possess fireworks.
  • §2.50(a) Conduct a sports event, pageant, regatta, public spectator attraction, entertainment, ceremony, and similar events (Appendix A).
  • §2.51(a) Public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades, and other public expressions of views (Appendix A).
  • §2.52(a) Sale or distribution of printed matter that is not solely commercial advertising when more than 25 individuals are participating in the activity (Appendix A).
  • §2.60(b) Livestock use.
  • §2.61(a) Residing on federal lands.
  • §2.62(b) Memorialization – (Scattering ashes from human cremation).
  • §4.11(a) Exceeding designated vehicle load, weight, and size limits.
  • §5.1 Advertisements – (Display, posting, or distribution).
  • §5.2(b) Sale of intoxicants in certain park areas.
  • §5.3 Engaging in or soliciting any business (requires a permit, contract, or other written agreement with the United States, or must be pursuant to special regulations).
  • §5.5(a) Commercial filming of motion pictures, television, or other film making methods or sound tracks involving the use of professional casts, settings, or crews, other than a bona fide newsreel or news television crew.
  • §5.5 (b) Still photography of vehicles, or other articles of commerce or models for the purpose of commercial advertising or any such activity which requires a degree of management as determined by the superintendent.
  • §5.6(b) Use of commercial vehicles on park area roads including the testing of motorized vehicles. The superintendent shall issue a permit to access private lands within or adjacent to the park when access is otherwise not available.
  • §5.7 Construction of buildings, facilities, trails, roads, boat docks, paths, structures, etc.
  • §6.9(a) Operation of a solid waste disposal site.
  • §7.26(c) Mining.

Application for any permit required by this section shall be made through the superintendent of the park.

The superintendent has determined that the above activities have a high potential for impacting park resources, safety, and visitor experience. By requiring permits for these activities, the superintendent can manage these activities and mitigate negative impacts.

NOTE: Those individuals wishing to apply for a permit for any of the following activities should contact the Special Park Use Permit Office (760) 786-3241 or the research permit coordinator (760) 786-3253.

PART 2 RESOURCE PROTECTION, PUBLIC USE, AND RECREATION

36 CFR §2.1 – PRESERVATION OF NATURAL, CULTURAL, AND ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES

  • (a)(5) Walking on, climbing, entering, ascending, descending, or traversing any archaeological or cultural resource is prohibited. This includes all mine structures, features, and ruins (i.e. standing mill structures; aerial tram towers, terminals, and cables; ore bins; ore chutes; buildings; walls, gates, fencing, etc.).
  • (a)(6) Possessing, destroying, injuring, defacing, removing, digging, or disturbing a structure or its furnishing or fixtures, or other cultural or archeological resources, is prohibited. This includes all mine structures, features, and ruins (i.e. standing mill structures; aerial tram towers, terminals, and cables; ore bins; ore chutes; buildings; walls, gates, fencing, etc.).
  • (c)(1) The following fruits, nuts, berries, or seashells may be gathered by hand for personal use or consumption, in accordance with the noted size, quantity, collection sites, and/or use or consumption restrictions:
  • pine nuts
  • mesquite beans
  • grapes
  • fruits of non-native plants (such as palms, apples, figs, black walnuts, and pomegranates).
  • (c)(2) The fruits, nuts, and berries listed above may be gathered for personal consumption in quantities of less than one quart per person per day and no more than five total quarts per calendar year;

It has been determined that the gathering or consumption of these items in these quantities will not adversely affect park wildlife, the reproduction potential of any plant species, or otherwise adversely affect park resources. If future monitoring indicates that such gathering or consumption is likely to cause adverse affects to park resources, then the authorization of this consumptive use will be terminated

NOTE: Use of these items for any purpose other than personal consumption is prohibited.

36 CFR §2.2 – WILDLIFE PROTECTION

  • (d) The transporting of lawfully taken wildlife through the park is permitted under the following conditions and procedures:
    • The carcass must be tagged in accordance with state fish and game law.
    • Game must be kept out of sight as much as practicable.
    • When, from adjacent land, the only practical means of egress is on a road through Death Valley National Park, and, when the hunter makes one continuous trip to the nearest or most practical exit from the park.
    • When, from non-adjacent lands, the shortest and most practical means of travel to the hunter’s residence is on roads through the park.
    • When a resident of the park transports lawfully taken wildlife in one continuous trip to their residence.

These conditions are intended to promote resource protection while accommodating an activity legally conducted outside the park.

NOTE: Title 16 United States Code §62 specifically provides that mere possession of dead animals or animal parts within a national park constitutes prima facie evidence that said animal was taken illegally within the park. The responsibility to prove that the animal was taken outside of the park rests, therefore, with the hunter.

  • (e) Viewing wildlife with artificial lights: Prohibited on Death Valley National Park lands, unless permitted by the superintendent as an allowable condition of a research permit, for park education programs, or for resource management activities. This prohibition includes all light producing sources, such as infrared and black lights. This prohibition is for resource protection.

36 CFR §2.4 – WEAPONS, TRAPS, AND NETS

  • (d)(4) Persons may transport weapons, traps, or nets through the park without a permit in order to gain access to otherwise inaccessible lands or waters contiguous to the park when other means of access are otherwise impractical or impossible. Such weapons, traps, and nets will be rendered inoperable, packed, cased, or stored in such a manner that will prevent their ready use.
  • (h) A person may possess, carry, and transport concealed, loaded, and operable firearms within a national park area in accordance with the laws of the state except as otherwise prohibited by applicable federal law.

