Cell phone service does not exist in most of the park, so don't count on being able to use it in an emergency. If travelling into the backcountry or hiking overnight, consider carrying an EPIRB or PLB radio beacon or a Satellite Phone. If you're going by yourself, tell one of the Visitor Centers where you're going and when you expect to be back.
A seven day pass with unlimited re-entry is $20 for a standard vehicle (car/truck/van) and $10 for each individual traveling on foot, motorcycle or bicycle. If you're planning to visit some other US National Parks, you may save money by purchasing a National Parks Pass for $80. Unlike other National Parks, few of the roads into Death Valley National Park have road-blocking ranger-manned fee booths. You are expected to pay the entrance fee though, and there are automatic kiosks at several places in the park.
Although you can get gas in the park it typically costs up to a dollar more per gallon than outside the park. It is recommended to fuel up right outside the park before coming in. But once in the park, don't try to squeak out with just enough gas as the results can be fatal if you are stuck in the wilderness, or just plain costly if you need to get gas brought to you by a tow truck. Carry spare gas and account for unforeseen detours.
- Furnace Creek Gas Station is open 8am-6pm, or you can fill up 24 hours a day on credit card.
- Stovepipe Wells Gas Station is open 8am-6pm, or you can fill up 24 hours a day on credit card. It has regular gas only, and is usually cheaper than Furnace Creek.
- Panamint Springs Resort also has a gas station...a lonely one...
The name of the park says it all...
The desert can be a brutal and unforgiving place, and unprepared tourists die each year. You should be prepared to be fully self-reliant and follow these minimum guidelines. Additional safety guidelines should be adhered to if you are planning to go camping.
- Drink even when you do not feel thirsty.
- When hiking, carry a gallon of water for each day plus extra in case of an emergency.
- Store extra water in your car, for you and the car if it overheats!
- Carry water even if you are only planning to explore a short distance from your car.
- Dress for Success
- Wear a hat with a brim (a cowboy hat would be a good idea) and light-colored, lightweight clothes.
- Pack warm, wind-proof clothes in case the wind picks up or the weather cools.
- Wear sunglasses and sunblock, lots of sunblock.
- Carry a Flare and a Spare
- Ensure that your car is in good working order - service stations are few and far between.
- Carry a spare, a jack and some flares, some of the unimproved roads eat tires for breakfast, lunch and dinner, so you could lose your spare tire too!
- 'Fix-a-Flat' (a tire inflator and sealant) can be a lifesaver along with jumper cables.
- Driving Safety
- Should you become stranded while driving, stay with your vehicle as it is likely to provide the only shade in the area.
- If you are going a significant distance on any of the unpaved roads, phone a friend and tell them where you are going, when you will be back, when you'll call again and an emergency number if you don't. It may seem excessive, but it's better to be over cautious than die in the desert, right?
- Don't rely on a GPS routing alone. Figure out where you're going on the official National Park map first, then make sure the GPS device follows the same route.
Rattlesnakes, scorpions and black widow spiders are present in the park. Never place your hands or feet on ground you cannot see!