Death Valley is a record-setter, through and through. The air has reached 134° Fahrenheit, the ground 201°, both the absolute hottest ever recorded in the world. It holds the record for the lowest national park in the US, with less than two and a half inches of rain falling over the park most years. It’s also the largest of the national parks in the contiguous 48.
Despite these numbers, which essentially add up to a vast desert wasteland unfit for human habitation, Death Valley still manages to attract well over a million visitors every year. Whether they’re coming to golf at the conundrum that is the 18 hole course located in the middle of the park or they arrive in search of the rare, but truly amazing, superbloom where the park erupts in flowers during particularly rainy seasons (think five or six inches all year), many of these desert roaming nomads find themselves looking for a place to camp come nightfall, and Death Valley doesn’t wont to disappoint.
While the vast majority of camping directly in the park is dry camping only, options for full hookups not only surround Death Valley, but are sprinkled across the park itself. The famed Furnace Creek Campground offers both a central location to explore everything Death Valley has to offer while affording your rig all of the water, electric and sewer hookups it desires. It’s also next door to a visitors center and museum, as well as conveniently ’round the corner from a gas station. Just make sure to book a reservation well in advance as you won’t be the first person to lean toward the convenience of all of these amenities while camping in this desert.
Additional hot spots abound for those who don’t need to rely on such modern conveniences. Texas Springs, while offering little in the way of shade or privacy–as open expanses of desert where little to nothing grows naturally tend toward–puts you near the same visitors center, gas station and other park features as Furnace Creek, but offers a more serene and natural experience in general. If solace and seclusion tops your list of ideal campgrounds, however–and you have a relatively short vehicle or trailer combo–Wildrose Campground is removed from the park’s more popular, bustling centers, and is also gloriously free. Located at an elevation of over 4200′, it tends to be cooler than the lower parts of Death Valley as well, though everything is relative in a place that takes its name from the Grim Reaper.
If you’re looking for the best of both worlds, near Mesquite Dunes one can opt for either the full hookup offering at Stovepipe Wells Village RV Park–which comes with the additional benefits of showers, a general store and even a swimming pool–or next door’s similarly named Stovepipe Wells Campground, a dry camping affair that–unlike Wildrose–still includes flushing toilets.
When all else fails, a parking lot posing as a campground by the name of Sunset, near Furnace Creek, has cheap (but still paid) camping that rarely fills up. Should you have a basic disregard for clothing, the “warm” springs of Saline Valley are an out of the way place to camp and shed that which nature didn’t send you into this world with, and if going well out of your way tickles your tailpipe, there’s a Joshua Tree forest where you can camp within Death Valley National Park as well.
Free BLM Camping Near Death Valley
Plenty of free camping on Bureau of Land Management deserts surround the national park, whether you’re just looking for a place to stop before entering the park or prefer the prospects of slightly more alone time than what you may find in the increasingly popular Death Valley proper. On the Nevada side, open spaces like Wheeler Pass Road and Bombo’s Pond provide just that, including stubborn wildlife and an actual small body of water at the latter.
If you’re coming from the Eastern Sierras, on the California side the options are even more abundant, with Nadeau Road being a crowd favorite. Before setting out on any remote adventure, and particularly in the desert, you’ll want to brush up on your Boondocking 101 to make sure you have a safe experience, and leave the land as you found it.
Full Hookup RV Camping Outside of Death Valley
While full hookups are available within the park, they’re not exactly available at the spur of the moment. If you find yourself in Death Valley without a reservation, but still want hookups, an amalgam of private RV parks and resorts can be had.
Wine Ridge RV Resort, for example, offers everything from pickleball to WiFi, two swimming pools to a bocce court. Shoshone RV Park, while on a smaller scale, is probably the closest RV park to the entrance of Death Valley while not being officially in the park.
Given the immensity of Death Valley in sheer acreage though, a little planning ahead makes choosing one of the full hookup campgrounds directly in Death Valley all the more appealing.