Discover the best spots to go camping in Death Valley National Park for a unique experience. 

I’m not kidding when I say unique — the arid, desert-like landscape of Death Valley isn’t exactly the first place that comes to mind when you hear the word “camping”. Its martian-like appearance and scorching temperatures can easily deter any outdoors person. 

But here’s your chance to prove any nay-sayer wrong by spending a few nights in the country’s most extreme region. And to get you there quicker, I’ve lined up the best campgrounds. 

Get your gear and smores sticks ready – we’re camping at Death Valley.

Best Spots for Camping in Death Valley National Park

Furnace Creek 

  • Open dates: Year round
  • Number of sites: 136
  • Types of camping available: Tent & campervan/RV
  • Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits

You’ll likely recognise the name – Furnace Creek is a popular site and the most developed Death Valley campground. It often gets crowded here, the facilities and gorgeous scenery draw people in by the dozen. 

Badwater (the lowest point in North America) and Scotty’s Castle might also pique your interest. Remember to confirm which sites are accessible at the Visitor Center, as some roads may still be inaccessible due to major flooding. 

Furnace Creek is ideal for RV camping in Death Valley, but if you’re travelling by car, you’re only allowed two. This spacious campground boasts 136 sites, with 46 designated for tents only and 18 that have full hookups. This camping ground accepts up to eight campers per site. 

Regarding your furry family members, they are welcome but on a leash and always attended. 

I recommend reserving your spot well in advance between 15 October and 15 April, as the remainder of the year is first-come-first-serve. Fees range from $16 – $22 for standard sites and $36 for RV hook-up sites. 

Stovepipe Wells 

  • Open dates: October – April
  • Number of sites: 190
  • Types of camping available: Tent & campervan/RV
  • Amenities: Restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits
Stovepipe Wells Area

One of the top campgrounds in Death Valley National Park is Stovepipe Wells. Not only can you savour the splendid scenery of this rugged desert valley, but it’s conveniently located near other park amenities and attractions. 

Note that this campground opens seasonally, from 15 October through April. After that, the park closes due to extreme heat.

With the grounds boasting a whopping 190 sites mainly geared towards RV and trailer camping, on-site, you have access to fire pits, restrooms, and picnic tables. All for a small fee of $14.00 per night. 

There are only 28 sites designated for tents, so I’d recommend considering a different campsite if it happens to fill up quickly. 

After pitching your tent, you can relish Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes’ gorgeous surroundings and breathtaking views. So remember to have your camera on hand. 

Mahogany Flats 

  • Open dates: Year round. Temporarily closed between 11 September and 20 September due to storm damage. 
  • Number of sites: 10
  • Types of camping available: Tent & campervan/RV 
  • Amenities: Picnic tables and firepits
Mahogany Flats 

When you think of a picturesque, mountainside campground, Mahogany Flats should come to mind. Tucked between Pinyon Pine and Juniper forest, this campsite sits at a staggering 8,200-foot elevation above ground. 

Camping in Death Valley National Park doesn’t get more primitive than this. That’s due to the non-existing showers, vault toilets, and no internet. You can only access this site via a dirt road that requires high-clearance vehicles. 

But don’t let this put you off – once you reach the top, you’ll be in awe of the scenery: rustic and mountainous.  

Not only can you gaze upon Badwater basin, but the Telescope Peak Trailhead is just around the corner. You’ll also have access to a flurry of hiking trails, mountaineering opportunities, biking, and even horse riding. 

And to cool off from the Death Valley heat, you can trek your way to Darwin Falls for a tranquil dip in the mountain-fed waters. 

While you’re facing the vast landscapes of the valley from this site, you might as well whip out your camera to capture some wildlife. Mahogany Flats is a popular location for wildlife watching, offering glimpses of mule deer, desert bighorn, and native fish, to name a few. 

Wildrose Campground

  • Open dates: Year round
  • Number of sites: 23
  • Types of camping available: Tent & campervan/RV
  • Amenities: Potable water and picnic facilities on-site 

Another fantastic first-come-first-serve spot to take your Death Valley camping to another level is Wildrose Campground. When I say another level, I mean 4100 ft from the ground. 

This site may not have electric hook-ups, but the quiet, rustic environment makes it a perfect escape for seclusion seekers. The isolated wilderness of the Wildrose Campground, away from lights and crowds, offers excellent conditions to stargaze. 

You’ll also feel tucked away in the Panamint Mountains with no cell service. Expect quite a primitive campground featuring pit toilets, no shower, potable water, and a few picnic tables. 

