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Camping In Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park lies within the Mojave Desert of California. It is the hottest, driest and lowest location in North America. This is a massive park to explore. It stretches 140 miles long and has over 600 miles of roads to travel.

Summer temperatures in Death Valley regularly top 120°F making it the hottest location in America many times throughout the season. This land of extremes is a truly unique place to visit. At varying times of the year, you can enjoy stunning wildflowers, barren deserts, and snowcapped mountain peaks.

There are nine campgrounds in Death Valley National Park with nearly 800 available campsites for tents, trailers and RV campers. Free campsites and overflow campgrounds can be found throughout the park and in the surrounding area which makes it an easy location to spend the night if you’re traveling from Las Vegas to the California coast.

Reservations: All of the campgrounds in Death Valley are first-come, first-serve. Furnace Creek is the only campground within the park that takes reservations between October and April.

Seasonal Closures: All of the campgrounds are closed during the winter season. Blackwoods has the longest camping season from May-October.

Water and bathrooms: All of the campgrounds except Wildrose, Thorndike, and Mohogany Flat have flush toilets, potable water. There are no showers at the campgrounds.

Electricity: Furnace Creek is the only campground with electric hookups and there are only 18 electric sites.

RV camping: Furnace Creek, Sunset, Texas Springs, Stovepipe Wells, and Mesquite Spring all have campsites available for large RV campers. Each of these has dump stations, water, and flush toilets as well.

Firewood: You cannot bring firewood into Death Valley and bundles of wood in the area are expensive. You can expect to pay up to $10 per bundle.

Cell phone service: Mobile coverage is spotty but available throughout many areas of the park. The Furnace Creek Area has decent cell phone service.

Pets: Leashed dogs are welcome in all of the campgrounds and on roads but they are not allowed on any of the trails. Death Valley has miles of gravel roads with little to no traffic so there is a lot of room to exercise your pet.

Campground# SitesDatesFlush ToiletsDump StationPrice*
Furnace Creek154Year round$22 / $11
Sunset270OCT - APR$14 / $7
Texas Springs92OCT - APR$16 / $8
Stovepipe Wells190OCT - APR$14 / $7
Mesquite Springs30Year round$14 / $7
Emigrant10Year roundFree
Wildrose23Year roundFree
Thorndike6MAR - NOVFree
Mahogany Flat10MAR - NOVFree

Camping In Death Valley National Park

Campgrounds in Death Valley are mostly flat with gravel or dirt sites. There is hardly any shade throughout the park and very little privacy in the most popular campgrounds. Extreme temperatures force you to drink lots of water during the day and continuously lather up with sunscreen.

The most established area in the park is Furnace Creek. You can find a visitor center, gas station, hiking trails, and mine nearby. The Furnace Creek Campground, Sunset Campground, and Texas Springs Campground are all located within a mile of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. These are good places to stay if you want to be nearby amenities like a general store, food service center or lodging.

Badwater Road stems from Furnace Creek and it is one of the most popular drives in Death Valley. The scenic road leads to Badwater Basin which is the lowest point in North America, 282 feet below sea level!

Stovepipe Wells Campground is also within walking distance of a gas station, saloon, and small general store. This has the cheapest gas in the area and access to hotel showers for a small fee.

rv and travel trailer camping in death valley national park

Furnace Creek Campground

Furnace Creek is the most established campground in Death Valley and the only one with electric hookups for RV camping. But, if you’re trying to get the electricity you’ll need to reserve ahead! Only 18 of the 77 RV sites have full hookups and they are almost always booked. This campground sits 196 feet below sea level and gets extremely hot in the summer months.

Campsites at Furnace Creek are not very private. The landscape is completely flat with some low-lying vegetation scattered throughout the area. If you’re lucky, some of the smaller tent camping sites are positioned so you can tuck your tent beneath the trees. All of the sites have a picnic table and a fire pit with a grill. 

  • First-come, first-served
  • Reservations available October 15 – April 15
  • 136 tent and RV campsites, 18 campsites have 50A hookups
  • Fire rings and picnic tables
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station

driving an rv camper through death valley national park

Sunset Campground

Sunset Campground in Death Valley is not the most attractive, but it is within a mile of the Furnace Creek area visitor center. It’s also inexpensive and there’s always open campsites. This is a good place to stay if you have a large RV or travel trailer because all of the sites are flat and there is a dump station on-site.

Aesthetically, the campground looks like a gravel parking lot. There is no privacy and the sites are lined up in rows making it easy to drive around, but pretty bland as far as scenery. You won’t find any shade or vegetation surrounding the individual campsites so it gets extremely hot in the summer.

