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Route 127

Queensland...
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Route 127

Can't find the information I require regarding route 178 into Death Valley from 127. Is the road paved all the way, and is it suited to a medium sized rented RV?

Still undecided whether to take this longer route or take the 190 from 395. We're in the Fresno area after visiting Yosemite. Heading to LV after Death Valley.

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Cuenca, Ecuador
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for California Desert
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1. Re: Route 127

Hello, Sleepy668, and welcome to the Death Valley National Park forum.

Let's see if I understand you correctly. . . you are traveling from Yosemite National Park to Fresno, then headed to Death Valley National Park and Las Vegas, right? If so, you are thinking about taking California State Route 178 from Ridgecrest east to Panamint Valley, where the road connects to California State Route 190, going east over Towne Pass (elevation 4963 feet) and down into the geographical Death Valley itself. That's perfectly safe to do for a rented RV of any size. The road is completely paved, with dirt shoulders, of course. Taking this routing is a shorter distance in terms of time and miles versus taking US 395 north to California State Route 190 east. It also affords a wonderful view past Trona at the beginning of your first sighting of Panamint Valley, which is panoramic.

One consideration for you: if you are traveling in the hotter Summer months (June through September) it might be kinder on your RV's engine to stop once in a while and cool off the engine while going up Towne Pass. I know when I drove tourists to Death Valley some years ago, even with a late model well maintained motorcoach, I had to stop at the side of the road halfway up CA 190/Towne Pass to help cool down the engine a bit, and then continuing uphill, would turn off my air conditioner to help the engine not get overheated. My passengers were grateful for the a/c turning on again at the top of the pass.

Hope this information proves helpful to you. Please let us know if you need more!

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San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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2. Re: Route 127

Both 178 and 127 are state highways and all paved, and would be OK for any RV.

What time of year is your trip? If it's when Tioga Pass is open (late May or early June through early to mid November, depending on snow), most of us would suggest going to Fresno first, then Yosemite, and leaving the park on the east through Tioga. That is much more scenic and dramatic than any other way from Yosemite to Death Valley. Tioga Pass is now closed, so you have to go out the southwest exit to Fresno.

The better route from Fresno is to Bakersfield and then across the south end of the Sierra Nevada on either Hwy 58 or 178 (this is the west leg of 178; it ends near Trona and the route number resumes on the other side of DV near Shoshone). Both are paved and fine for any vehicle; 58 is all freeway and will take a little less time, while 178 goes along a lovely river canyon and lake and will take a little longer because it isn’t all freeway and has some winding spots. But RVs do use it.

Both these roads go to Hwy 14, which connects with 395. However, don’t need to go all the way to 395 and 190; follow the signs for Ridgecrest and Trona, and north of Trona, take Panamint Valley road which connects with Hwy 190. The main reason to continue north to 395 would be to go to Lone Pine to see Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the U.S. outside Alaska. There is an alternative to Panamint Valley Road that I usually suggest for car drivers that may not work for you, depending on the length of your vehicle: Wildrose-Emigrant Road. It starts north of Trona at the same spot as Panamint Valley Road, and it’s in the mountains with lots of greenery and even trees. It is very different from what most newcomers expect to see in DV. There is one section of about 8 km that is unpaved, graded gravel, and usually OK for any vehicle driven carefully. But parts of the road are narrow, steep and curvy, and the vehicle length limit is 8 meters.

To get to Hwy 127 and 178, you’ll need to go much farther east from Bakersfield, to Baker. From Mojave to Baker is about 135 km of interstate freeway with heavy traffic all the time (it is the main route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas), not many specific sights to see along the road, few towns worth looking at, and little variety in the scenery. On 127, you’ll go through the tiny town of Shoshone and then onto 178 which is the Badwater route into Death Valley. It is very scenic, but for about 80 km, it’s mainly about long-range views, not specific natural wonders. The main scenic marvels on Badwater Road (Badwater, Devil’s Golf Course, Artist’s Drive,* and Golden Canyon) are in the northern 25 km, accessible from inside the park near Furnace Creek.

Another minus of this 127 route is that it puts you in Death Valley on the east side of the park. There is lots to do on the west side, but you would have to backtrack from the Furnace Creek area to the Devil’s Cornfield, Sand Dunes, Mosaic Canyon, etc.—and then backtrack again to head for Las Vegas. Logistically, it makes sense to enter the park on the west (see above, from Ridgecrest), see the sights from west to east, and then go to Las Vegas, seeing Zabriskie Point, 20 Mule Team Canyon, and Dante’s View* on the way out.

* If your RV is 8m or longer, it will be prohibited on some roads. I mentioned Wildrose. Artist’s Drive, 20 Mule Team Canyon, and the top 400 km of Dante’s View Road are also restricted, because they are steep or twisty, or have sharp dips that can bottom-out a long vehicle. For Dante’s View, you can drive up almost to the top and park just short of the summit, and walk the rest of the way or catch a ride with nice folks. The restrictions may be on the cautious side, and many of us have seen people take longer vehicles on some of these roads, but I can’t tell you it’s OK to do it.

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Uden, The...
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3. Re: Route 127

What time of year are you coming? Several RV rentalcompnaies won't allow you to drive through DV in summer. I agree to take 14/395/190 into DV instead via 127.

Queensland...
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4. Re: Route 127

Such detailed responses! Thank you all so very much. We're heading that way today, and will enter from the west. We will decide when we get to Bakersfield whether to take the 178 and stay for the night in the Lake Isabella area, or push on along further on 58/14/395 to Lone Pine. From there we will see what the road is like around the back of Owens Lake to 190, or backtrack to the main 190/395 junction.

We know we'll be restricted in DV by what we can see with the RV, but will take in what we can.

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Uden, The...
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5. Re: Route 127

Just take 136 from Lone Pine and save the detour. 136 is a good road. Stop after a few miles from Lone Pine off 136 and make pictures from Alabama Hills and snow covered Sierra behind you. Awesome!

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6. Re: Route 127

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