Are you feeling adventurous? Slather on the sunscreen and hop in the RV. It’s time to explore the wonders of nature.
East of the Sierra Nevada mountain range, Death Valley National Park lies on both sides of the California and Nevada border. While many think Death Valley means scorching temperatures, there’s more to this magnificent desert landscape.
In this guide to RV camping in Death Valley National Park, we’ll cover the best times to visit the park to enjoy its many offerings while evading the blazing weather.
Consider this your traveler’s manual for Death Valley National Park. Let’s get started!
Death Valley National Park Facts
Before you head out, get to know a little bit about the largest national park in the 48 contiguous states. This park spans over 3.4 million acres, so there’s a lot to explore. While it’s no secret that the park boasts blazing temperatures, there is more to this location that you might not expect.
Take a peek at these Death Valley National Park facts.
Death Valley is home to the lowest point in North America. Badwater Basin rests at 282 feet below sea level, and the cracked valley floor is covered in salt, creating an unusual powdery effect.
The name Death Valley came from a group of pioneers that were lost in the area in 1849. Only one of the group members died, but all the men believed they would perish in the valley. When they emerged, they dubbed the place Death Valley.
Traveling rocks move across Death Valley. Yup, you read that correctly. In a dry lakebed known as “ The Racetrack,” rocks up to 700 pounds seem to have traveled across the desert floor, leaving visible trails behind them. Researchers are still mystified by how the rocks move in this area.
The only natural habitat of the Salt Creek Pupfish is Death Valley. While many fish could not survive the temperatures, this species swims in the 93-degree water of Devils Hole. Scientists believe the fish adapted to these harsh conditions over thousands of years.
Singing dunes are another unique feature of the park. The Eureka Sand Dunes are large dunes in one of the most remote areas of the park. Travelers who climb to the top can hear what’s described as a bass note from an organ as the winds move across the sandy slopes.
We hope those fun facts widened your knowledge of this marvelous natural wonder. Now it’s time to dive into information on Death Valley National Park RV camping.
Why Go Camping in Death Valley National Park?
Death Valley is full of majestic scenery that will take your breath away. The sand dunes are expansive and unlike anything you’ve seen before. Camping in Death Valley National Park allows visitors to take in the beauty of the great outdoors. There are many campgrounds that would serve as an excellent home base for any RV traveler. Give this national park a shot — we’re sure you won’t regret it.
Best Death Valley National Park RV Parks and Campgrounds
Death Valley National Park is known for its high heat and dry climate. Fortunately, there are ways to visit the park while staying comfortable. An RV protects from the elements and the comforts of home.
Read on for details about popular campgrounds in Death Valley National Park.
Mesquite Springs Campground
Amenities: Providing close access to Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite Springs Campground is a quiet campground in the park. Visitors describe it as peaceful and less crowded than other RV campgrounds in Death Valley National Park. There are dump stations available for RVs, as well as barbecue pits and running water. Plus, pets are allowed.
Capacity: There are 30 campsites available at this campground, and it is open all year long. Mesquite Springs can accommodate RVs up to 35 feet in length.
More information: Mesquite Springs Campground
Furnace Creek Campground
Amenities: Furnace Creek Campground is a large and well-maintained campground in Death Valley. Due to the amenities available, it is a great spot to find Death Valley National Park RV sites. There are 18 RV hookups at the campground, including electrical hookups. There is also a dump station, fire pit, and campground host to ensure things run smoothly. Furnace Creek is a pet-friendly campground.
Capacity: There are 136 campsites at Furnace Creek Campground. You can schedule reservations from mid-October to mid-April. The rest of the year, camping sites are open on a first-come, first-serve basis.
More information: Furnace Creek Campground
Stovepipe Wells Campground
Amenities: If you are searching for RV parks near Death Valley National Park, consider staying at Stovepipe Wells Campground. Stovepipe Wells is a hotel and campground located half an hour from the park. It offers 14 full hookup RV sites and access to Wi-Fi.