We would not recommend tent camping here because there are more scenic areas and you would be surrounded by a lot of RV motorhomes. There are also no fire rings or picnic tables here.

  • First-come, first-served
  • 270 tent and RV campsites
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station

Texas Springs Campground

Texas Springs Campground is an attractive location if you want to stay in the Furnace Creek area. It has a mixture of 92 tent camping and pull-through RV sites. The campsites are packed in tightly so there’s not much privacy, but there are rock formations and small hills to explore just outside the campground.

No generators are allowed in Texas Springs, so it’s quieter than both Furnace Creek and Sunset Campground. The sites have fire rings, picnic tables, and it’s within close distance of the camp store and visitor center.

  • First-come, first-served
  • 92 tent and RV campsites
  • Fire rings and picnic tables
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station

stovepipe wells gas station and general store in death valley national park

Stovepipe Wells Campground

Stovepipe Wells has a mix of RV and tent camping sites that are located within walking distance of a general store, saloon, gas station, and ranger station. You can pay a small fee at the nearby hotel for access to showers and a pool. The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and Mosaic Canyon are just a few miles away making it a great location if you want to do some exploring.

Like many other campgrounds in Death Valley, Stovepipe Wells resembles a dirt parking lot. It’s flat with little shade and no privacy. The tent camping sites have picnic tables and fire rings with grills but the RV sites do not. The campground does have strong cell phone service, however, and most campsites have a cool view of Tucki Mountain to the south.

  • First-come, first-served
  • 190 tent and RV campsites
  • Some fire rings and picnic tables
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station

Tent camping in death valley national park

Mesquite Spring Campground

Mesquite Spring is one of the most scenic campgrounds in Death Valley. It’s surrounded by mountains and the campsites are spaced out so it’s quieter and more private than campgrounds in the Furnace Creek Area.

There is no cell phone service here and the sky gets very dark at night so it’s a great location for stargazing.

Being so far north, it’s the closest campground to the Racetrack, Ubehebe Crater, Scotty’s Castle, and Eureka Dunes. It’s small, with only 30 sites and tends to get very windy throughout the year. During the winter, Mesquite Springs has large temperature fluctuations with hot days and cold nights.

Before you go, stock up on firewood and snacks because the closest location to get more is about 40 miles away.

  • First-come, first-served
  • 30 tent and RV campsites
  • Fire rings and picnic tables
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water
  • Dump station
camping near the racetrack playa at death valley national park
Racetrack Playa

Emigrant Campground

Emigrant Campground is small and designed for tent camping only. You won’t find any fire pits here–campfires are prohibited–but there are picnic tables and flush toilets; plus the campground is free!

The landscape at Emigrant Campground is basic. You can expect to find a flat, dirt area with spaces marked by rocks. There is little privacy, but because the area is so small it’s quiet and in a good location to view the mountains nearby.

  • First-come, first-served
  • 10 tent camping sites
  • Picnic tables
  • Flush toilets
  • Potable water

Wildrose Campground

Wildrose is one of the most private campgrounds in Death Valley. It’s far from the park’s main attractions, but nearby Charcoal Kilns and numerous hiking trails. Temperatures at Wildrose are lower than in the valley so it’s more comfortable throughout the year. Beautiful mountains and desert vegetation surround the area. Oftentimes you can see burros roaming the hillside.

Winding, narrow roads keep Wildrose restricted to vehicles under 25 feet. It’s a great place for stargazing and one of the darkest campgrounds in the park. You’ll find picnic tables and fire rings at each of the campsites and there are pit toilets for the area. Camping at Wildrose is free.

  • First-come, first-served
  • 23 tent and RV campsites
  • Fire rings and picnic tables
  • Pit toilets
  • Potable water

mountains and sand dunes in death valley national park

Thorndike Campground

Thorndike is the smallest campground in Death Valley with only 6 tent camping sites. It’s only accessible with a high clearance vehicle and within walking distance of Charcoal Kilns. Sitting at 7,400 feet you can expect colder temperatures and snow in the spring. The area is inaccessible during winter months (typically December – February).

Campsites are completely sand and surrounded by juniper and pinyon pines. They’re also shaded unlike most areas of the park. You’ll find fire rings, picnic tables and pit toilets at Thorndike; but there’s no water so you’ll have to pack your own.