These conditions are intended to promote resource protection while accommodating an activity legally conducted outside the park.

NOTE: Title 18 USC §930(a) prohibits the possession of firearms in federal facilities

36 CFR§ 2.5 – RESEARCH SPECIMENS

  • (a) Taking biological specimens (plants, fish, and wildlife) rocks or minerals except in accordance with other regulations of this chapter or pursuant to the terms and conditions of a specimen collection permit is prohibited. (Refer to Part I for Collection Permits)

The superintendent has determined that specimen collection or utilization of biological, paleontological, and geological specimens is to be limited. Collection of these resources may affect park wildlife, the reproduction of plant and animal species, or other park resources. However, the superintendent may issue a permit authorizing the collection of plants, fish, wildlife, rocks, mineral, archeological resources, or other specimens when the request for a permit is accompanied by a written formal research proposal, and when the superintendent determines that the research project is consistent with National Park Service and park-specific policies.

NOTE: Those individuals wishing to apply for a permit for any activities covered in the section should contact the research permit coordinator (760) 786-3253.

36 CFR §2.10 – CAMPING and FOOD STORAGE

Definitions:

  • Camping:” The erecting of a tent or shelter of natural or synthetic material, preparing a sleeping bag or other bedding material for use, parking of a motor vehicle, motor home, or trailer for the apparent purpose of overnight occupancy.” (36 CFR §1.4)
  • Non-designated Camping:” Camping in or near a vehicle in an area open to public use and for the use of overnight camping and, where a vehicle is parked just beyond the driving surface on a dirt road.

(a) The sites and areas listed below have been designated for camping activities as noted. A permit system has been established for certain campgrounds and camping activities. Conditions for camping and camping activities are in effect as noted:

  • Group size limits:
    • In designated campgrounds, group size limitations on the number of vehicles and the number of persons per campsite, or campground are as posted. If group size limits are not posted, the limit is 2 vehicles or 4 motorcycles or one recreational vehicle and 8 people per designated campsite.
    • In non-designated campgrounds, group size is limited to 12 persons and no more than 4 vehicles, and/or 8 pack animals, and/or 4 vehicles. Groups larger than 12 must split up into smaller groups and must camp, hike, and eat at least a half-mile apart. Larger groups may request an exception to these limits from the superintendent under the terms of a special use permit.
    • The Furnace Creek Campground group reservation sites shall permit between 9 and 40 persons. The maximum numbers of vehicles that can be parked at each group site is 10. No recreational vehicles (trailers, motor homes, or pop-ups) shall be parked at the site. These sites are available through a reservation system during busy times of the year.

Camping is an intensive use of park resources. Limitations on the number of persons per site seek to reduce impacts to individual campsites and reduce negative impacts to adjacent campers while still providing an equitable allocation of camping opportunities.

  • Designated Camping” is permitted only in the following areas:
    • 1) Campgrounds:
      • Emigrant
      • Eureka Sand Dunes
      • Furnace Creek
      • Homestake Dry Camp
      • Mahogany Flat
      • Mesquite Springs
      • Stovepipe Wells
      • Sunset
      • Texas Spring
      • Texas Spring Administrative Site (by permit of the superintendent)
      • Thorndike
      • Warm Springs (Saline Valley)
      • Wildrose

The above locations are developed, designated campgrounds with various amenities.

  • “Non-Designated Camping” is permitted only in the following areas:
2) Backcountry Cabins
  • Backcountry cabins may be used for overnight camping or day-use subject to the following conditions:
  1. Cabins are not to be locked.
  2. Human waste must be packed out or disposed of at least 400 feet from a cabin, unless a toilet is present.
  3. Cabins are to be used on a first-come, first-served basis, and for short-term occupancy not to exceed seven days, with the exception of Butte Valley and Warm Springs, which is three days.
  4. All cabin maintenance will be performed only with written approval from the superintendent.
  5. Fires in backcountry cabins are not permitted. Fires outside of cabins must be in NPS provided metal fire grates.

The primary concern with the use of backcountry cabins is that historic structures and cultural landscapes not be destroyed by fire and/or vandalism or be subject to modifications that will alter their historical character or physical integrity. The park recognizes that the general public has used many of these cabins for years and feels a certain sense of ownership. It is the superintendent’s goal to work towards a partnership with the public in the preservation, maintenance, and interpretation of Death Valley’s backcountry cabins.

3) Wilderness/Backcountry: Camping in the wilderness or backcountry is permitted greater than one mile from the nearest paved road, developed area, or dirt roads that are closed to camping, provided that the camp is at least 100 feet from a flowing stream, spring, or other natural body of open water, and is not otherwise closed to camping.

These conditions are intended to reduce the visual impact of camping on other park users as well as impacts on sensitive park resources.

  • 4) Roadside Camping: is prohibited on all paved roads within the limits of the national park boundary. Undesignated or roadside camping is allowed in previously disturbed areas along open dirt roads, provided that the camp is at least one mile from the nearest paved road, developed area, or dirt roads that are closed to camping. Camping is prohibited within 100 feet from a flowing stream, spring, or other natural body of open water, and areas otherwise closed to camping.

