Las Vegas to Death Valley Road Trip

Mar 17, 2024

Tags:traveltravel guidenv

view of the road going on a las vegas to death valley road trip

This Las Vegas to Death Valley road trip is a wild ride from city glitz to desert calm, showing off the crazy differences between flashy city life and the cool, vast desert. We've got you covered with all you need to know for an epic journey, from the spots you've gotta see to those secret gems you don't want to miss. Let's look into how you can make this trip unforgettable.

How Far is Las Vegas from Death Valley National Park?

Depending on which park entrance you arrive at and the traffic, it will take you approximately 2 hours, or 111-126 miles, to get to Death Valley (Nevada or California entrance) from Las Vegas.

How do I get to Death Valley National Park?

California Highway 190 serves as the principal thoroughfare cutting across Death Valley National Park from the east to the west, along the park's eastern boundary in Nevada, U.S. Route 95 runs parallel from the north to the south. This route is linked to the park through several connecting roads: State Route 267 at Scotty's Junction, State Route 374 near Beatty, and State Route 373 at Lathrop Wells.

map screenshot of the route from las vegas to death valley national park

When is the best time to visit Death Valley?

The best time to visit Death Valley National Park is during the cooler months, from late fall through winter and into early spring, roughly from November to March. During this period, daytime temperatures are more comfortable, ranging from the mid-60s to low 80s°F (about 18-28°C), making outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing much more enjoyable. Summers in Death Valley are scorching, with daytime temperatures often exceeding 120°F (49°C), which can make outdoor activities dangerous.

Your Road Trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley

Total Distance: Approximately 370 miles

Ideal Trip Duration: 3 to 4 Days

Begin your journey amidst the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, a city known for its vibrant nightlife, luxurious casinos, and endless entertainment options. However, as you venture beyond the neon lights, you'll find yourself immersed in the tranquil beauty of the desert, marking the start of an unforgettable road trip.

Day 1: Las Vegas to Pahrump via Red Rock Canyon

picture of a view looking up at the cliffs in red rock canyon road trip from las vegas to death valley

Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area: Just a short drive from Las Vegas, this area offers breathtaking views of red sandstone peaks and a variety of trails for hiking, biking, and rock climbing.

Spring Mountain Ranch State Park: Nestled within the Red Rock Canyon, this historic ranch offers peaceful walks and a glimpse into Nevada's ranching history.

Culinary Stops and Curiosities

Mountain Springs Saloon: Enjoy a refreshing break with ice-cold beers and live music at this iconic biker bar.

Pahrump Valley Winery: Don't miss tasting some of Nevada's finest wines at this award-winning winery.

Overnight in Pahrump

Find comfort and relaxation at one of Pahrump's cozy accommodations, ranging from charming RV parks to luxury resorts, ensuring a restful night's sleep before the next leg of your journey.

Day 2: Pahrump to Death Valley National Park

picture of badwater basin with tourists walking around road trip from las vegas to death valley

Death Valley National Park: Explore North America's hottest, driest, and lowest national park. Highlights include Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America; the vibrant Artist’s Palette; and the mesmerizing Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.

Adventure and Accommodation in Death Valley

Furnace Creek Visitor Center: Start here for maps, exhibits, and the latest park information.

Stay within the Park: Experience the stark beauty of Death Valley by staying at one of its lodges, offering unique accommodations in this remote wilderness.

Day 3: Death Valley to Beatty and Rhyolite Ghost Town

picture of an abandoned building in rhyolite ghost town road trip from las vegas to death valley

Rhyolite Ghost Town: Visit this well-preserved ghost town to glimpse the area's mining history.

Beatty: This small town offers a cozy stopover with its quirky motels and local eateries, providing a comfortable base to explore the surrounding attractions.

Natural Wonders and Wildlife

Desert National Wildlife Refuge: Spanning over 1.6 million acres, this refuge is home to diverse desert wildlife, including the majestic desert bighorn sheep.

Returning to Las Vegas

As your journey comes full circle, returning to Las Vegas offers the perfect opportunity to reflect on the incredible contrasts and natural beauty experienced along the way. Whether you're drawn to the tranquil solitude of the desert or the city's vibrant energy, this road trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley showcases the best of both worlds.

