In this 2 Days in Death Valley itinerary Post, you can read what you need to know to explore the Death Valley National Park from where to stay, what to do, how to get there, and more from my experiences for first-time visitors.
Death Valley is one of the hottest Places on the Earth and the lowest point in North America. The Death Valley National Park is spread out across Nevada and California considered an awe-inspiring place on the earth! The Park spans over 3.4 million acres and is known for its scorching temperatures, rugged terrain, and otherworldly beauty.
If you think it’s just another national park in the USA, you are wrong! Death Valley is one of the mesmerizing places with incredible canyons, the Lowest Point in North America and epic sand dunes, and even a crater in the Park! You can easily cover most of the main attractions of Death Valley in 2-3 days.
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Are you planning your trip to Death Valley last minute?
If you are booking your 2 Days Trip to Death Valley NP last minute, we have you covered. Below are some of the top tours, hotels, and more!
Top Tours and Activities to Death Valley:
- Small group Death Valley tour from Vegas (top-selling tour!)
- Death Valley photo and stargazing tour (includes wine tasting!)
- Death Valley Full–Day Tour from Las Vegas (Includes Ghost Town Visit)
- Death Valley Sunset and Star Gazing Tour from Las Vegas
Visiting Death Valley by Car on your own? Be sure to book your rental car ahead of time to ensure availability!
Top Hotels to Stay in Death Valley:
Death Valley National Park is one of the most visited National Parks of the USA and I will tell you why! It does not just have outwardly landscapes but also gives once in lifetime experiences! With its stunning vistas, geological wonders, and fascinating history, Death Valley is a must-see destination for adventurers, nature lovers, and curious travelers alike.!
You can hit the main attractions within the park in a few days. This 2 day Death Valley Itinerary travel guide will answer most of your questions about how to explore Death Valley in 2 Days and how to maximize your time in the park!
- 1 Death Valley National Park Itinerary: Quick Overview
- 2 How To Plan a Weekend in Death Valley National Park?
- 3 Practical Information for 2 Days in Death Valley
- 4 Best Time to Visit Death Valley
- 5 How to Get to Death Valley National Park
- 6 Death Valley from Las Vegas Tours
- 7 Death Valley Entrance Payment
- 8 How Many Days in Death Valley?
- 9 Death Valley Visitor Centers
- 10 Important Things to Know while planning 2 days Death Valley Itinerary
- 11 How to Spend 2 Days in Death Valley: 48 Hours Itinerary
- 11.1 Day 1: Dante’s View, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, Artists Drive, and Badwater Basin
- 11.2 Day One: Morning
- 11.3 Day One: Afternoon
- 11.4 Day 2 of 2 Days Death Valley Itinerary
- 11.5 Day 2: Mosaic Canyon, Salt Creek, Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
- 11.6 Day Two: Morning
- 11.7 Day Two: Afternoon
- 12 What to do with 3 Days in Death Valley?
- 13 What to Do With One Day in Death Valley National Park
- 14 My Suggested 2 Days in Death Valley Itinerary
- 15 Where to Stay in Death Valley
- 16 Camping in Death Valley National Park
- 17 Conclusion 2 Days in Death Valley
Death Valley National Park Itinerary: Quick Overview
Death Valley is spread across the states of Nevada and California. In this 2 days Death Valley itinerary, I’ve covered major sightseeing attractions, visitor center information, Park entrance, etc for a memorable experience in this US National Park.
The best way to see Death Valley National Park is by breaking the part into two sections – north and south. These days are interchangeable as per your convenience and I will share tips on how to avoid extreme heat while you are planning the best two days in death valley.
How To Plan a Weekend in Death Valley National Park?
Compared to other national parks, planning a Death Valley trip for 2 days is very easy! I’ve covered all the terms of the 2 days in the Death Valley itinerary like when to visit, where to stay, top things to do and see within, etc.
This is crucial because you really need to plan ahead in order to maximize your time and make the most of your time in Death Valley! On this Death Valley suggested itinerary, I have broken it down into different sections that cover nearly the entire national park.
