We were excited to explore Death Valley National Park, a vast area covering over three million acres of designated wilderness.  The park is a haven for explorers, offering a network of backcountry roads and countless sights to discover. In this episode of Off the Beaten Path but Not Lost, we provide a comprehensive guide to this remarkable destination, from the iconic Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and Badwater Basin to Dante's View and the famous Star Wars filming locations. 

Listen to the podcast

Hey adventurers! 🚐 

Did this episode spark some wanderlust, or did it remind you of one of your own off-the-beaten-path stories? If you felt that campfire friendship while listening, we would be super grateful if you’d take a moment to pop over to Apple Podcasts. Please leave us a rating, maybe say hi in the review section, and don’t forget to subscribe. It’s like giving a friendly nod to a fellow RVer on the open road.

Do you have a hidden gem of a location you think we should explore next? Or maybe a practical tip for full-time RV living? Leave us a message—this journey is all the richer when shared with the community.

🏞️ Safe travels, and see you down the road!

APPLE PODCASTS PODBEAN | SPOTIFY | IHEART RADIO PANDORA | TUNEIN | Plus, almost all podcasting apps. Let us know if you can't find us on your app.

Understanding Wilderness Protection

The idea of “wilderness,” as defined in the Wilderness Act of 1964, involves managing land to maintain its natural state with minimal human impact. This concept emerged due to concerns over the rapid depletion of natural resources. Today, more than 112 million acres of wilderness are protected across 44 states, accounting for about 5% of the nation's land area. 

Geology and Climate of Death Valley

Geologic faults primarily shaped Death Valley. The park is famous as the hottest place on Earth and the driest in North America. It set the hottest temperature record at Furnace Creek on July 10, 1913, when the temperature soared to 134°F (57°C). In a twist, on January 8 of the same year, the temperature plunged to 15°F (-10°C) at Furnace Creek, the park's lowest recorded temperature.

Badwater Basin Death Valley National Park

Travel Tips for Death Valley

Planning a trip to Death Valley requires some considerations. Summer temperatures from May to September can exceed 100°F even at midnight, so it's best to stick to developed campgrounds due to the risk of breakdowns and exposure. 

Preparation is key. Be sure to carry plenty of extra water and fill your gas tank before heading to the backcountry. Cellular service is weak, so don't rely solely on GPS. Always check for road closures before setting out, and food is available at Furnace Creek, Stovepipe Wells, Panamint Springs, and other spots.

2024 05 08 0002

Backcountry roads can present challenges, so having a shovel, extra water, and food is crucial. Flat tires are common due to rough terrain, so ensure your tires are suitable. If your vehicle breaks down, stay with it, keep the hood up, and use the main roads (and leave a note with your car) if you decide to walk out. Help others in need, and report anyone in trouble to the nearest ranger.

Wildlife of Death Valley

The park is home to a variety of wildlife, including small mammals like shrews and squirrels, medium-sized mammals like jackrabbits and porcupines, carnivores like coyotes and mountain lions, hoofed animals like burros and mule deer, birds and reptiles like tortoises and lizards.

2024 05 08 0004

Camping in Death Valley

Camping options range from developed campgrounds with paved access, water, toilets, and trash removal to primitive campgrounds on unpaved roads that require high-clearance vehicles. Private campgrounds accept reservations, and boondocking is also possible. In summer, only a few campgrounds remain open due to the heat, and they are all first-come, first-served. Higher-elevation campgrounds offer a cooler escape. If you want to boondock, we stayed at The Pads, a great location. 

In this episode of Off The Beaten Path but Not Lost, we guide you through Death Valley National Park, highlighting its remarkable sights and activities. We cover everything from breathtaking overlooks like Dante's View to the family-friendly Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and the intriguing Star Wars filming locations.