This is not to be confused with Stovepipe Wells Village, a campground without hookups run by the National Parks Service. This campground comes with fewer amenities but has 190 spots open on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Capacity: There are 14 sites available at this campground that visitors can claim via online reservations. Stovepipe Wells is open from late fall to the spring. It is closed during the harsh summer months.
More information: Stovepipe Wells Campground
Texas Springs Campground
Amenities: Texas Springs Campground is a secluded spot with beautiful views. Located within miles of Furnace Creek Campground, it provides easy access to many popular hikes. There are water stations available, pets allowed, and ADA accessible sites.
Capacity: Texas Springs Campground has 92 campsites, which are first-come, first-serve. Like many Death Valley National Park RV campgrounds, it is closed during the summer.
More information: Texas Springs Campground
Amenities: Sunset Campground is not the most visually appealing of the Death Valley National Park RV campgrounds. But it is one of the least expensive sites to camp at and is near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Pets are allowed at this campground. There is a dump station for RVs and drinking water stations.
Capacity: Sunset Campground, like most Death Valley National Park RV campgrounds, does not offer reservations. According to the National Parks Service, Sunset Campground rarely reaches capacity in its 270 available sites, so you’ll likely be able to snag a spot.
More information: Sunset Campground
Photo Credit: Instagram User @_thentravel
Best Time To Visit Death Valley National Park for RV Camping
We’ve covered where to stay on your Death Valley trip, now let’s discuss when to visit. While the park is open all year long, there are certain times of the year that make exploring more enjoyable.
If you’re interested in visiting Death Valley but are unsure of when to plan your trip, we’ve got information that you should know.
For the best time to visit Death Valley National Park, read about each season below.
Winter is a beautiful time in Death Valley, especially for those looking to avoid snowy and chilled climates. The highs in December, January, and February fall between the mid-60s and low 70s, making for great hiking weather. At night, the valley cools off to high 30s to the mid-40s.
Photographers rejoice! The winter lighting brings out the detail in the landscape that harsh sunlight can wash out during other times of the year. Plus, clouds often stretch across the skies, lending a beautiful backdrop to photos.
Spring is the most popular season for Death Valley visitors. The weather is warm, but not unbearable. Highs in March and April range from the low 80s to the low 90s. Lows are from the mid-50s to the low 60s.
A great part of the spring season is the wildflowers that draw people to the park. While it depends on the rain levels in winter, wildflowers sometimes spring up and coat the desert floor. This display is a spectacular sight to behold as flowers of vibrant hues are in bloom.
Get ready to sweat — summer temperatures in Death Valley are extreme! There is an early start to summer in the park. Things begin to heat up in May with highs reaching 100 degrees Fahrenheit and lows in the 70s.
From there, the weather intensifies. June through September have highs in the triple digits and lows in the 80s. Temperatures can remain in the high 90s during the night.
The National Parks Service recommends no hiking after 10 AM in the summer months. Those who do visit tend to travel in vehicles and stop at highlights of the park. A limited number of campgrounds are open during the summer, but camping at lower elevations is not recommended.
Late October ushers in a welcome decrease in temperature. The heat of the summer melts into a warm and beautiful fall season. Highs in October can rise into the 90s, and lows are in the 60s.
Camping season starts in the fall with all campgrounds opening again to the public. Ranger-led programs also begin in this season. Thanksgiving weekend is a busy time at Death Valley National Park, but most fall months have relatively low traffic.
During the fall, hiking at lower elevations is possible — unlike in the summer — but it is best to complete hikes in the morning.
Things To Do In Death Valley National Park
Don’t let the name fool you. Death Valley is filled with life and adventure. From scenic hiking trails to breathtaking natural formations, you’re sure to find something that wows you. Additionally, there are events that you can attend in the park, depending on the time of year.
Here is a sampling of things to do in Death Valley National Park.
