Explore the most popular off road driving trails in Death Valley National Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

off road driving
3 days ago

I would rate this "hard" in Oct '18. there are tricky spots along the way and it's 25 miles from a paved road. Not ideal for a Land Cruiser, but we made it. several narrow spots, no cell signal.

Great fun. Easy, interesting and you can hike and walk as other people drive

off road driving
1 month ago

FANTASTIC drive. Im a solo female in my 2014 JK--a novice off road--and i did just fine, but I was concentrating deeply to make sure my tires werent sliced up on the rocks. Also, you have to mind the curves, not just the terrain. It takes about a 2.5 hours in total if you take your time and enjoy it. At an hour in, you begin switchbacking down and up multi-colored, jagged cliffs. This alone is worth the drive from pavement over uneven, rocky desert. Watch for Black-tailed Jackrabbits. The canyon itself is more dramatic than I'd expected and there are plenty of areas where you're the only thing fitting through. This was my 6th time to DV and I'm so thankful i was finally A) in the right kind of vehicle and B) there when it was open!

off road driving
2 months ago

Definitely need an off roaring vehicle! Or something at least with high clearance. Once you start there’s no turning around.
One of my favourite places to date. Lots of wildlife and places to stop and do small hikes around. The old town is super cool too. Some people drive though it quickly, but honestly take your time and soak everything in. It’s gorgeous

off road driving
4 months ago

Ready for fun! Road is rough for the first ten mile due to washboarding. Scenery is terrific, very memorable and photogenic. We drove it on an off day, day after Memorial Day. Only saw two hikers, no other vehicles. Like purges said, just stay in the tracks and all will be well!

hiking
5 months ago

Did this in July!! 106’ just about lost my wife. She is not a great hiker but she was game. Not a tough hike, a lot of water crossing and rock climbing. The reward is the waterfall at the end. Enjoy!

The road is a long and bumpy ride. We drove in a Toyota Rav and has no issues thankfully but it took us 3 hours each way. I wouldn’t mess around with this, we saw no one out there.

The Grandstand or black rock structure was so awesome. It sticks out on as a stark distance between the playa. We climbed around on the rocks easily, it was very fun. Some bigger lizards too.

The Sailing Stones were my favorite. Unfortunately, a lot of people have vandalized them and you can tell the rocks that made the trails are not the rocks that someone placed there. There are also a lot of trails with no rocks at the beginning or end. It’s disappointing no one has respect for such an awesome phenomenon. There are some legitimate ones but I wish they would keep a better eye on the place.

Follow me on Instagram for pictures of the hikes and other adventures @wildrumpfie

hiking
6 months ago

A bit of an oasis as far as the Death Valley region is concerned. Not too traveled and quiet.

Was a nice trail but be cautious with crossing the stream paths. Be sure to wear proper shoes. Rocks can be slippery. Kids will be fine. It’s beautiful. There is a waterfall but it is not recommended for swimming.

Went from cotton wood canyon to Deadhorse Canyon to marble canyon. Only uphill to get out of cottonwood and cross into Deadhorse. We used this app GPS feature and hiking project GPS and where able to stay on trail the whole time. Had water in both cottonwood and Deadhorse.

off road driving
7 months ago

Great way to see Death Valley from off the paved main road which means no crowds of vehicles either slowing you or blocking your view. This time the road was in excellent condition to where any vehicle could make the whole road, however this has not been the case in the past. There are many spurs off this road to get into canyons or go to mines. We took the Warm Springs Canyon spur to the Geologist's Cabin (22 miles one way) and the Queen of Sheba Mine Road spur (4 miles one way). The Warm Springs Canyon spur gets very rough and rocky right about the time you get to Warm Springs Camp, some high clearance needed to continue on. The Queen of Sheba Mine Road spur is a jeep trail, super rocky, high clearance and some experience navigating your tires is a must.

off road driving
7 months ago

Awesome drive. The road wasn't as difficult to drive as the first time I was there about 10 years ago. We got to stay at the Geologist Cabin for one night. Loved it!

off road driving
8 months ago

Off-road clearance recommended and not really fo cars.
note that the trail is often washboarded and that can really slow you down.
There are a couple of good trails you can explore further (and an alternative out) but those are for experienced off-road drivers only.

hiking
8 months ago

I hiked from Shorty’s Well, just east of West of westside road, up the Jeep trail to the west for five miles. It was nice in early February.

had a great time. very easy road beautiful

had a great time. easy road

Good winter trip. Both springs running and I was able to get water. I ended up parking at the 2wd parking spot but in retrospect I could’ve saved hiking a few miles on rocky,sandy wash by driving into the divide. Getting down the dry falls on marble was a little tricky but it has some good hand and foot holds to help. Very few trail markers which made for a fun adventure.

