Just a warning to the wise. Gas was high even around May of 2005 and we all know it is even higher now 2010. Although, gas does fluctuate, it will be always higher here. So filling up before you venture into the park in probably wise.
Furnace Creek Gas Station, 8AM-6PM (24 hours a day by credit card) on SR 190
Stovepipe Wells Gas Station, 8AM-6PM on SR 190 (24 hours a day by credit card, regular gas only, usually cheapest in Death Valley proper)
Scotty's Castle Gas Station, 7AM-6PM on SR 267 (Currently Closed, Call NPS for More Information)
Here is a good site for checking on Gas Prices: Gas Buddy
This something that is so important and I am so glad the park services or someone thought of this. Since DV has such a harsh environment due to extreme weather conditions and elevations of the mountains. By placing these life saving water tanks to keep your vehicle from overheating along that way is imperative. My hats off and salute to the park rangers!
PS "NOT FOR DRINKING"
I found the map and information at Death Valley Chamber of Commerce helpful. They have a lot of information, and a lot of it very current.
I'd recommend enterring/exiting the park at Shoshone, California... it is the southernmost road into/out of the park.
Death Valley is about 2-3 hours from Las Vegas and is easily reached by car. Just take U.S. highway 95 north. There are several entrances to Death Valley. I used the one at Death Valley Junction -- California Highway 190.
Not because of the road, but because of the heat, modern cars can experience difficulties with driving through and around Death Valley National Park. It can easily be 60 degrees Celsius here and the cars motor can thus easily reach to high temperatures and might boil over. Follow the instructions and - for example - switch of the airco, as this device might cool you down, but gives extra heat to the engine. If you think way out front, then put some extra destilated water in jerrycans in the back of your car.
Your car must be in good condition, of course, airconditioned and with a full fuel tank. Within the park gasoline is sold at Stovepipe Wells, Furnace Creek, Scottys Castle (in the north part) and at Panamint Springs.
Once you've reached the area, you just have the problem of the choice which scenic spot to visit first (click on the side map to enlarge); in my case, I was coming from Las Vegas via Route 190, so my first stop was at Dante's view and i don't complain at all about my choice :))
As i said before, this sightseeing point offers you the chance to get a first, breathtaking view of what's waiting for you just below.
Visiting Death Valley is a unique opportunity if you're in Las Vegas, 'cause the national park is just about two hours drive from the busiest part of the shimmering lights of the Strip. This fact makes it possible to see most of the major features in the park and return to Las Vegas in one day.
By the way, the side map (taken from www.trailmonkey.com) shows all the available routes (click to enlarge), which can be summarized as follows:
- From Las Vegas, NV, Route 160 leads to Pahrump where a left on Nevada Route 132 (which becomes California Route 190 at the state line) leads to Furnace Creek through Death Valley Junction;
- U.S. Route 395 passes west of Death Valley and connects with California Routes 178 at Inyokern and 190 at Olancha, both of which enter the park from the west;
- I-15 passes to the southeast of Death Valley, connecting with Route 127 at Baker, California. Drive 60 miles north then turn left on Route 178 just past Shoshone, or drive 20 miles further north to Death Valley Junction and turn left on California Route 190 to enter the park;
- U.S. Route 95 passes north-south through Nevada east of the park connecting with Nevada Routes 267 at Scotty's Junction, 373 at Amargosa Valley and 374 at Beatty, all of which lead to the park from the east.