This one is more for the experienced camper who can manage without cell service, electricity, and a proper toilet. However, camping here requires no fee, which is a bonus if you’re working with a tight budget — note that the nearest shower is at Furnace Creek, which sits an hour away. You might want to stock up on wet wipes beforehand.

The Wildrose camping site is open all year round, but you can keep an eye on temporary closures that may occur due to storm damage on this site. Extreme windy conditions are common here, so do visit with caution. 

Texas Springs

  • Open dates: Opens seasonally from 15 October to 18 April.
  • Number of sites: 26
  • Types of camping available: Tents only
  • Amenities: Restrooms, laundry, picnic tables, and fire pits
Texas Springs

Hiding in the hills above Furnace Creek is this first-come-first-serve campsite with fantastic views. Texas Springs offers a serene escape with showers, laundry, and internet facilities. If you cannot live without these, then this should be your first choice. 

No electric hook-ups are available, and generators aren’t allowed, meaning you’ll have a quiet stay. While this is a year-round camping ground, it closes for summer (18 April – 14 October). Before entering the grounds, you pay $16 to enjoy the site and surroundings. 

You can easily access Furnace Creek attractions and hiking trails with some outlooks. The park offers a variety of fun activities, including biking, sand sledging and photography. And for a chill moment to take in the scenery, you can indulge in sunset viewing and stargazing. 

Mesquite Springs

  • Open dates: Year round. Temporarily closed from 5 August to 1 January
  • Number of sites: 30
  • Types of camping available: Tent & campervan/RV
  • Amenities: Potable water, flush toilets, and picnic facilities on-site
Mesquite Sand Dunes Death Valley National Park

Mesquite Springs Campground sits below Grapevine Canyon, two miles from Scotty’s Castle road. 

You can use it as your Death Valley camping ground base to explore the northern parts of the park. Mesmerising mountains and geological features such as the Ubehebe Crater surround you. 

Mesquite Springs is remote, with no cell service and showers, but Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek are about 45 minutes away. At least there are flush toilets on site – yes, we’re looking at you, Wildrose. Though, there are no electrical hook-ups, so prepare for wood-fired meals instead. 

Better yet, the site is pet-friendly. When you arrive at the front of the campground, you can pay a small fee of $7.00 using the automatic pay station. 

Thorndike Campground

  • Open dates: Year round. Temporarily closed between 11 September and 20 September due to storm damage. 
  • Number of sites: 6
  • Types of camping available: Tents only 
  • Amenities: Picnic tables, fire pits, pit toilets

Death Valley has no shortage of first-come-first-serve primitive camping sites, and the Thorndike Campgrounds is no exception. Couple that with surrounding forests, a rugged desert landscape, and its remote location, and you’ll feel tucked away in the valley where no one can find you. 

On top of that, this site is only accessible on foot, by bike, or by high-clearance vehicles. While some may like the sound of that, if you think it’s too isolated, the other options on this list would be far better. 

However, you have to give credit where it’s due, and Thorndike showcases the desert’s surreal beauty like no other. Also, it’s free to camp here. 

Note: This area tends to be significantly lower in temperatures than other Death Valley regions due to its high elevation, so prepare for the colder environment. 

Emigrant Campground

  • Open dates: Year round
  • Number of sites: 10
  • Types of camping available: Tents only 
  • Amenities: Potable water, flush toilets, and picnic facilities on-site
Emigrant Campground, Death Valley, California, USA

Emigrant Campground is a small, 10-site gem overlooking the Cottonwood Mountains. This secluded stay offers a night under the stars surrounded by wilderness and rugged mountain peaks. 

There’s much to see and do nearby such as Scotty’s Castle, Keane Wonder Mine, and Wildrose Charcoal Kilns. After adventuring into the park, you can just sit here and admire the sunset. 

Camping here is free and available throughout the year. Pets can join, but only if they’re on a leash no longer than six feet. There’s bound to be some wildlife, but do not feed them unless you want Coyotes or Ravens on your doorstep. 

Practical Tips for Booking Campsites in Death Valley National Park 

  • The heat is no joke whether you’re in Death Valley during summer or winter. So, I recommend camping in the cooler months, from November to March. 
  • You don’t have to worry much about booking in advance as most camping sites rarely fill up. Reservations are also rarely necessary, but you might have to pay a park pass and entrance fee, which you can do in person at the Visitor Centre or campground entrance. 
  • Prepare for the unbearable heat before you make your booking, and only go if you know you can handle it. This means having ample water and sun protection, such as good sunblock and a wide-brimmed hat
  • If you want to bring your pup along, pets are welcome in some areas of the park that you can consider before booking. Just make sure that they’re on a leash

Camping in & Near Death Valley National Park: Map 

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