Saturday, March 12, 2016
Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is the lowest, driest, and hottest spot in the US. It’s stark beauty can be explored by driving the paved roadways, by venturing into the wilderness along dirt roads or by walking the many trails. All of this is best done in the winter months when the daytime temperature is still below 90 degrees. Heavy rainfall last autumn has resulted in a spectacular spring “super bloom” and the park is filled with visitors. The rain also caused flooding, damaging roads and structures so some areas are closed to visitors.
The park is not very wheelchair accessible but a lot can be seen by just driving along the the roads. We were hindered a bit more by restrictions on some of the side trips. We fit the length limits but some roads also had restrictions on RVs. We did take Artist Drive which is a short loop through a very colorful volcanic and sedimentary rock. RVs 25’ and under are allowed.
We also took the short dirt road to check out the strange formations at Devils Golf Course. The parking area is large enough for RVs.
A few short trails are accessible – the boardwalk and salt flats at Badwater Basin (RV parking spaces) and the the boardwalk of the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail. (large lot).
The Harmony Borax Works Interpretive Trail is paved but the pavement is in bad condition and the trail has up and down grades. Wheelchair users may need to have help. The parking lot is small but usually doesn’t fill.
Zabriskie Point Overlook is accessed by a very steep paved trail. Wheelchair users will need to have an energetic helper. Room for RVs to park.
The visitor center is accessible and has long RV parking spaces.
We stayed at three different campgrounds, Sunset and Texas Springs, both near Furnace Creek, and Stovepipe Wells on our way out of the park.
Sunset is just a gravel lot but it never fills because additional sections are opened at needed. Texas Springs is a bit more scenic but the sites are still close together and there isn’t any privacy. We didn’t check the accessible sites at Sunset. The accessible sites at Texas Springs are not much different than the rest of the sites. The fire rings have high sides and the sites are close to the restrooms. No one hesitated about taking the sites so even though they’re marked with a blue wheelchair they get snatched up early in the day.
Stovepipe Wells is another gravel parking lot. It doesn’t appear to ever get filled.
Park 36.46144, -116.86694