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Death Valley Scenic Byway

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Death Valley National Park-

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Quick Facts
Designation: California State Scenic Highway
Designation: National Scenic Byway
Fees: There are some National Park entrance fees.
Length, One-Way: 81.5 Miles (131.2 Kilometers)
Time: 3 Hours

General Information

This scenic byway has sharp contrasts of mountain ridges and sand desert
Copyright: - California BLM
This scenic byway has sharp contrasts of mountain ridges and sand desert
Description - Death Valley National Park contains the hottest, dryest, lowest point in North America. It has 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert scenery, interesting and rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness, and sites of historical and cultural interest.

Located in one of the most remote parts of California, travelers from all over the world use Route 190 as the gateway to Death Valley. International visitors see Death Valley as part of the grand tour of California. Over 75 percent of the summer visitors in this area come from abroad. Not only does this destination attract tourists from everywhere; scientists and researchers also come to study and explore the park's unique resources.

Attractions - Death Valley Scenic Byway passes through several cities and numerous points of interest.

Darwin - Darwin, in the 1870's, was a thriving mining town. Now, however, the historical city has but a few residences, a post office, and a phone booth.

Death Valley (Furnace Creek) - Stop by Furnace Creek, the main visitors service area in the park along the byway and home to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, for great information about nearby visitor services and about the remainder of the park.

Stovepipe Wells Village - Be sure to stop here for anything you may need. This little village will be a welcome rest from a long drive through the desert.

Points of Interest:
Artist`s Drive - This fun canyon takes you through tight corners and big dips, but the highlight--Artist`s Palette--is worth the adventure.

Badwater - At 282 feet below sea level, Badwater is the lowest elevation in the United States, and one of the most popular sites in Death Valley.

Dante`s View - Aptly named, from this viewpoint, you can see the very lowest point of Death Valley all the way up to the highest--a difference of 11,329 feet.

Darwin Falls - Darwin Falls is a unique riparian (along a stream course) habitat, featuring two waterfalls and diverse plant and animal species.

Death Valley Museum and Visitor Center - Start your tour of Death at the Death Valley Museum and Visitor`s Center.

Death Valley National Park - Death Valley National Park comprises more than 3.3 million acres of spectacular desert scenery, rare desert wildlife, complex geology, undisturbed wilderness and sites of historical interest.

Devil`s Cornfield - Right along the byway, see these unusual plants called arroweed that thrive on very salty water.

Devil`s Golf Course - Take yourself all the way to the very bed of this ancient lake, leaving behind a salty treasure.

Father Crowley Point - Father Crowley Point is an observation point that provides spectacular views overlooking the Panamint Valley, Rainbow Canyon, Telescope Peak and the complex geology of the Panamint Mountain Range.

Furnace Creek Visitor Center - A must stop for all visitors to Death Valley, the Furnace Creek Visitors Center will help orient your visit.

Panamint Springs Resort - Panamint Springs is actually a small western-style resort located at the base of the Argus Mountains in the beautiful Panamint Valley. It offers lodging, dining, telephones, restrooms, camping, and fuel services.

Panamint Valley - The Panamint Valley offers expansive views across a large playa, the nearly level area at the bottom of the undrained desert basin. Views across the playa extend over 50 miles to the southern horizon.

Rainbow Canyon - Rainbow Canyon is a steep and colorful canyon that drains into the Panamint Valley.

Rhyolite Ghost Town - Once the largest town in Death Valley area during the mining boom of the early 1900`s, Rhyolite now boasts a house built completely of bottles, a train depot, jail, two story schoolhouse, and the ruins of a three story bank building.

Sand Dunes - From the middle of nothing, this amazing 14-square-mile sand dune look like frozen ocean waves.

Scotty`s Castle - Built by a man who invested in a flamboyant and ourageous character, Scotty`s Castle is a wonder to behold in the middle of the California Desert.

Skidoo Ghost Town - One of the last gold mining camps in Death Valley, Skidoo is a marvel of mining engineering that existed from 1906 to 1922.

The Borax Museum - Sheltered by the oldest house in Death Valley, the Borax Museum stands as a special resource that illustrates the history of Death Valley.

The Wildrose Charcoal Kilns - The best surviving examples of charcoal kilns in the western states, the Wildrose kilns owe their longevity to fine workmanship.

Towne Pass - Towne Pass is located at the top of the Panamint Mountain Range. Travelers descending from Towne Pass will experience expansive views over the Panamint Valley and the Argus Mountain Range.

Twenty Mule Team Canyon - Take a drive through this short canyon and notice the amazing number of old prospector tunnels.

Zabriskie Point - Check out the stark beauty of the badlands from this overlook.

Recreation - The Death Valley Scenic Byway is known for it's archeology, historical, natural, recreational and scenic attractions.

Climate - The desert region experiences typically clear days with with low precipitation and humidity.
Temperatures are most comfortable in the spring and fall, with an average high / low of 85 and 50 degrees Frespectively. Winter brings cooler days, around 60 degrees F, and freezing nights. It occasionally snows at the higher elevations. Summers are very hot, over 100 degrees F during the day and not cooling much below 75 degrees F until the early hours of the morning.

Location - Death Valley Scenic Byway, which traverses Death Valley National Park from its west entrance on Highway 190 to the east edge of the park, is one of the most unique and dynamic routes in the western United States.

From Bishop, take Hwy. 395 heading south for 45 miles to Lone Pine. Just south of Lone Pine, head east on State Route 136 until it connects with State Route 190. Drive east on Route 190 for about 50 miles to Death Valley National Park where the byway begins.

From Bakersfield, take Route 178 heading west for 81 miles to Hwy. 395. Head north on 395 for 48 miles to Olancha. Head east on Route 190 for 48 miles to Death Valley National Park where the byway begins.

From Lancaster, take Route 14 heading north for 73 miles to Hwy. 395. Head north on Hwy 395 for 41 miles to Olancha. Head east on Route 190 for 48 miles to Death Valley National Park where the byway begins.

From San Bernadino, take Route 15 heading north for 31 miles to Hwy. 395. Head north on 395 for 140 miles to Olancha. Head east on Route 190 for 48 miles to Death Valley National Park where the byway begins.

From Las Vegas, NV, take Hwy. 95 heading north for approximately 70 miles to Route 373. Head south on 373 for 16 miles into California and continue on Route 127 for 7 miles (Route 373) to Route 190 at Death Valley Junction. Head west on Route 190 for 16 miles to Death Valley National Park where the byway begins.

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Current Conditions & Trip Reports

Trip Reports:
Add your own trip Report! Newly re-released feature. One of the most popular features on Wildernet, trip reports allow you to share your experiences with others. This is an invaluable resource for determining what to expect on your outdoor adventure, so please participate! To prevent spamming, you must be a registered user of Wildernet in order to submit a trip report

Filed By: Sherry
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Death Valley is beautiful! If you have not been there, it is definitely a trip worth taking. Be prepared to do a lot of driving through this enormous park. We spent two days here and stayed at a hotel in Beatty, Nevada. It was nice and had a decent restaurant across the street. There is more information and photos on my website.

Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Scenic Driving Death Valley Scenic Byway
ICON Viewing Scenery Death Valley Scenic Byway

More Information

Additional Information:
California Scenic Byways - California offers one All American Road, two National Scenic Byways, and well over 50 state and National Forest designated scenic byways.

Scenic Byways Homepage - National Scenic Byways official web site with detailed info on all national and state byways.


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