Practical Information for 2 Days in Death Valley
Best Time to Visit Death Valley
As Death Valley is considered the hottest place on the earth and the driest place in North America, Death Valley temperatures are no joke!! The temperatures in summer can reach up to 134 degrees Fahrenheit! Read more about the weather and climate in Death Valley here.
The Temperatures in Death Valley National Park are no Joke and they can reach up to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in summer! If you are okay with the heat, you’ll find fewer crowds and cheaper lodging during your visit! But I would advise you to exercise extra caution during summer(June to August).
While many other national parks experience closures during wintertime, Death Valley is the perfect destination for a winter adventure! December to January is a good time to visit if you want to avoid the extreme heat of summer and experience cooler temperatures.
Fall and Spring are the most popular times to visit Death Valley, as the temperatures are milder and more comfortable for outdoor activities. I visited Death Valley during the Late Fall and it was the perfect time with cool temperatures.
The fall season from September to November offers pleasant temperatures, fewer crowds, and the chance to see fall foliage in higher elevations.
The spring season February to May brings wildflowers, greenery, and pleasant temperatures and gives you the best experience. It’s a great time to see the wildflowers during peak blooms but try to book accommodation in advance as it will be more crowded. So, keep this in mind when you plan your 2 days in Death Valley.
So, the best time to visit Death Valley depends on your preferences and interests but I must say avoid the Summer Season from June to August !!
How to Get to Death Valley National Park
Death Valley is on the eastern border of California, which is adjacent to Nevada. In fact, if you leave the park through the east entrance, you’ll enter Nevada as soon as you leave the park.
From Las Vegas
The McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas is the closest airport to Death Valley National Park. You can land at the McCarren International Airport and drive to Death Valley. The distance from McCarran Airport to Death Valley is 120 miles, and the drive time is approximately 2-2.5 hours and you’ll arrive through the east entrance of the park.
I highly recommend renting a car from Las Vegas. The national park does not have any public transportation or shuttles available.
If you’re coming from the California side, it’s still easy to get to the park and the drive is beautiful. The drive from Los Angles to Death Valley takes around 4.5 hours depending on the traffic. It’s the second most convenient way to do it, and it makes a nice weekend getaway from the hustle and bustle of LA.
There are two entrances from Los Angeles to Death Valley: West Entrance via CA-14 N and US-395N and North Entrance via I-15 N and CA-127 N. Check Google Maps to see which route is going to be faster!
The Western entrance will take you past Mosaic Canyon and Mesquite Sand Dunes, while the eastern entrance takes you to Dante’s View and Zabriskie Point, which are two amazing sunset spots.
Death Valley from Las Vegas Tours
If you don’t want to drive yourself, you can opt for Guided Tours from Las Vegas. There are several guided tours available from Las Vegas that include transportation to and from Death Valley.
These tours may also include stops at popular landmarks and attractions within the park, as well as a knowledgeable guide to provide information about the park’s history and geology. Here are a few options to consider:
- Death Valley Small Group Day Adventure From Las Vegas
- Death Valley Day Trip from Las Vegas (all Major attractions covered)
- Death Valley Explorer Tour by Tour Trekker
- From Las Vegas: Death Valley & Rhyolite Ghost Town Day Trip
Death Valley Entrance Payment
The fees are different for entering Death Valley National Park, and it depends on what type of Vehicle you are using!
- For individual travelers on foot or bicycle: $15 per person
- For motorcycle travelers: $25 per motorcycle
- For vehicles: $30 per vehicle
- For annual Death Valley Pass: $55
You can do online payment of park entrance fees at Recreation.gov OR in-person Payment of park entrance fees using a credit card. There are electronic kiosks at most entrances where you can pay the entrance fee 24/7:
- Furnace Creek Visitor Center
- Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station
- Grapevine Ranger Station
- Ryan Kiosk (east entrance to park on Hwy 190)
- Zabriskie Point
- Hell’s Gate (Daylight Pass Road)
The other option for payment of park entrance fees is using a credit card at one of the many 24/7 kiosks. This is the more convenient option, especially if you are limited in time.
