We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Death Valley - straight through

Merthyr Tydfil...
Level Contributor
18 posts
16 reviews
Save Topic
Death Valley - straight through

In August 2013 (yes, I know - it's a hot time to do that trip and probably not the best!) We want to travel from Las Vegas via Baker to Death Valley on our way to Mammoth Lakes.

We anticipate starting early as early as possible and just driving straight north from Baker through Shoshone and Badwater. Is this a good way to see the best of Death Valley?

Uden, The...
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Death Valley - straight through

That''s not the best way. Baker is a detour. Best is to take 160 (BLue Diamond highway) from Vegas to Pahrump. Bell Vista/State Line rd to Death Valley Junction and 190 into Death Valley

Encinitas...
Destination Expert
for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
Level Contributor
17,841 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Death Valley - straight through

Not sure why you would go thru Baker, unless you planned to visit the Mojave Preserve before Death Valley.

Washington State
Destination Expert
for Yosemite National Park
Level Contributor
61,896 posts
114 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Death Valley - straight through

Here is a map for that Shortest Route Tet described: nps.gov/deva/…20Vegas.pdf

This article has more info about the overall drive: Las Vegas to Yosemite tripadvisor.com/Travel-g28926-c182361

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
15,205 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Death Valley - straight through

Yes, it is hot. Baker is also hot, and so is Las Vegas; they are all part of the same Mojave Desert region and have similar climates.

Las Vegas has controlled it by artificial means and disrupted the natural climate with all of its construction and development. Just because they've covered the land with asphalt, concrete, steel, glass, lumber, and landscaping, siphoned off the surrounding water table to irrigate the lawns and golf courses and supply the fountains and swimming pools, air-conditioned everything, and added hordes of people to exhale carbon dioxide and vehicles to produce smog, doesn't make it any less Mojave Desert. Going outdoors in Las Vegas in summer is far more uncomfortable than going outdoors in Death Valley because Las Vegas doesn’t have fresh air, the humidity is artificially elevated, and you are hemmed in by structures that confine and reflect heat instead of letting air circulate the way nature intended.

Baker is a wide spot in the road and, well, not the world’s most appealing place.

You will not avoid heat or "discomfort" by taking this route. Your trip will be longer, and you won't see two of the greatest of Death Valley's natural wonders, Dante's View and Zabriskie Point. Those are on Hwy 190, on the route Tet gave you.

Going through Baker and Shoshone will let you see the sights along the Badwater Road, but you will be too far out of the way for Dante's View to make it practical to double back. However, if you take 190 in and see Dante's and Zabriskie, the sights along Badwater are all in the northern 17 miles from 190 once you reach that intersection, so you could see them without a huge detour.

People need not fear Death Valley, with preparation and common-sense precautions. It isn’t a place to trifle with, and sometimes folks die, but the most common cause of death in the park is single-vehicle traffic accidents. In the Top Questions corner is a thread about summer travel in Death Valley. When I work there in the summer, most visitors are from outside the U.S., including many from northern climates like the U.K. the Netherlands, Germany, and Canada. These folks have a grand time. They’ve never seen anything like Death Valley because there is only one such place on Earth, and it fascinates people, and the weather becomes just another natural curiosity that they can write home about.

Merthyr Tydfil...
Level Contributor
18 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Death Valley - straight through

Thank you, mate.

Is it worth taking a slight southward turn and seeing shoshone and that area before continuing north on 127?

Uden, The...
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Death Valley - straight through

Nothing to see in Shoshone other than a cafe, motel and an expensive fuelpump. Fill your tank before DV. Very expensive in DV itself.

Santa Ana, CA
Level Contributor
3,251 posts
15 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Death Valley - straight through

Tet, there's actually a lot to see in and around Shoshone and Tecopa. Only you need four-wheel drive. Mrs DS and I once spent a 3 day weekend there and never ran out of things to see. China Ranch is one example.

Bill Mann wrote several books with the title: 50 Interesting things to see and do in the Mojave Desert. He covers that area quite extensively.

Let me know when you're coming out to California again. We'll take my Jeep Cherokee around there and watch Huell Howser on TV at night.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
15,205 posts
49 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Death Valley - straight through

True, Danny.

Shoshone has the caves, and some old borax mine sites, former railroad stops on the Tonopah and Tidewater RR, and a small, charming town museum.

At Tecopa is China Ranch date farm, which welcomes visitors. You can see the orchards, and they have a store and museum, and you can even go for hikes on the property. Not far from Tecopa is Tecopa Hot Springs, a settlement with several motels and campgrounds built around the hot mineral springs where folks go for the Cure.

Tucson, Arizona
Destination Expert
for Dusseldorf
Level Contributor
3,236 posts
638 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Death Valley - straight through

The hikes on the China Ranch are truly fantastic. There are quite a few sites of the ancient ones in the area as well and the Amaragosa River shows itself here and is great to walk along. There is a wonderful slot canyon and a kind of spooky canyon. Love Shoshone as well. Tecopa Hot Springs, nearby, is an experience not to be missed, and why not stay in a teepee while you are there!

ZB

Uden, The...
Level Contributor
60,942 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Death Valley - straight through

Death Valley-Straight Through- Don't think the OP has the time but if he wants to drive that way maybe already take Old Spanish Trail (Tecopa Road) from 160 before Pahrump to Shoshone.