These conditions are intended to reduce the visual impact of camping on other park users as well as impacts on sensitive park resources.

  • Areas excluded from all camping:

Except in designated campgrounds, camping in the following areas is prohibited:

  • Certain dirt roads:Titus Canyon Road, West Side Road, Wildrose Road, Skidoo Mine Road, Aguereberry Point Road, Mosaic Canyon Road, Cottonwood Canyon Road (first 8 miles), Grotto Canyon Road, Keane Wonder Mine Road, Racetrack Road (from Teakettle Junction to Homestake Dry Camp), Natural Bridge Canyon, Desolation Canyon, Pinon Mesa Road, and the 22 mile section of the Big Pine / Death Valley Road that is within the park’s boundary.
  • Within one mile of certain mining areas: Lost Burro Mine, Ubehebe Lead Mine, Leadfield Mines, Keane Wonder Mill, and Skidoo Mill
  • Within one mile of all standing mining structures.
  • The floor of Death Valley, from the Ashford Mill to two miles north of Stovepipe Wells.
  • The active, shifting sand areas of Eureka Dunes.
  • Within one mile of Greenwater Canyon.

These conditions are intended to reduce the visual impact of camping on other park users as well as impacts on sensitive park resources. Many closures are also for visitor safety.

  • Other camping rules and regulations:
    • Camping is limited to no more than 14 days per calendar year in the Furnace Creek Campground and no more than 30 days per calendar year for the rest of Death Valley National Park.

This limitation is to ensure the equitable use and availability of campsites while discouraging the illegal residing on park lands.

  • In each campsite or campground, sites may be restricted to organized groups, recreational vehicles, length of vehicles, or tents. Between October 15th and the last day of the 49ers Encampment motor homes and other recreational vehicles are allowed in all campsites in the Texas Springs Campground.

This exception is to accommodate a distinct and predictable change in user patterns.

  • Operating electrical generating equipment is limited to the hours between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm in all campgrounds, except Sunset Campground which is limited to the hours between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm, and Texas Springs Campground, where the use of electrical generating equipment is prohibited. (Electrical generating equipment is defined as a motor or engine capable of producing electrical energy).

These restrictions are intended to accommodate various user groups while providing a peaceful sleeping environment for all campers.

  • Holding or reserving a campsite in any designated campground for another party is prohibited. Sites may not be paid for by those who do not intend to occupy the site immediately. Sites must be occupied with a camp unit (tent, trailer, or other sleeping unit) and by persons using the area for overnight sleep purposes. Sites may not be unattended for more than 24 hours.

This prohibition is intended to ensure the fair and equitable use and availability of campsites.

  • Maximum limit of four pets per campsite in all designated campgrounds in the park.

Consistent with public health and safety, protection of natural resources, and avoidance of conflict among visitor use activities, pets must be restricted. Pets are not considered compatible with the broad park goal of minimal resource impact or inherently suitable for adapting quickly to a strange environment often involving close association with strange persons and animals. It is recognized that pets are a common possession of park visitors, and provisions are made for them where they do not jeopardize basic park values.

  • Campground use fees shall be paid within 30 minutes of arrival.

This requirement is intended to ensure the fair and equitable use and availability of campsites while facilitating the efficient management and administration of campgrounds.

  • Check out time for all campgrounds is 12:00 noon.

This requirement is intended to ensure the fair and equitable use and availability of campsites while facilitating the efficient management and administration of campgrounds.

  • Up to eight people may visit the registered campers in a designated campsite. Between the hours of 10:00 pm and 7:00 am, no more than eight people may occupy a campsite.

This limitation is intended to reduce impacts to individual campsites and reduce negative impacts to adjacent campers while providing for reasonable social activities within the campground.

Camping is an intensive use of park resources. All of the camping regulations are in effect to protect the natural and cultural resources of the park and the recreational enjoyment by other visitors. Limitations on the number of camping days, person per site, and pack animals per party seek to achieve this protection while still providing an equitable allocation of camping opportunities.

  • (d) Food storage:
    • The superintendent may designate all or a portion of the park where food, lawfully taken fish or wildlife, garbage, and equipment used to cook or store food must be kept sealed in a vehicle, or in a camping unit that is constructed of solid, non-pliable material, or as otherwise designated. This restriction does not apply to food that is being transported, consumed, or prepared for consumption.
    • All unattended food, garbage, cooking equipment, or similar scented items must be sealed in a vehicle or a solid, non-pliable, animal-resistant container.

Animals that feed on human food can become reliant on it and be less adapted to the natural conditions of Death Valley National Park. Frequently fed animals can become a nuisance and cause litter to be strewn about campsites and picnic areas.

36 CFR 2.13 – FIRES

  • (a)(1) The lighting or maintaining of fires is generally prohibited, except as provided for in the following designated areas or receptacles, and under the conditions noted:
    • Campfires are permitted only in NPS provided fire grates or grills. These fire enclosures may be found in campgrounds, picnic areas, backcountry roadside campsites, or outside of roadside campgrounds.
    • The construction of fire rings is specifically prohibited.
    • All firewood must be brought into the park. No gathering, cutting, or scavenging of firewood or kindling is permitted in the park from any source.
    • Debris burning is not permitted in the park by the public.
    • At the Sunset Campground all ash producing fires are prohibited, except those in the Group Designated Fire Ring.
    • In all designated campgrounds, natural gas or white gas produced fires are permitted in appropriately designed units wherein the flow of gas can be controlled and instantaneously discontinued.
    • Debris burning on private lands within the park is only permitted on state approved “Permitted Burn Days,” in compliance with regulations of the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District, and under the conditions of a burn permit issued by the park.