Las Vegas to Death Valley Day Trip

Have limited time and are looking to visit Death Valley from Las Vegas in one day? It’s totally possible! Here’s our recommended itinerary for visiting Death Valley National Park from Las Vegas in under 24 hours. 

Morning: Departure and Drive to Death Valley

  • Start Early: Begin your journey around 5:00 AM to make the most of your day. The drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park takes approximately 2 to 2.5 hours, covering around 120 miles (193 kilometers) to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, the heart of Death Valley.
  • Route: Take NV-160 W through Pahrump, then CA-190 W into Death Valley National Park.
  • Breakfast Tip: Grab breakfast in Las Vegas or stop in Pahrump for a quick bite.

Mid-Morning: First Stop - Zabriskie Point

scenic picture of a view looking out over zabriskie point road trip from las vegas to death valley

  • Arrival Time: Aim to arrive by 8:00 AM.
  • Activity: Witness the stunning sunrise colors painting the badlands. Zabriskie Point offers panoramic views of golden hills and the valley below, perfect for photography.

Late Morning: Badwater Basin

picture looking out over badwater basin road trip from las vegas to death valley

  • Drive Time: About 30 minutes from Zabriskie Point.
  • Activity: Explore the lowest point in North America at -282 feet (-86 meters) below sea level. The vast salt flats create a surreal landscape. Take a short walk out onto the flats to experience the vastness.

Early Afternoon: Artist’s Drive and Palette

view of artists palette along artists drive death valley road trip from las vegas to death valley

  • Drive Time: 15 minutes from Badwater Basin.
  • Lunch: Pack a picnic lunch at one of the pullouts along Artist’s Drive, a scenic loop through multi-hued volcanic and sedimentary hills. Artist’s Palette is incredibly vibrant.

Mid-Afternoon: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

scenic picture of mesquite flat sand dunes with mountains in the background road trip from las vegas to death valley

  • Drive Time: About 1 hour from Artist’s Drive.
  • Activity: Spend some time exploring the dunes near Stovepipe Wells. These accessible dunes offer a chance to wander among the shifting sands and capture stunning photographs.

Late Afternoon: Return Journey

  • Departure: Begin your journey back to Las Vegas by 3:00 PM to avoid driving in the dark and allow for additional stops, or simply enjoy the sunset on your way back.
  • Optional Stop: If time and energy allow, consider a quick visit to Dante’s View for a breathtaking overview of the valley, though this may add an hour to your return trip.

Evening: Back to Las Vegas

  • Dinner: Arrive in Las Vegas around 7:00 PM, depending on your stops. End your day with a relaxing dinner at one of the city's restaurants.

Essential Tips for Travelers

Preparation is Key: Make sure your vehicle is road-trip ready and stock up on water, snacks, and sun protection.

You WILL Get Hot, Especially Depending on Time of Year: Even during the cooler months, the sun's intensity in Death Valley can lead to surprisingly high temperatures, so always dress in light, breathable clothing and stay hydrated to combat the heat, particularly if you're visiting closer to summer.

Embrace the Journey: Allocate time for spontaneous detours and discoveries. The beauty of a road trip lies in the unexpected adventures along the way.

Rent a Motorcycle for Your Trip to Death Valley from Las Vegas with Riders Share

Exploring Death Valley from Las Vegas on a motorcycle adds an exhilarating layer to your adventure, and renting through Riders Share makes finding the perfect bike for your journey seamless. With Riders Share, you can select from a variety of motorcycles to match your style and comfort, ensuring an unforgettable ride through the dramatic landscapes of Death Valley. Start your ride and rent a motorcycle in Las Vegas today.

picture of a motorcycle parked on a las vegas to dry lake tour

Conclusion

This road trip from Las Vegas to Death Valley is more than just a journey from point A to point B; it explores the American Southwest's contrasts. From the neon lights of the Las Vegas Strip to the serene vastness of Death Valley, this trip offers an unparalleled opportunity to experience the extremes of landscape, climate, and culture that make this region truly unique. So pack your bags, grab your camera, and set out on a road trip that promises memories to last a lifetime.