You can find these kiosks at some of the popular locations such as:
- Furnace Creek Visitor Center
- Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station
- Grapevine Ranger Station
- Ryan Kiosk (east entrance to park on Hwy 190)
- Zabriskie Point
But I highly recommend getting America the Beautiful Annual Pass (an $80 yearly pass) if you plan on visiting two or more national parks in a year.
How Many Days in Death Valley?
The number of days you need to explore Death Valley depends on your interests, goals, and available time. However, to get a good overview of the park and see many of its highlights, I would recommend spending two days in Death Valley.
Within two days, you can explore the main attractions and landmarks in the park, such as Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, Dante’s View, Artist’s Drive, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, and the Ubehebe Crater. You can also take scenic drives, go on short hikes, and learn about the park’s history and geology at the Visitor Center.
But if you have 3 days in Death Valley, then exploration will totally depend on which type of vehicle you have! As many of the roads in Death Valley are unpaved and it’s not suitable for regular cars such as sedans or hatchbacks etc. So, if you have only 2 days in death valley, you can explore all the highlights without a high-clearance vehicle!
But if you have a high clearance 4WD vehicle, you can explore some off-the-beaten-path places and ride the most amazing landscapes roads of death valley for 3 days! So, keep this in mind when you are renting a car!
Death Valley Visitor Centers
There are in total two visitor centers. The first one has located at Furnace Creek, and the second one is located at Stovepipe Wells Village.
Furnace Creek’s working hours are 8 AM to 5 PM and open every day of the year, including holidays. The Stovepipe Wells Village visitor center working hours are 9 AM to 4 PM and open VARIABILITY.
Important Things to Know while planning 2 days Death Valley Itinerary
When planning a trip to Death Valley, there are several things to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.
- Death Valley is known for its extreme temperatures, especially during the summer months. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip and prepare accordingly. Bring plenty of water, sunscreen, a hat, and light-colored clothing to protect yourself from the sun and heat. In winter, temperatures can drop to freezing at night, so bring warm clothing as well.
- There are only a few places to eat in Death Valley – mostly at Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells. So make sure to bring packed lunch if possible and plenty of water with you.
- Death Valley is a vast park with limited cell phone service, so Expect to have little to no cell service within the park! Make sure to download the Offline Google Maps or grab a paper map from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center! Also, you can Print this death valley itinerary in advance!
- The official Park map has handy markings that show which roads are paved, which are unpaved but suitable for regular passenger vehicles, and which roads require 4WD / high-clearance
- Death Valley is a big park, over 3.4 Million acres which means you’ll be driving a lot. You’ll find the gas stations at both Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells, but it’s going to cost you a lot so I suggest Keeping your gas tank full and filling up outside of the park when possible to avoid any mishaps later in the day!
- Due to weather or other safety concerns, some park roads, trails, and facilities may be closed at any time. Check the National Park website or call ahead to get the latest updates on closures and conditions.
- There are several options for lodging and camping in Death Valley, but they can fill up quickly during peak season. Be sure to book your accommodations in advance and check for availability. Some campgrounds and facilities may be closed during certain times of the year due to weather conditions. I suggest staying in a nearby city like Pahrump(NV) or Lone Pine(CA) to save a few bucks on your stay!
How to Spend 2 Days in Death Valley: 48 Hours Itinerary
Start your 2 days in Death Valley itinerary by visiting the southern circuit of Death Valley. You’ll visit the highest point and lowest points in death valley.
But sadly, you’ll have to choose between two Best Sunrise spots in the Park- Dante’s View and Zabriskie Point. For me, Zabriskie Point is better than Dante’s View but you can choose Dante’s View from an itinerary perspective.