Most of Death Valley is not classified as a high fire danger environment. The use of ground fires, however, requires aggressive management due to the high probability of windblown hot coals or ash igniting combustible materials such as tents, awnings, and vehicles. Allowing open fires only in existing fire enclosures, grills, or fire grates that have been provided by the park helps to control human-caused fires. Restricting fires also serves to inhibit the illegal collection of sparse native vegetation materials and wood from signs and historic structures.
Persons desiring to use portable grills do not compromise park management concerns when procedures for disposal of ashes/coals are followed. Campfire restrictions do not apply to the use of gas or petrochemical cooking or heating stoves or to lanterns and the use of those devices which are easily extinguishable, and pose a minimal threat to the resource.

  • (c) High fire danger closures will be in effect as noted:
    • Wildrose, Thorndike, and Mahogany Flats Campgrounds shall be closed to campfires between June 15th and September 15th or during other periods of high fire danger.

The superintendent has determined that the areas around the above campgrounds are extremely susceptible to wildland fire due to heavy fuel concentrations and low fuel moisture during the identified time. This restriction is intended to ensure visitor safety as well as resource protection.

36 CFR §2.15 – PETS

  • (a)(1) Pets are prohibited greater than 50 feet from roads or developed areas within the park unless permitted under special regulation. Pets are prohibited on trails and from entering wilderness areas.

Pets pose a danger to wildlife and natural resources.

  • (a)(3) Leaving a pet unattended in a vehicle under heat conditions that pose a significant risk to the health of a pet is prohibited. The superintendent may impound or take custody of pets that are endangered in these heat conditions.

The superintendent has determined that conditions may exist where the act of leaving a pet in a vehicle during hot weather may pose a significant risk to the health of a pet.

  • (a)(5) Pet excrement must be disposed in accordance with the following conditions:
    • Pet feces in campgrounds, campsites, lawns, walkways, access roads, and around public buildings must be disposed in a trash bin by the person responsible for the pet.

Since pets are usually concentrated in the campgrounds and developed areas of Death Valley, excrement must be removed to prevent health hazards to people and to lessen negative impact on wildlife from potential disease transmission.

36 CFR §2.16 – HORSES and PACK ANIMALS

  • (a) The following animals are designated as pack animals:
    • Horses, mules, burros, llamas, and alpacas may be used as “pack animals”. No other species may be used for purposes of transporting equipment.

The superintendent has identified these animals as pack animals per authority granted under 36 CFR §1.4.

  • (b) The following trails and areas are specifically closed to horses and pack animals:
    • Devil’s Hole Unit of DVNP, Badwater Boardwalk & Trail, Darwin Falls Trail, Eureka Sand Dunes, Mesquite Flat Dunes, Ibex Dunes, Golden Canyon Trail, Harmony Borax Works, The Racetrack, Mosaic Canyon Trail, Salt Creek Trail, Telescope Peak Trail, Ubehebe Crater Trail, Zabriskie Point Trail, Trail to Scotty’s Grave, all campgrounds and picnic areas, all lawn areas and all areas closed to public use

These closures are for resource protection and visitor safety.

  • (g) Other conditions established by the superintendent concerning the use of horses or pack animals:
    • Non-commercial use of horses and pack animals are permitted on dirt roads, Wildrose and Ubehebe Peak Trails, and on Indian Pass Canyon, Fall Canyon, and Cottonwood / Marble Trail Systems. Non-commercial use is also permitted in wilderness, backcountry, and on designated horse trails in the Furnace Creek area. Use is prohibited on paved bike paths, all other trails, and areas otherwise closed to stock use.
    • All feed must be brought into the park. Weed-free feed is required and must be fed to pack animals three days prior to entering the park. Free ranging or grazing is not permitted.
    • Horses and pack animal camps must be at least 100 yards from a flowing stream, spring, or other body of open water.
    • All manure shall be removed or spread over a large area.
    • Up to 12 persons and 8 horses or pack animals are allowed per group. Larger groups may request an exception to these limits from the superintendent under the terms of a special use permit.

The recreational use of horses and pack animals is well established in the park. However, restrictions on animal type, watering, numbers, and locations for stock use are necessary to: 1) protect the soil, vegetation, and water quality from unacceptable damage, 2) protect public health concerns, 3) prevent the introduction of exotic species, and 4) avoid conflict among visitor use activities.

36 CFR §2.17 – AIRCRAFT and AIR DELIVERY

  • (a)(1) The use of aircraft on lands or waters within the park other than at locations designated by special regulations is prohibited. Death Valley’s special regulations at 36 CFR 7.26(e) authorizes the use of aircraft only at the following locations:
    • Death Valley Airport, latitude N 36°27’50”, longitude W 116°52’50”, commonly known as the Furnace Creek Airport.
  • Stovepipe Wells Airport, latitude N 36°36’15”, longitude W 117°09’30”.
  • The Saline Valley Warm Springs Airfield, latitude N 36° 48.41”, longitude W 117° 46.90”, commonly known as the Chicken Strip, is open pending special regulation.