Soak in the sand dunes. Striking slopes of desert sand stretch along the horizon, covering a vast area of Death Valley National Park. The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are the most easily accessible and rise 100 feet above the floor. If you’re searching for an adrenaline rush, consider taking the longer trip to The Eureka Dunes. Here, visitors can sandboard down the sides of the dunes.
Visit Zabriskie Point. A popular viewpoint at Death Valley National Park, Zabriskie Point, offers a panoramic view of the Badlands. The distinct rock formations and an array of gullies make for an unreal desert landscape. Most visitors agree that the best time to visit the point is at sunrise.
Cast your gaze upward. Death Valley National Park offers some of the best stargazing opportunities in the country. Don’t take our word for it. The International Dark-Sky Association awarded Gold Tier status to Death Valley. The annual Death Valley Dark Sky Festival occurs in February and offers events throughout the day for astronomy enthusiasts and casual sky viewers.
Discover a desert oasis. As the desert floor gives way to greenery, a pool with a rushing waterfall soon comes into view. No, it’s not a heat-induced hallucination. Darwin Falls is located on the western edge of Death Valley National Park. The short hike is two miles roundtrip, making it an easy addition to your roster of other park activities.
Backcountry driving. Death Valley National Park features a longer stretch of roads than any other national park. There are nearly 1,000 miles of paved and dirt roads to explore by car or RV.
Self-guided Star Wars Tour. Death Valley was a filming location for both scenes for Episode IV - A New Hope and Episode VI - Return of the Jedi. Visitors can take a self-guided tour to Tatooine to relive the iconic Star Wars films.
Visit nearby attractions. Some nearby attractions worth visiting include the Amargosa Opera House, Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, Borax Museum, China Ranch Date Farm, Trona Pinnacles, and more.
As the park spans millions of acres, there’s always something to see and journey to embark on at Death Valley National Park. So, cruise on over in your RV and see the wonders with your own eyes!
Wildlife In Death Valley National Park
There is a wide range of wildlife species present in Death Valley National Park. These animals include:
Desert bighorn sheep
Little pocket mice
Desert kangaroo mice
Remember to keep your distance from the wildlife you encounter while at Death Valley camping to remain safe. Never attempt to feed any wild animals in the park.
Tips On Visiting Death Valley National Park
Every good traveler comes prepared. It's crucial to plan for an enjoyable trip with a location as extreme as Death Valley National Park. Browse these tips on visiting Death Valley National Park, so you’re ready for action.
First, make sure your vehicle is ready to roll. Car troubles and this remote location are a recipe for disaster. If you selected an RV rental for your Death Valley National Park trip, the vehicle will be in great condition for the journey ahead. Remember, gas stations are sparse around the park, so fill your tank up in preparation.
Another important tip is to be aware and alert of your surroundings while visiting the park. Flash floods can occur in the canyons and dangerous wildlife, such as snakes and wild burros, live in Death Valley National Park. Make sure to heed caution from park rangers about which areas are prone to flooding.
Of course, preparing for the weather is a wise decision. No matter what time of the year you visit the park, be sure to pack extra water, sunscreen, and nonperishable foods with you. Stay hydrated while out on the trails and avoid hiking in the summer months. The park can drop to low temperatures at night, so be sure to take warm clothing and blankets with you if the need arises.
Lastly, cell phone reception is spotty and nonexistent in many areas of the park. According to past park visitors, areas like the Furnace Creek Visitor Center have adequate reception. However, this is not the case for many campgrounds and trails in the park.
RV Rental for Death Valley National Park
We’ve covered a lot of ground from RV campgrounds in Death Valley National Park to tips on making the most of your trip and much more. The time has come for you to take the reins and embark on an unforgettable trip.
Before you go, make sure you’re traveling in the right vehicle. Enjoy the beauty of the park and protect yourself from the elements with an RV rental for Death Valley National Park.
Cruise America RVs are decked out with amenities, including a shower, refrigerator, generator, and, of course, air conditioning. Navigate Death Valley with confidence in your Cruise America RV.
Find the Cruise America RV rental location closest to you and browse the top-tier RVs in person.