March is a perfect month to visit Death Valley National Park in California (http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&pageID=547422). John and I were there last year in March with our thirty-foot Jazz fifth wheel trailer. It was warm but not yet into the one-hundred-degree temperatures that start around mid-April and occur throughout the summer.
We approached Death Valley National Park from the northwest using Interstate 395, 136 and 190. It was a long, hard haul. We don’t recommend it. After we arrived at the Furnace Creek Campground (http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/furnacecreekarea.htm) and talked with other park visitors, we learned that most experienced RVers enter the Park from the south and have a much more enjoyable drive. We’ll enter from the south when we visit next time.
It costs twenty dollars to enter the Park for seven days. Furnace Creek Campground has one-hundred-thirty-six sites, has water and a dump station. It only cost us eighteen dollars per night to stay at Furnace Creek. America the Beautiful senior pass holders http://www.nps.gov/findapark/passes.htm were able to camp for less than half the nightly fee. What a deal!
We could have made reservations to stay at Furnace Creek Campground but we found that there was plenty camping available when we arrived without one. The commerce section across the road from the campground offered a chance for entertainment. John enjoyed the hot tub at the Inn and I enjoyed strolls through the Museum and the grounds.
I must say that with the dry dusty soil, our little cavalier spaniel Gingee suffered with allergies some because she was right down there in it. We gave her frequent water rinses to remove the dust and dirt from her coat. (Death Valley gets less than two inches of rainfall per year.)
There is a little market across from the campground where you can get limited groceries and there are also a few restaurants. But I’d recommend going in with the food that you like and need to last through your time in Death Valley.
The real treat on the trip was exploring the surrounding area and history. Artist’s Drive is a nine-mile paved road that provided several hours of beautiful views. Artist’s Palette which is partway through the drive was photogenic in the late afternoon.
Of course you can’t visit Death Valley without exploring the Harmony Borax Works site. The Twenty Mule Team (http://www.nps.gov/deva/historyculture/twenty-mule-teams.htm) wagon exhibit at the site brought back memories of the commercials of the 1960’s that promoted the Twenty-mule-team Borax Soap and the TV program – Death Valley Days.
The mule team wagons also conjure an image of the actual 1880’s working site. You can look over into the surrounding desert where workers actually took the borax from the ground and loaded it into the wagons. From there the borax was hauled one-hundred-sixty-five miles which took ten days of travel for the mule teams.
Another great Death Valley site is Zabriskie Point. The eroded and colorful badlands is spectacular. It has an other-worldly feel and look. Each RVer needs to visit Death Valley National Park at least once in his or her life.
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