The landing of aircraft at locations other than those listed above, such as for wildlife research, is permitted only under conditions of a permit issued by the superintendent.
Aircraft have a significant potential for impacting park resources and human safety. By requiring permits for these activities, the superintendent can manage these activities and mitigate negative impacts.

  • (a)(3) Delivering or retrieving a person or object by parachute, helicopter, ultra-lights, or other airborne means is prohibited except in emergency, or pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

Air delivery has a significant potential for impacting park resources and human safety. By requiring permits for these activities, the superintendent can manage these activities and mitigate negative impacts.

  • (c)(1) The removal of a downed aircraft, components, or parts thereof is allowed, subject to written authorizations from the superintendent, under the following terms and conditions:
    • A permit is required for the removal of any downed aircraft.

The removal of downed aircraft requires careful planning in order to limit further damage to natural and cultural resources and wilderness character. Aircraft, especially military aircraft, may contain numerous hazardous materials including explosive devices.

NOTE: Subsection (c)(1); authorizes the superintendent to establish procedures for the removal of an aircraft; establish a timeframe for the removal; determine times and means of access to the site; and specify the manner or method of removal. The intent of this section is to allow superintendent control over the recovery of downed aircraft through a permitting process [48 FR 30268, June 30, 1983].

36 CFR §2.19 – WINTER ACTIVITIES

  • (a) Park roads and/or parking areas open to motor vehicle traffic may be used for skiing, snowshoeing, ice skating, innertubing, tobogganing, and similar winter activities under the conditions noted:
    • Skiing, snowshoeing, sledding, tobogganing, and similar non-motorized winter sports are permitted anywhere, and on roads impassable to motor vehicles and closed due to snow.

The superintendent has determined that these activities pose no significant threat to resources.

  • Sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and similar activities are not permitted on the Eureka, Panamint Valley, and Ibex Sand Dune Systems for the protection of plant species. These activities are permitted at Mesquite, Saline, and Hidden Sand Dunes.

This closure is for resource protection.

36 CFR §2.20 – SKATING, SKATEBOARDS, and SIMILAR DEVICES

  • The use of roller-skates, skateboards, roller skis, coasting vehicles, or similar devices are allowed in the following areas:
    • The use of roller skates, in-line skates, skateboards, and similar non-motorized devices is permitted only on the bikeway in the Furnace Creek area.

Roller skates, roller skis, and other such devices may create a hazardous condition when used on the same roadways as vehicles, sidewalks traveled by pedestrians, or on sand dunes when other visitors are present. They also cause damage to natural resources when used off pavement or other hard surface. For these reasons, specific areas have been designated for their use where they will conflict minimally with other user groups.

36 CFR §2.21 – SMOKING

  • (a) The following portions of the park, or all or portions of buildings, structures, or facilities are closed to smoking:
    • All government buildings and historic structures, including all restrooms.
  • The Salt Creek and Badwater Boardwalks.
  • All government owned, rented, or leased vehicles.
  • Within 25 feet of the entrance to a public building.
  • Within 50 feet of gasoline pumps and flammable material storage areas.
  • All cabins, structures, and ruins found in non-developed areas.

Certain areas are restricted to protect public health and to protect structures from fire danger or smoke. This prohibition is consistent with federal and state law.

36 CFR §2.22 – PROPERTY

  • (a)(2) The following describes areas where property may be left unattended for periods longer than 24 hours and the conditions under which property may be left:
    • A vehicle may be left unattended for more than 24 hours in an area other than a developed campground, when the driver is on a camping trip and intends to return to the vehicle immediately after the trip.

The superintendent has determined that this is a reasonable condition with negligible negative impacts which also allows for visitor safety and wellbeing.

  • (b)(1) Impoundment of property:
  • Any motor vehicle that is immobile because it is not capable of moving under its own power due to mechanical malfunction; or any vehicle which is inoperable because it cannot be operated legally on public roads because it is unlicensed or unregistered, may be impounded by the superintendent when it has been left unattended for 24 hours.

Abandoned vehicles, apparently abandoned vehicles, and inoperable vehicles cause a shortage of parking spaces, create an eyesore, and may interfere with access to a building during an emergency, such as fire.

NOTE: The provisions stated above are the only conditions under which persons may leave a vehicle unattended in excess of 24 hours. Otherwise, property may be impounded according to the procedures stated in 36 CFR 2.22(b) and (c).

  • “Geo-caching” is prohibited within the park.

Physical articles left at a geo-cache site will be considered abandoned property. Alterations to sites for the purposes of geo-caching will be considered vandalism.

36 CFR §2.23 – RECREATION FEES

  • (b) Recreation fees, in accordance with 36 CFR Part 71, are established for the following entrance fee areas, and/or for the use of the following specialized sites, facilities, equipment, or services, or for participation in the following group activity, recreation events, or specialized recreation uses:
    • Entrance Fee Areas: Death Valley National Park has congressionally mandated entrance fees, group activity, recreation event, and other specialized recreational use fees.
  • As per 71.13(b)(d) no entrance fee will be charged for travel on Highway 190 by private noncommercial or commercial vehicles when used as a means of travel between places when either or both are outside the Designated Entrance Fee Area.
  • As per 71.13(c) no entrance fee will be charged for travel on Highway 190 by private noncommercial to any land in which such person has property right if such land is within the Designated Entrance Fee Area.

