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Near the Park

Because accommodations in Death Valley are limited, you might consider the money-saving (but inconvenient) option of spending a night in one of the gateway towns. Lone Pine, on the west side of the park, is a good choice, with a wide selection of lodgings and great Western views and charm. Beatty, Nevada, and Shoshone have inexpensive lodgings. Each is about an hour's drive from the park's center, but accommodations are limited to unremarkable motels. In Death Valley Junction, the one-of-a-kind Amargosa Opera House and Hotel (www.amargosa-opera-house.com; tel. 760/852-4441) offers 15 air-conditioned rooms in a historic out-of-the-way place, 30 miles from Furnace Creek. Room rates are $67 to $84, and credit cards (AE, MC, V) are accepted. 

Camping

Death Valley offers little variety to those seeking conventional accommodations, but campers (tent, trailer, and RV) can expect to find comforts similar to those at most other desert parks. You should take care, however, when selecting a campground. Although most locations are closed seasonally to protect visitors from the harshest elements (only five campgrounds are open year-round), there's always a risk of unseasonably hot temperatures at the none-too-shady campgrounds on the valley floor, as well as early or late snow at remote mountain sites. Always inquire with the park ranger about current conditions before setting up camp.

Furnace Creek Campground, just north of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, has showers nearby (for a fee) from a strained water supply. (During peak times, there are quotas.) The Furnace Creek Campground is the only campground in Death Valley that takes advance reservations (tel. 877/444-6777; www.recreation.gov). Reservations can be made for the camping season of October 15 through April 15 up to 6 months in advance. The campground also has group sites, which can be reserved. The huge Sunset Campground, just 1/4 mile east of the Ranch at Furnace Creek, has individual sites and nearby showers (fee). Texas Spring, near Sunset Campground, has 92 sites and two group sites. The fee for an individual site at these campgrounds ranges from $12 to $18 a night.

Stovepipe Wells Campground has 204 spaces, with 14 RV hookups in two areas, and pay showers; the fee is $12 for a campsite, or $30 if you want an RV utility hookup (tel. 760/786-2387 for reservations for the latter). The basic, tents-only Emigrant Campground is 9 miles southwest of Stovepipe Wells on Calif. 190.

Thorndike Campground, 37 miles south of Stovepipe Wells and 1 mile from Mahogany Flats Campground, off the Trona-Wildrose Road, is accessible only by four-wheel-drive vehicle. It has eight primitive campsites with pit toilets but no other facilities. Wildrose Campground, 30 miles south of Stovepipe Wells off the Trona-Wildrose Road, has pit toilets and drinking water. Mahogany Flats Campground, 38 miles south of Stovepipe Wells, off Trona-Wildrose Road, can be reached only by four-wheel-drive vehicle. It has pit toilets but no other facilities. Mesquite Spring Campground is 5 miles south of Scotty's Castle on Grapevine Road.

The Panamint Springs Resort (tel. 775/482-7680; www.deathvalley.com/psr), 30 miles west of Stovepipe Wells on Calif. 190, operates a commercial campground with 62 spaces (12 with RV utility hookups). It charges $30 per night for full RV hookups, $20 for a water-only RV site, and $7.50 for a tent campsite.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.