10 months ago

Fun 4x4 drive through Mengel Pass into Death Valley. Not a difficult drive for a high clearance vehicle. Was able to get through easily with a Unimog 1300 camper. Stock SUV can get through but should take care.

Just was up there recently and weather was perfect! Wrote a little trip report too. Definitely be careful driving out there, we did get a flat tire on our way back! Still totally worth going to see this place in person.
http://www.shedreamsofalpine.com/blog/2017/12/6/a-weekend-in-death-valley-visit-the-racetrack-mesquite-flat-sand-dunes-and-badwater-basin

There is water at Cottonwood Springs and Deadhorse Canyon as of Thanksgiving weekend 2017. 4x4 is a must if you're going to start from the junction. I was in a Prius and our car made it to the 2WD parking lot 8 miles in on Cottonwood Marble Road. But it was bumpy and kind of scary. Do not attempt to drive beyond the parking area if you do not have an off-road vehicle. I was tracking our miles on my Garmin and having to hike the extra miles from the parking lot and missing some turns got us to 35 miles for this trip. It's stunning, a real adventure, but really for those with experience. Should not be attempted by newbies. We did it in 2.5 days and we never saw anyone else. I used the topo map on this app as well as following the NPS map and printed info. We also followed wild horse tracks when things got confusing and I found them to be reliable. The section from the second saddle to Deadhorse Canyon is as tricky as everyone says it is. You'll see the Canyon below but you don't see how to get down there. There is basically a steep gully you're supposed to go down. We ended up heading on a ridge instead and I kept wondering how we were supposed to get down there. Once I realized we missed the turn into the gully, we descended down the side of a mountain and slid all the way down to reach the gully (do not try this at home!). This is to say, be meticulous in looking for the second saddle/gully turn. I personally found the 8ft dryfall to be difficult to climb down but my bf scrambled halfway and just jumped. Then I threw our gear down for him to catch it. Climb on the left side of the fall, which has more handholds. There is also a turn we missed near the rock choke after the marble slots. But the trail heads up to the left before the choke. Look for cairns. Because daylight is scarce this time of year, we got up at 4am each day to start. We parked at the 2WD parking on the first night and hiked a little past the junction to setup camp for the night. We started at the junction going clockwise on the first day and ended for the day at North Valley. Second day we went from North Valley back to the 2WD parking. We carried 5L of water for each day and I found that to be enough, we refilled at Cottonwood Springs. Highly recommend it for the solitude and experience. Just do your research.

off road driving
11 months ago

Saline Valley Trail was closed, so I took "Saline Valley Road Drive" in, which is mile after mile of boring and monotonous washboard. Lippincott Mine Road was such a welcome change. Took the trail in a 2nd Gen Tacoma DCSB with 3" extended travel suspension, 32" BFGs and high clearance bumpers. Don't need a lot of clearance or anything extreme on this trail, but I wouldn't recommend anything that comes from the factory without a low-range t-case. Never used the locker, but the A-Trac did kick in a little in the front during some of the rockier sections. Gets pretty steep, off-camber and narrow with tight turns in the switch backs. Fun trail, with great views. The trail terminates at Homestake dry camp. If you pass through the camp and follow a rougher track you can find more private camping spots.

