If one loves the searing heat so much that one would like to be frizzlied in it, then consider camping in Death Valley National Park. Death Valley is known as one of the hottest places in the world with perhaps the hottest temperature ever reliably recorded being measured there in 2020. Death Valley has camping year round, so one can enjoy the blistering heat to one's heart's content.
If one can handle the extreme heath, Death Valley is very much worth visiting (alternatively just come in the winter when the temperatures are mild). Death Valley is more than the hottest, driest, and lowest place in the United States. Death Valley is also home to ghost towns and moving rocks - it is an other-worldly environment right in California. In this article we will only discuss National Park Service Campgrounds in the National Park and no private campgrounds.
Winter/Spring Season Camping
The best time for camping in Death Valley is basically anytime other than the summer. In the spring and autumn the temperatures can be pleasant, while winter temperatures can plummet to below freezing. In the winter there can even be snow in Death Valley - it is a world of extremes!
- Winter/Spring Season: October 15th - April 15th
Apart from the popular Furnace Creek Campground, all the campgrounds in Death Valley are one a first-come, first-served basis. If Furnace Creek is fully booked, then there still likely camping places in the valley, like at Sunset CG or Stovepipe Wells CG that rarely fill up, even during busy times or on weekends.
- Payment: By An Automated Machine At The Campground
The National Park Service campgrounds open in Death Valley during the winter season are:
- Furnace Creek: Open Year Around; Reservations Only Oct 15 to April 15
- Sunset At Furnace Creek: Open Late Fall to Spring
- Texas Springs at Furnace Creek: Open Late Fall to Spring
- Stovepipe Well: Open Late Fall to Spring
- Mesquite Spring: Open All Year
- Emigrant: Open All Year (Tents Only)
- Wildrose: Open All Year
- Thorndike: Typically Open Late Spring To Fall
- Mahagany Flat: Typically Open Late Spring To Fall
Many of these campgrounds are free (not Furnace Creek or Sunset and Texas Springs close to Furnace Creek).
Summer Season Camping
One should be careful about camping in Death Valley during the summer because of the extreme temperatures. Remember it is possible for midnight temperatures to still be over 100 F or 37 C. During the summer, most of the campgrounds are closed and only a few are open on account of those extreme temperatures.
- Summer: May - September
- Booking: first-come, first-serve
Still people come and camp in the summer and what space there is can be complete filled out on Holiday weekends (Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day). Other campgrounds at higher elevations can be full of most weekends during the summer months.
The campground open year round (so including the summer) are:
- Furnace Creek: Open In Summer
- Mesquite Spring: Open In Summer
- Emigrant: Open In Summer
- Wildrose: Open in Summer
Furnace Creek Campground
One of the main campgrounds is Furnace Creek Campground. It is one of the few that are open year round. It is possible to make reservations at Furnace Creek, but they must be made at least 2 days in advance and can be made up to 6 months in advance.
Furnace Creek is also the campground in the national park that require reservations in advance - most of the others work on a first come/first served year round.
- Reservations: The Only NPS Campground in Death Valley That Accepts Reservations (Summer Months)
- First Come/First Served: Winter Months
- Popular: It is The Most Popular Campground In The Park
- Tip: Plan In Advance, Furnace Creek is Normally Fully Booked
If one is planning to camp at Furnace Creek, then one should plan in advance. The reservations have completely booked out in recent years. Reservations are only possible for the summer season between October 15 and April 15. The rest of the year is it also a first come/first served basis.
- Standard Fee: $22
The campground is well situated being close to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Furnace Creek is also one of the few campgrounds to have all the main facilities - flushing toilets, tables, water, fire pits, and a dump station.
Furnace Creek Campground only has 18 full hookup sites and these are often booked 6 months in advance.