This requirement is consistent with all applicable federal laws.

36 CFR §2.35 – ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES and CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES

  • (a)(3)(i)(A) The following public use areas, portions of public use areas, and/or public facilities within the park are closed to consumption of alcoholic beverages, and/or to the possession of a bottle, can, or other receptacle containing an alcoholic beverage that is open, or has been opened, or whose seal has been broken, or the contents of which have been partially removed:
    • Consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited inside public buildings, except in portions thereof where alcoholic beverages are served by the drink under contract or permit from the superintendent and/or from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.

This prohibition is consistent with all applicable federal and state laws.

36 CFR §2.50 and §5.5 – SPECIAL EVENTS AND COMMERCIAL PHOTOGRAPHY

  • Permits are required for any special event utilizing park areas. Special events are defined as sports events, pageants, regattas, public spectator attractions, entertainment, ceremonies, and similar events (including non-profit or charitable organizations).
  • A written application for a permit must be submitted to the superintendent at least 30 days prior to the date desired for the event.
  • Consideration will be given only to those activities that contribute to visitor understanding of the significance of the park area or where there is a meaningful association between the park area and the event.
  • The following limitations are set for non-commercial day-use groups along backcountry roads:
    • No more than 20 motorcycles and 4 support vehicles per group; no more than 12 vehicles per 4-wheel drive group; no more than 25 bicycles and 4 support vehicles per group; and no more than 8 horses or pack animals and 4 support vehicles per group.
  • The following limitations are set for commercial guided backcountry road tours:
    • Motor Vehicle Tours:
      • Motor vehicle tours of 4 to 12 vehicles are restricted to one guided backcountry road tour per location per day and no more than two guided backcountry road tours per location per week. Motor vehicle tours not exceeding three vehicles are not restricted in the number of guided backcountry road tours per location.
    • Motorcycle Tours:
      • Motorcycle tours of 6 to 20 motorcycles are restricted to one guided backcountry road tour per location per day and no more than two guided backcountry road tours per location per week. Motorcycle tours not exceeding five motorcycles are not restricted in the number of guided backcountry road tours per location.
  • The following limitations are set for commercial and non-commercial overnight groups along backcountry roads that are open to camping:
    • No more than 12 people and 4 support vehicles for motorcycle and bicycle groups; and no more than 12 people, 8 horses or pack animals, and 4 vehicles for stock groups. Each of these activities is limited to one event per location per day and no more than two events per location per week.
  • Day-use commercial hiking and photography tours are limited to 12 people and 4 support vehicles per group. No more than one commercial day-use group per day is permitted in Mosaic Canyon, Natural Bridge Canyon, and Sidewinder Canyon.
  • Commercial and non-commercial bicycle sporting events are not permitted on dirt roads.
  • Commercial-guided climbing, canyoneering, and stock animal groups are not permitted in wilderness.
  • Commercial overnight backpacking / hiking groups are limited to 12 people per group with no more than one commercial group per day in Cottonwood / Marble Canyons and Indian Pass Canyon. Non-profit commercial overnight backpacking / hiking groups are limited to 12 people per group with no more than one commercial group per day in Cottonwood / Marble Canyons and Indian Pass Canyon. Educational groups (as defined in the Death Valley Wilderness and Backcountry Stewardship Plan) are limited to 30 people per group in designated wilderness.
  • The overnight “historic wagon train event” is limited to one event per year and is permitted only on backcountry roads. No more than 50 horses / stock animals, no more than 15 wagons, and no more than three support vehicles are permitted for this event.
  • The overnight “historic wagon train event” is limited to one event per year and is permitted only on backcountry roads. No more than 50 horses / stock animals, no more than 15 wagons, and no more than three support vehicles are permitted for this event.
  • The overnight “historic equestrian event” is limited to one event per year and is permitted only on backcountry roads. No more than 50 horses / stock animals and 18 vehicles are permitted for this event.
  • The use of explosives or pyrotechnics in special events or in filming operations is prohibited.
  • NPS monitors are required for all special events and filming operations at Scotty’s Castle, and may be required for any permitted filming event in the park. Filming in the interior of any historic building will only be permitted for documentary films or news/travel programs and will require an NPS monitor.
  • Special use permits for activities on CA State Route 190, CA State Route 178, or beginning and/or ending outside Death Valley are conditional upon approval from all other involved jurisdictions.
  • A permit, and group size limitations, are required to control special events in the park that may damage park resources or conflict with the overall safety and enjoyment of the park by park visitors.
  • A permit is required for any commercial photography, as defined in section 1.6, and under NPS Director’s Order 53.
  • Persons or organizations engaged in commercial photography, motion pictures, or video production must complete an application for a permit and return it to the parks Office of Special Park Uses at 760-786-3241.
  • The permit will specify whether a surety bond is required prior to the commercial operation occurring.

The superintendent has determined that the issuance of a commercial photography permit is contingent on adequate protection of park resources, avoidance of unreasonable interference with public access to the park, and actions consistent with all applicable laws.