off road driving
11 months ago

Went solo and only took this trail from Ridgecrest to the Pinnacles, where I jumped off to head to the Nadeau Trail. I've got a 2nd Gen Tacoma DCSB TRD Off-Road with high clearance bumpers, Icon suspension at 3", 32" BFGs and the rocker killing running boards still installed. Clearance was never an issue, never used the locker and only really used the low range for comfort up climbs, though some of the climbs may be a little hairy in 2wd. Could do this first stretch pretty easily in a stock truck if are smart about your line in a couple places, but the two canyons get pretty tight and my truck was a little too long in places to easily get on the right line. Feels just right for the wheel base and track of a stock two-door wrangler, so wouldn't venture into the canyons with a full-sized unless I had decent clearance and rock sliders. Like most desert trails your clear-coat won't come out unscathed. Looks like a great trail for a bike with lots of smaller trails. One of the best stretches I took on this Death Valley trip. Tons of camping at the OHV area where the trail meets Trona Rd.

off road driving
Monday, October 02, 2017

West Side Road is a good way to experience the floor of Death Valley in relative seclusion. It also grants access to some areas you can't get to from the main paved road. The road is wide and easy, though rocky and heavily washboarded. However, the road is in Death Valley National Park, and traverses the valley floor where the park reaches its hottest temps, so be prepared to take care of yourself in the event of an emergency. There is no cell service, low likelihood of traffic coming by, and potentially dangerous temperatures many times of the year. Honestly, I wouldn't recommend any solo off-road exploration in the low elevations of DVNP during the summer months and definitely don't go without a lot of extra water just in case. The danger here comes not so much from the conditions of the road (as long as you're expecting a back country desert road), but the remoteness of the location and the extreme environment.

off road driving
Monday, October 02, 2017

A nice, short diversion, easy to drive when last I knew. The trail leads up to a narrow mountain canyon where you can get out and hike further if you'd like. We stopped pretty early on due to a dry fall, definitely be prepared for some boulder scrambling if you want to go further. We also couldn't find the mine ruins that are supposedly located here, but either way, the canyon has a lot of interesting rocks in vibrant colors, and you get a great view down into Death Valley from the parking spot at the top.

off road driving
Monday, August 28, 2017

Beautiful views, easy for the most part although in some areas it would definitely be better to have a high clearance 4x4. Leadfield mine and the petroglyphs are must stops.

off road driving
Friday, July 21, 2017

West Side Road allows you to drive right through the salt flats, it's a pretty cool experience. But please, STAY ON THE ROAD. Please be respectful of the natural beauty of the flats and don't be that guy and drive off the designated road.

The road transitions between sand and rock with a few washouts. While 4wd is recommended, it is not required. I would say high clearance is mandatory, and I recommend airing down your tires, going with a group, and bringing plenty of water. It was around 120 degrees when we went and we didn't see a single person out there, or a park ranger for that matter.

off road driving
Friday, July 21, 2017

Air down those tires 'cause Harry Wade is a rough ride. It's not technical by any means and it switches between rocky and soft sand. We went during the summer and there were a few washouts but nothing too bad, but didn't see anyone else on the trail so please go as a group and bring lots of water. High clearance vehicles are highly recommended, and 4wd recommended but not necessarily mandatory.

off road driving
Saturday, July 01, 2017

Fun trail, took a stock DCSB 2016 Tacoma TRD off-road on it and took the truck to its limits. Plenty of high incline crawling, speedy washouts, and very deep mud in the lakebed. Took hits in the under body armor, and went quick enough in the washouts to bottom out the shocks. You can do the trail finding easier ways to get around though. All around fun trail, easy in a modified rig, much more technical in a stock rig like the one I used.

off road driving
Sunday, June 25, 2017

So many amazing parts to this drive. Each time you think it can't get better, it does. The end is just spectacular and so much fun to drive.

off road driving
Monday, May 29, 2017

Outstanding place! Couple sections on this drive and they are all unique in their own ways. Really need to experience it yourself, I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Fairly easy drive if you have the right vehicle, heck, saw a Camry half way through after a pretty hard drive. Make sure your vehicle is equipped with off roading shocks otherwise you just have to take it slow to avoid shock fade. Really don't need 4x4 however would make it a little easier on the switch backs. High clearance is also optional be there are some dips and wholes so expect some scrapes. Or just drive a rental like the Camry I saw and not care about all that.

We were there on Memorial Day weekend which is the hottest time of the year to go. It was over 100 degrees and miserable but the trade off is there's hardly anyone there.

The trail is one way only! Starts on the back side of Death Valley on the Nevada side.

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