McCarran International Airport (LAS) (www.mccarran.com) in Las Vegas is the closest commercial airport to Death Valley. There is also a small airstrip within the park in Furnace Creek and just outside of the park in Shoshone Village, Beatty and Lone Pine for private plane access.
The nearest city with an Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) station is Barstow, CA, which is served by the Southwest Chief on the Chicago to Los Angeles route. It's 98 miles south of Death Valley National Park.
From Las Vegas or Barstow you will need to rent a car as there is no public transportation to and from the park. If you get stranded in the park, you can have a rental car delivered from Enterprise Rent A Car (+1 775 537 6677, www.enterprise.com) in Pahrump, about one hour away in Nevada.
The paved roads within the park are well-maintained and accessible to vehicles of all kind, but the dirt roads are rough, difficult tracks that generally require a vehicle with moderately high clearance and (preferably) four-wheel drive. Expect excessive washboarding, erosion, large rocks and uneven surfaces when traveling on the park's dirt roads. To get the most out of your time in Death Valley, get a 4WD.
Note on routes: "CA 127" means "California State Route 127" and "NV 373" means "Nevada State Route 373." The signs for each state are different. Nevada has a rectangular sign with a white shape of the state with black numbers while California's signs are in the shape of a spade and green with white numbers.
Approaching Death Valley from the east:
- Take CA 190 west from Death Valley Junction for 20 miles to the park entrance.
- From US 95 in Nevada, take NV 374 west from Beatty for 19 miles into the park.
- From Las Vegas, proceed north on US 95 to Lathrop Wells. Then proceed south on NV 373 for 23 miles to Death Valley Junction, then west on CA 190 for 20 miles to the park entrance.
Approaching Death Valley from the west:
- Going north on US 395 take CA 190 east from Olancha, through Panamint Springs and over Towne Pass (elevation 4956 feet). This road is steep and narrow along some sections and is slow going for vehicles pulling trailers.
- Going south on US 395 take CA 136 east from Lone Pine to CA 190 east through Panamint Springs and proceed as above.
Approaching Death Valley from the north:
- From US 95 in Nevada, take NV 267 west from Scotty's Junction 26 miles towards Scotty's Castle.
Approaching Death Valley from the south:
- From I-15 take the exit for CA 127 when you reach the tiny town of Baker. Proceed north on CA 127 for 56 miles to the microscopic town of Shoshone. Just one mile north of Shoshone is the turnoff for CA 178 which leads you into the park.
There are many other more adventurous routes into the park, particularly for high clearance and 4WD vehicles. The route in via the Eureka Dunes in the north is notable, along with the route from Panamint Valley Road along the Emigrant Canyon Road from the south-west, and the southern route on CA 178 west from Shoshone.
Note: Some roads in the park can occasionally be snowed in at the passes and may require chains in the Winter. Most weather forecasts refer to the low altitude portion of the park and the conditions at higher elevations can be dramatically different. Please reference the Death Valley Morning Report for helpful and current weather and road conditions. See the Death Valley NPS website homepage for a download: www.nps.gov/deva.