36 CFR 2.51 – PUBLIC ASSEMBLIES, MEETINGS

  • Permits are required for any public assemblies, meetings, gatherings, demonstrations, parades, and other public expressions of opinions with more than 25 participants within the park. Approved locations are designated below, and a map is available for inspection in the superintendent’s office.
  • Written applications for permits must be submitted to the superintendent at least 72 hours prior to the date desired for the event. The activity must not conflict with any scheduled NPS function or program.
  • The designated areas for these activities are:
    • Furnace Creek – the front of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
    • Furnace Creek – the area immediately west of California State Route 190, across from the entrance to Furnace Creek Ranch, approximately 260 feet by 110 feet.
    • Scotty’s Castle – the area immediately to the east of the unfinished swimming pool, but not interfering with the use of facilities or visitor services.
    • Grapevine Ranger Station – the southern one-half of the parking area in front of the ranger station, but not interfering with the use of the restrooms or telephone.
    • Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station – a portion of the unpaved parking lot east of the ranger station. This area is north of California State Route 190 and will be barricaded by the NPS for such use.
    • Stovepipe Wells Village – the area between the general store buildings, east to California State Route 190 within the fenced area, excluding the store walkways.

A permit is necessary to control public assemblies and meetings in the park that may damage park resources or conflict with the overall safety and enjoyment of the park by the majority of park visitors, while allowing for First Amendment rights.

36 CFR 2.52 – SALE OR DISTRIBUTION OF PRINTED MATTER

  • Permits for sale or distribution of printed matter will be limited to areas designated under 36 CFR 2.51.
  • Written application for such a permit must be submitted to the superintendent at least 10 days prior to the commencement of the activity.
  • This requirement does not apply to groups of 25 or fewer individuals.

NOTE: The permit is similar to the permit issued for public assemblies and meetings. A map is always included. The cited CFR subsection 2.52, Sale or Distribution of Printed Matter is also included with the permit request.

A permit is necessary to control sale or distribution of printed matter since such activities may conflict with the overall safety of visitors and employees, the right of park visitors to have free and unencumbered passage throughout park facilities, the right of park visitors to enjoy park values without non-value related intrusions, and basic operational needs.

36 CFR §2.60 – LIVESTOCK USE AND AGRICULTURE

  • Absent a permit, the running-at-large, herding, driving across, allowing on, pasturing, or grazing of livestock of any kind in a park area for agricultural purposes is prohibited. Additionally, a permit can only be issued in the following circumstances:
  • (a)(1) As specifically authorized by federal statutory law;
  • (a)(3) As designated, when conducted as a necessary and integral part of a recreational activity or required in order to maintain a historic scene.

This condition is for resource protection.

NOTE: The term “livestock” means a domesticated animal that is personal property kept for commercial purposes. [48 FR 30273, June 30, 1983] Sample designation pursuant to §2.60(a) (3):

36 CFR §2.61 – RESIDING ON FEDERAL LAND

  • Absent a permit, lease, or contract, residing in park areas is prohibited.

This prohibition is consistent with 36 CFR §2.61(a).

36 CFR §2.62 – MEMORIALIZATION

  • (b) A permit is required for the scattering of ashes from cremated human remains in Death Valley National Park, and/or according to the following terms and conditions:
    • The remains to be scattered must have been cremated and pulverized.
    • The scattering of remains by persons on the ground is to be performed at least 100 yards from any trail, road, developed facility, or body of water.
    • The scattering of remains from the air is to be performed at a minimum altitude of 2000 feet above the ground.
    • No scattering of remains from the air is to be performed over developed areas, facilities, or bodies of water.
    • Except for authorization to disperse human remains by scattering, nothing in the permit shall be construed as authorizing an entry or activity otherwise prohibited or restricted by law or regulation.

These conditions are established for resource protection and human health and safety.

PART 3 BOATING AND WATER USE ACTIVITIES

36 CFR §3.21 – SWIMMING AND BATHING

  • (a)(1) The following areas are closed to swimming and bathing or subject to conditions established by the superintendent:
    • Saratoga Springs
      • The Saratoga Springs and pools are closed to all swimming, bathing, and boating.

This closure is in effect for resource protection.

  • Saline Valley Warm Springs
    • The “source” pools at Saline Warm Springs, including Palm Spring and the lower source pool are closed to bathing.
    • The introduction of human bodily waste into the waters of Saline Hot Springs is prohibited.
    • In Saline Hot Springs, children who have not been “potty-trained” or who are younger than four years old are required to wear waterproof swimming diapers.
    • In Saline Hot Springs, birthing or attempting to give birth in the waters is specifically prohibited.
    • Dogs and other domestic pets are not permitted within 50 feet of the pools and/or springs.
    • Persons afflicted with an infectious disease, suffering from a cough, cold, or sores, or wearing bandages shall not use the pools and/or springs.


The above restrictions are in effect to protect the habitat of aquatic species or sensitive species and to provide for public health and safety.

  • Warm Springs Swimming Pool
    • The swimming pool at the Warm Spring Camp is closed to swimming, bathing, and boating.

The above closure is in effect to provide for public health and safety.

  • Darwin Falls
    • Darwin Falls and pools are closed to swimming, bathing, and boating.

