Friday, October 4 Through Tuesday, October 8, 2019
From Hawthorn Nevada, we drove US-95 south to Beatty Nevada.
On US-95, we found an oasis like rest stop with plenty of shade.
There was even a parking lot for larger rigs.
National Park concessionaire gas stations are always super expensive. Our last chance to fill the truck with cheaper fuel was in Beatty at the Nut & Candy Company for $3.359 per gallon Diesel. Nice place with clean restrooms.
From Beatty, we took NV-374 west to the California border. Death Valley National Park’s boundary is before the California-Nevada state line. In California, the highway turns into CA-190. The NV-374/CA-190 road from Beatty to Stovepipe Wells is also known as Daylight Pass Road. Beatty elevation is 3,307 feet. Daylight pass elevation is 4,317 feet. The ranger station next to the campground is at sea level. The highway has steep grades, as high as 8% in places. There are sharp turns. The shoulders are often narrow with with steep drop-offs.
The concessionaire campground, called Stovepipe Wells RV Park, can best be described as a single row gravel parking lot with wide parking spaces separated by water, sewer and electric hookups. The sites are level enough that few campers bother to level.
Campers check in at the hotel registration desk across the highway.
Campers should walk through the courtyard/lobby area all the way back to the doors below the “Room Registration” sign. The hotel and RV park registration desk is straight back inside on the left. Clean unisex restrooms, which might be useful after a long drive, are outside in the courtyard to the left and right of the above doors.
This isn’t run like a normal RV park so campers will need to use their good judgement on where to park during registration. Campground fees don’t cover National Park fees.
Be sure to stop in at a ranger station to pay any required National Park use fees.
A benefit to staying in the concessionaire’s campground beyond the hookups is the use of the resort facilities like the pool and bathhouse shown above. Access to resort facilities requires a card key that must be refreshed daily at the registration desk. For some unknown reason, the registration clerk activated the card key for our entire stay so we didn’t need to go through the daily activation chore.
Unfortunately, the showers, only available during pools hours 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, didn’t have private dressing rooms. We showered in our camper. A number of the campers staying in our campground used the pool everyday.
The resort also has a bar and a restaurant. One or both of them is open at mealtimes depending on volume. When they aren’t that busy, only one of them opens.
The bar, called the Badwater Saloon, also sells bar food.
The day we had lunch at the Badwater Saloon, we both had fish and chips.
The fish portions were a bit smallish but the food came out quickly and was delivered hot.
Badwater Saloon looks like it could be a fun place to spend an evening in season.
Across the highway from the resort and between the resort and the campgrounds is the General Store.
The general store sells regular unleaded gas (no Diesel), some food and snacks, keepsakes and clothing. It also has unisex bathrooms but you have to look for them on the outside of the building.
We bought t-shirts and Death Valley National Park stickers here.
We filled the Jeep with gas before each day of exploring. Unleaded Regular Gas cost $4.600 per gallon, the highest I’ve ever paid for gas. Ever!
Death Valley’s season starts in September/October and ends in April/May. While we were there, the daily highs at Stovepipe Wells were in the upper 90’s (Fahrenheit). Morning lows ran in the mid 60’s. We ran the air conditioner during the day to keep the dogs cool while we explored the park. In the evenings and through the morning hours, we kept the windows open and ran ceiling vent fans. There was quite a bit of dust in the air. The Milky Way could barely be seen at night.
We stayed in this campsite for four nights to use as our base for exploring Death Valley National Park.
We used our portable dog fences to create a corral for the dogs.
In the afternoons and into evening, the RV shaded the curb side making it a pleasant place to sit outside.
The other campers around us were fun to talk to.
Dusk, dawn, sunrises and sunsets were all spectacular.
West of and next to Stovepipe Wells RV Park is Stovepipe Wells National Park Service Campground. Bathrooms with flush toilets and water in the area are the only amenities. The park service lists a dump station for this campground. I did not find it.
Generators are allowed. This campground is also a gravel parking lot. Little markers and faded lines on the ground separate campsites.
Free WIFI is available to everyone in the Resort’s outside lobby area. Even when the park was relatively empty, WIFI service was so slow as to be unusable. AT&T mobile service was one bar and off network making mobile data impractical. AT&T did make and receive calls. Verizon signal strength flipped between one and four bars of 1X. Enough to get calls and enough data to sometimes get weather info. Not enough to get a Facebook page to load.
There are no available OTA (Over-The-Air) TV stations and cable service is not provided.
We had a blast staying here. This location makes a good base camp. Next time we will switch campgrounds just for fun.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!