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GPS to Furnace Creek

Kent
8 posts
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GPS to Furnace Creek

Hi

we are driving from Yosemite to Furnace Creek in a couple of weeks. We are hiring a car and GPS but i have heard that GPS isn't useful for the national park and it might not work . Is there a nearby place or landmark that we can use for our directions or co ordinates?

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
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58,843 posts
113 reviews
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1. Re: GPS to Furnace Creek

Using your GPS (it might be cheaper to purchase one rather than rent) to supplement your paper map can be a good idea. But a paper map is essential.

Assuming Tioga Pass is open, drive away from Yosemite Valley on Hwy 140. Take the Tioga Road/Hwy 120 exit, then turn at Crane Flat to stay on eastbound Hwy 120. You will be passing through a beautiful area, and hopefully will have time to stop at Tenaya Lake, Olmstead Point, and Tuolumne Meadows. Exit Yosemite at the Tioga Pass Entrance. Turn south on Hwy 395 and enjoy 125 miles of eastern Sierra fall beauty.

Just after Lone Pine, turn southeast (left) on Hwy 136 and then continue east on Hwy 190 into Death Valley. Now you have about 90 miles of spectacular views until you arrive at Furnace Creek.

This is a long drive through some exceptionally scenic places. Enjoy!

Kent
8 posts
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2. Re: GPS to Furnace Creek

Thanks for this. I have got quite a few maps as well as i don't want to rely just on the GPS. I am just a bit paranoid about getting lost. There are some scary posts about people taking wrong turns and being lost for days! But i fully intend to stay on the main highway so hopefully we will be ok.

Tucson, Arizona
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for Dusseldorf
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622 reviews
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3. Re: GPS to Furnace Creek

People who "get lost" do it when they leave the pavement and head onto one dirt road and turn and turn thinking the GPS will get them to where they are going. First, if you stay on the pavement in Death Valley you will never get too lost as all roads are pretty well marked. Second, if you just stick to the main dirt roads like the West Side Highway you will also have no trouble. As PNWF says, carry a map and know how to use it. A compass never hurt either, but for driving from Yosemite to FC a map will be fine.

ZB

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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48 reviews
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4. Re: GPS to Furnace Creek

GPS can be useful, but it has been known to get people in trouble, sometimes fatal. In the fall, you don't have to worry about snow-covered roads, but you also don't want to stray too far into the backcountry in Death Valley because it is still very warm and dry.

To get from Yosemite to Furnace Creek, and even to take a few of the scenic side trips along the way, a GPS is not necessary. Main roads to Mono Lake, Mammoth, Devil's Postpile, the Bristlecone Pine Forest, Mt. Whitney, and other major visitor areas are well marked and maintained.

Somehow, the human race survived without GPS until the last couple of decades. I can't imagine how, but we did. You will be absolutely fine, as everyone has said, if you use GPS as a supplement to a good map* and both as a supplement to common sense.

* The best all-purpose maps for most visitors are by the American Automobile Association (including the California State Automobile Association and Automobile Club of Southern California). There are regional maps for the Yosemite area, Eastern Sierra, and Death Valley (the DV map to get is called the Death Valley National Park Guide Map). These maps have accurate highway and street names and numbers, types of road surface, and mileage marked on roads. Maybe you can ask your auto club if it has any reciprocal arrangement where you could get these for free once you arrive in the U.S.

Mission Viejo...
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1,887 posts
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5. Re: GPS to Furnace Creek

There was a well-publicized incident where a mother (who should have known better) and her son set out cross-country at DV. They were guided by their GPS which led them to mining trails and eventually into serious trouble. By the time they were found the son had died of exposure/dehydration.

That incident may have prompted your post. Frankly, 90% of DV points of interest are on paved roads. There are a few things that are accessed via unpaved roads- but they are well signposted. So stay on pavement (most rental car contracts require this), or well-marked unpaved roads and you will be fine. Use GPS as confirmation of your common sense, not as a primary means of navigation.

Have a great time!

6. Re: GPS to Furnace Creek

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