The above closure is in effect to provide for public health and safety.

PART 4 VEHICLES AND TRAFFIC SAFETY

36 CFR §4.2 – STATE LAW APPLICABLE

  • (b) Violating a provision of the state law is prohibited.
  • Off-Highway Vehicles (OHV) are prohibited from operating inside Death Valley National Park. California Vehicle Code (CVC §38000, 38.010, 38115) states that OHVs are “operated exclusively off the highways on lands that are open and accessible to the public”. Nevada Vehicle Code similarly states that OHVs are prohibited from operating on highways. All park roads, regardless of surface conditions, are classified as highways for the purpose of the California Vehicle Code, including Division 16.5 sections 38000 et al., which only permits California “street legal” vehicles to be operated on highways.
  • OHVs are defined by Executive Order Number 11644 (37 FR 2887) and include vehicles identified under California Vehicle Code Sections 38012 (a) through (b)(3), which define OHVs as: “Motor vehicle commonly referred to as a sand buggy, dune buggy, all-terrain vehicle (ATV), jeep, trail bike, or go-cart.”

36 CFR §4.10 – TRAVEL ON PARK ROADS AND ROUTES

  • (a) Operating a motor vehicle is prohibited except on park roads, parking areas, and on routes and in areas designated for off road travel.
  • (b) Off road travel “routes and areas may only be designated in national recreation areas, national seashores, national lakeshores and preserves”. Death Valley National Park has no designated off road routes or areas.

The above restriction is in effect to protect the habitat of aquatic species or sensitive species and to provide for public health and safety.

36 CFR §4.11 – VEHICLE LOAD, WEIGHT, AND SIZE LIMITS

  • (a) The following load, weight, and size limits, which are more restrictive than state law, apply to the roads indicated under the terms and conditions, and/or under permit as noted:
  • On the following roads, travel is closed to vehicles in excess of 9 feet wide or 25 feet in total length (combined length including towed vehicles or trailers),
    • Emigrant Canyon Road, from California State Route 190 to Mahogany Flat Campground
    • Lower Wildrose Road, from park boundary to intersection of Emigrant Canyon Road
    • Dantes View Road
    • Artists Drive
    • Twenty Mule Team Canyon (Recommended)

These restrictions provide for the safety of other passenger vehicles along narrow road corridors, and are due to lack of adequate space for turn-around of extended length vehicles, and vehicle/trailer combinations.

36 CFR §4.21 – SPEED LIMITS

  • (a) The following speed limits are established for the routes/roads indicated:
    • The maximum speed limit on paved park roads is 35 mph unless otherwise posted.
    • The maximum speed limit on dirt roads is 25 mph unless otherwise posted.
    • The maximum speed limit in all campgrounds is 15 mph unless otherwise posted.

Variations from the speed limit designations in the general regulations have been made where road conditions allow either a higher speed without jeopardizing public safety, or require a lower speed limit for public safety and to prevent road deterioration.

36 CFR §4.30 – BICYCLES

  • (a) Bicycle use is permitted on park roads, parking areas, and on the following designated routes:
    • Bicycles are permitted only on roads open to public vehicular traffic, or on those routes designated in developed areas and special use zones for bicycle use in the official park brochure.
    • Bicycles are allowed on the path between the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and Harmony Borax Works.
    • Bicycles, whether ridden or walked, are prohibited on all trails or off the roadway.
    • Except when passing, bicycles must ride single file on paved roads.

These restrictions are in effect for public safety and resource protection.

36 CFR §4.31 – HITCHHIKING

  • Hitchhiking is permitted in the following areas under the terms and conditions noted:
    • Hitchhiking, or the soliciting of transportation, is allowed anywhere in the park as long as the person is off the paved roadway on the shoulder, and visitor safety and traffic flow are not adversely affected.
    • Hitchhiking is commonly engaged in by persons who have been hiking and need transportation back to their starting point, or by persons, often from foreign countries, who are traveling without a personal vehicle.

PART 7 SPECIAL REGULATIONS

36 CFR §7.26 MINING IN DEATH VALLEY

  • Permit applications for any permit required in this section shall be made through the superintendent.

The superintendent has determined that mining has a high potential for impacting park resources, safety, and visitor experience. By requiring a permit for this activity, the superintendent can manage the activity and mitigate negative impacts.

36 CFR Part 8 Labor Standards – Employees of Concessionaires to the NPS
36 CFR Part 9 Minerals Management
36 CFR Part 10 Disposal of Certain Wild Animals
36 CFR Part 11 Use of Arrowhead and Parkscape Symbols
36 CFR Part 14 Rights-Of-Way
36 CFR Part 17 Conveyance of Freehold & Lease Interests on NPS Land
36 CFR Part 18 Leases and Exchanges of Historic Property
36 CFR Part 51 Concession Contracts
36 CFR Part 71 Recreation Fees

ATTACHMENTS:
a. 1st Amendment Rights Site Maps (Available upon request)
b. Fee Demonstration Regulations and Rates (Available upon request)
c. Campground Maps (Available upon request)
d. Copper Canyon Closure Map (Available upon request)
e. Keane Wonder Mine Closure Map (Available upon request)

Last updated: March 25, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 579
Death Valley, CA 92328

Phone:

(760) 786-3200

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