  • First-come, first-served
  • Closed in winter
  • Requires high clearance vehicle
  • 6 tent campsites
  • Fire rings and picnic tables
  • Pit toilets

Mahogany Flat Campground

Mahogany Flat is the highest campground in Death Valley at 8,100 feet. This campground rarely gets full. The nights are cold and the area is inaccessible during winter. It requires a high clearance vehicle just to reach the location.

The rugged journey to Mohogany Flat is worth it. This campground sits right on the ridge of the Panamint Range with excellent views of Badwater Basin and Telescope Peak. There are miles of picturesque hiking trails in the area and bright starry skies at night. Juniper trees shade the campground where you’ll find basic picnic tables, fire rings, and pit toilets.

  • First-come, first-served
  • Closed in winter
  • Requires high clearance vehicle
  • 10 tent campsites
  • Fire rings and picnic tables
  • Pit toilets
View from Zabriskie Point in death valley national park
View from Zabriskie Point

At A Glance: The Best Death Valley Campgrounds

  • Campgrounds next to convenience stores: Furnace Creek, Sunset, Stovepipe Wells
  • Best for tent camping: Mesquite Spring, Emigrant, Wildrose
  • Most scenic: Mesquite Spring, Wildrose, Mohogany Flat
  • Most primitive: Thorndike, Mohogany Flat
  • Least attractive: Sunset
  • Free campsites: Emigrant, Wildrose, Thorndike, Mohogany Flat

Private Campgrounds

There are three privately-owned campgrounds within Death Valley National Park where you can park your RV, rent cabins, or enjoy showers.

Stovepipe Wells RV Park has 14 full hookup RV sites with easy access to the showers, pool, and restaurant. These campsites fill up fast so it’s necessary to book ahead.

Fiddler’s Campground is located in the Furnace Creek Area. There are multiple dry camping sites for RV and tent camping. You won’t find fire rings or picnic tables at the individual sites but there are showers, coin-operated laundry machines, and community firepits.

Panamint Springs Resort is on the far west side of the park. You can rent cabins, cottages, or go camping there. There are only 6 campsites with full hookups and 26 dry camping sites.

Dispersed Camping In Death Valley

Dispersed and backcountry camping is permitted in many areas of Death Valley. This park has many great opportunities for boondocking if you are prepared and plan accordingly.

If you choose to go boondocking, campfires and pets are prohibited. You can find the rules for parking and dispersed camping here.

road to emigrant campground in death valley
Emigrant Road

Camping Near Death Valley

Because Death Valley is so large, the closest campgrounds outside the park are going to require you to drive a few hours to reach the most popular attractions like Badwater Basin, Artists Drive, or Devil’s Golfcourse.

Alabama Hills, California is 90 minutes west of Stovepipe Wells and has amazing views of the Sierra Nevada mountain range. You can go camping there for free, and it has cooler temperatures than Death Valley.

The Sequoia National Forest also allows free, dispersed camping in many areas. A few of the campgrounds have pit toilets and trash services, but campfire permits are required.

For RV campers that prefer full hookups when they travel, we recommend getting a discounted camping membership. These camping clubs cost a small yearly fee to join and allow you to save up to 50% on participating campgrounds. Our favorite membership clubs are:

camping in death valley national park in the spring

When Is The Best Time To Go Camping?

Peak camping season in Death Valley runs from November to March. During this time of year, you’ll have cooler temperatures and more energy to go hiking and sightseeing. If you’re lucky, spring wildflowers bloom from late March to early April when the rare rains come through.

Temperatures in the summer regularly top 120°F and don’t drop below 100°F at night. Even though the campgrounds will be emptier, we do not recommend camping in the summer! High heat makes sleeping nearly impossible and there’s hardly any shade throughout the park.

The exception to this rule is the Thorndike campground and Mohogany Flat campground which are at high elevation and significantly cooler.

Hotels In Death Valley

If you’re not into camping (or if the weather is too hot!), there are four hotels in Death Valley National Park.

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Eternal Flame In NY

Kate Moore

Kate is the lead content creator for ParkedInParadise.com and has spent over two years living in a camper van conversion. She has traveled through 48 US states and writes about van life, camping and RV living.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thanks for the information. This is the best I have found. Good luck in your travels. Hope to cross paths sometime. Dan

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Eternal Flame in NY

ABOUT US
Hello! We are Kate, Ian and Harper. We spent over two years living in a DIY camper van and visiting 48 US states. Along the way, we've met with other van lifers, checked out their rigs, and learned a lot about adventure travel. We hope this site can help you plan your next road trip.

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