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Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

Newcastle, UK
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Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

which route would you enter DV? we were thinking via Death Valley Junction as we heard there is a ghost town there worth seeing? also advice on itinerary. we will obviously be there about mid afternoon as its a 5 hour plus drive from AZ. We have roughly put down the following to see on route to furnace creek ranch (our hotel).

Dantes View

Artists Drive

Natural Bridge

Devils Golf Course

Badwater (the only attraction we saw here last year!)

then the following day we want to go north of furnace creek to see racetrack playa. We have heard it is very difficult to get there by car so what are our options? are there tours, etc? how do we get there other than walking huge distances in sick hot weather? We are planning on seeing Scottys Castle and Ubehebe crater on the way too.

thanks guys

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Little Sutton...
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1. Re: Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

When are you going,we have been a couple of times in August & would not call it 'sick hot',yes it is b****y hot but we have never found it an uncomfortable heat(nothing like as bad as the humidity in Orlando that time of year).

Death Valley is stunning & shouldn't be rushed,you really need to stay at least a couple of nights to do it justice,you'll love the pool at Furnace Creek Ranch,quite superb,just be careful getting to & from the pool as you just might get burnt feet!

laguna niguel, ca
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2. Re: Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

without checking mileage I would go searchlight to nipton to baker and avoid any drvies through vegas, I have driven the vegas to pahrump by blue diamond the drive through vegas takes a long time

San Francisco
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3. Re: Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

I'm glad to hear it's more than just a quick nip in and out from Las Vegas! As snaefell says, it's impossible to do justice to it in a few hours. A couple of other things would help us help you make the best use of your time. What season are you going, and how long are you staying in Death Valley? And what is your next destination—are you going back to Las Vegas, going on to Yosemite, the coast, or elsewhere?

The most direct way from Lake Havasu is to Needles CA, then Hwy 95 to Henderson NV, I-515 and I-215 belt routes to Hwy 160 for Pahrump. This route just skirts the south edge of Las Vegas, so you miss the urban congestion in the heart of the city. Don’t contend with crowds or traffic to shop for food or supplies in Las Vegas; Pahrump has Wal-Mart and supermarkets. Don’t be fazed by the way Pahrump looks; it is not an attractive place and everything after it will be lovely. Leave Pahrump on Bell Vista to Stateline Road for Death Valley Junction and Hwy 190. DVJ is indeed a ghost town, a 1920s borax mining settlement. It isn’t the biggest DV area ghost town, but it has an important part in local history because borax mining was a major economic factor and still is, although not so much within the park now. The old employee dorm and recreation hall are now the home of the Amargosa Hotel and Opera House; other than a café, the town has no other services.

Another ghost town, farther north with more to see, is Rhyolite. It’s west of Beatty, a town on Hwy 95 about 100 miles north of Las Vegas. This was a gold mining town of the early 1900s, and you can see many stone, brick, and concrete walls and foundations, the intact, ornate train depot, and a bottle house. A bottle house is a house made of bottles, laid in adobe (basically mud) perpendicular to the plane of the wall. The trapped air is fine insulation in cold weather, and hot as Hades in summer. This is an early form of reuse, recycling, or repurposing; in desert mining settlements, wood for building was scarce, but bottles were very, very plentiful.

Even so, I still suggest coming in via Pahrump and DVJ, because everything after Pahrump is more scenic and dramatic than Hwy 95 and you’ll get to see Dante’s View first thing when you enter the park. If you want to see some of the places along Badwater Road the first day, you’ll be much closer by entering on 190. You can get to Rhyolite from DV later if you wish, perhaps on the same trip as Scotty’s Castle, the Racetrack, and Ubehebe Crater if time allows.

You can’t walk to the Racetrack, unless you plan for a 3-4 day backpack trip with water caches along the way. It’s 26 miles one way on a rough dirt road, often requiring 4wd high clearance (much depends on recent weather). Most car hire companies ask for a signed agreement to stay on paved roads, but there are alternatives. Pink Jeep Tours does backcountry guided trips. Farabee’s hires self-drive Jeep Wranglers, and you might consider getting one just for a day to do backcountry stuff. Both operate only from fall to spring.

pinkjeep.com/jeep-tours/…death-valley.shtml

www.farabeesjeeprentals.com/

By paved roads, we typically include graded gravel, which is not asphalt or concrete but is regularly serviced to flatten it down. These are OK for any vehicle; with a car, you’ll want to take it easy mainly to prevent a flat tire. Such roads include Devil’s Golf Course and Mosaic Canyon.

The Racetrack, Castle, and Crater are all in the far north end. The Castle is just under an hour from Furnace Creek. For the Racetrack, if you are driving, allow 1-2 hours each way depending on the weather; check for current conditions when you arrive at Furnace Creek. Rhyolite is about another half hour each way. Another interesting place in that general area is the west end of Titus Canyon, where you can take any vehicle into the eastbound road for a couple of miles, then park and walk as far as you wish. The narrow canyon and sheer walls show the power of flashfloods. This canyon may not be for people who tend to get claustrophobic, especially in the morning or afternoon when not much sunlight gets in. But it’s an interesting place. Keep in mind as you take in these other places that Castle tours are from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. from fall to spring, and to 4:00 p.m. in summer, and during busy holiday periods they can fill up.

laguna niguel, ca
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4. Re: Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

concur on the beltway if you do vegas, saves a lot of time, but you need to map it, a gps won't get you that way, and I agree pahrump is not a problem, they have one stop light in the entire town.

San Francisco
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5. Re: Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

The difference between the Baker route and Pahrump to DVJ is negligible in the grand scheme of a Death Valley trip.

The Baker route is about 20 miles longer. I haven't timed them both to compare. From Baker, you go to Shoshone and then have your choice of taking either Badwater Road or Hwy 127 to DVJ and then 190 to Furnace Creek.

Baker itself isn't anything to write home about, any more than Pahrump is. Baker's biggest claim to fame is the world's tallest thermometer, 134 ft to commemorate the highest Fahrenheit temperature ever recorded in Death Valley.

Newcastle, UK
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6. Re: Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

Okay, so i'll give you some more details. we have been to death valley and furnace creek before. Last year our route went as follows; starting in san francisco, yosemite, death valley, las vegas, lake havasu, los angeles. We have changed the route this year and decided to allocate more days to death valley as we really enjoyed it. This year we are starting in Los Angeles on June 12th then heading to palm springs, lake havasu then the 5 hour drive to death valley. From there we will be heading to las vegas which will be our last stop.

Last time, leaving death valley for vegas we took the pahrump route.

We will be staying in death valley from 19th june to 22nd (3 nights) so i think that will be plenty of time. we came at a similar time last year so we know what to expect weather wise with the intense heat. We just never had enough time last year (we only stayed for a day really although the drive in from yosemite down tioga pass was incredible) so we didnt see many sights, only badwater. Really want to see the racetrack playa if we can. It seems like its difficult though

7. Re: Driving from Lake Havasu, AZ

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