Day 1: Dante’s View, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, Artists Drive, and Badwater Basin
Day One: Morning
Dante’s View is one of the most dramatic and popular viewpoints in Death Valley National Park, offering panoramic views at an elevation of 5000 feet overlooking the Badwater Basin- the lowest point in North America.
To get here, you’ll turn off Highway 190 and drive for 13 miles on Dantes View Road. The road is steep and winding but is accessible by most vehicles. There is a parking area at the end of the road, as well as restrooms and picnic tables.
Once you arrive at the parking lot for Dantes View, take a short walk to Dante’s Viewpoint and you’ll be rewarded with a bird’s-eye view of Death Valley and stunning vistas! Just looking at the colors of the sky and the changing light makes for a truly memorable experience.
Make sure to look for Badwater Basin from here which you’re going to visit during the day!
Twenty Mule Team Canyon
On the way from Dante’s View to Zabriskie Point is Twenty Mule Team Canyon, a road that was once used for transporting borax during mining operations! The canyon is named after the teams of 20-mule that were used to take borax out of the desert. It’s one of the scenic drives within the park.
The road is a one-way, unpaved loop that is approximately 2.7 miles long and takes about 30 minutes to drive. The road is suitable for most vehicles but be prepared for some rough patches and washboard sections.
Along the way, you’ll see colorful rock formations, abandoned mines, and other remnants of the valley’s mining history. There are several pullouts along the road where you can stop and take photos or you can do a short hike to a vista point. foot. If you want to hike, I suggest completing before noon or doing it in the afternoon!
The next Stop of the Day is Zabriskie Point and it’s one of the spectacular points in the Deth Valley National Park which you shouldn’t miss in your 2 days Death Valley Itinerary.
I didn’t make it here during sunrise but watched the sunset from Zabriskie Point. It offers stunning panoramic views of the park’s colorful yellow and brown badlands and eroded rock formations. The light enhances the colors and textures of the landscape at golden hour! Sunset and sunrise are beautiful at this Point and not to miss it!
A short, paved walk from the parking lot takes you up to a platform with panoramic views. To the south, you’ll see the rolling golden hills of Twenty Mule Team Canyon from above.
To the north, you can see the views of Badwater Basin, with magnificent textures in the rocks that form picturesque waves.
You can also opt for a one-fourth-mile hike on the paved Badlands Loop Trail, starting from the parking lot and past yellow and brown striped badlands, which will lead you to Zabriskie Point.
In addition to the viewpoint, there are several hiking trails that start from Zabriskie Point, including the Golden Canyon Trail and the Gower Gulch Loop to see unique formations up close.
Golden Canyon Hike
If you are keen to explore the otherworldly landscape of Golden Canyon and experience Death Valley National Park’s rich mining past, then you must hike Golden Gulch Loop Trail. As you have 2 days in Death Valley, I highly suggest taking at least one hiking trail to experience the amazing landscapes of the valley.
There are two options to start this hike- one from the Golden Canyon Trail Parking area and the other from Zabriskie Point. You can opt for it at your convenience.
The main route is a 6.5-mile loop that takes you from Zabriskie Point, down through Golden Canyon to the Golden Canyon Trailhead, and back up through Gower Gulch. (check the NPS Map that I am talking about!)
But you can opt for a shorter hike, take Golden Canyon Trail to Red Cathedral- a 2.9 mile out and back trail that’s moderately difficult. Along the way, you’ll see towering rock formations, colorful mineral deposits, and interesting geological features, such as the Red Cathedral and the Manly Beacon.
Get ready to discover the secrets of the Valley’s geological history while taking in the breathtaking vistas along your hike.
Bring plenty of water as heat can be harsh!
Day One: Afternoon
After the hiking, drive to Furnace Creek and stop at the Visitor Center to learn about the history, geology, and wildlife of Death Valley.
Must check out the giant thermometer at the Visitors Center, which gives you the temperature reading.
You can grab lunch at the Furnace Creek Ranch or the Inn at Furnace Creek.
Now after taking some rest, head out again for a scenic drive along Badwater Road.
Artist Drive & Artist’s Palette
From Furnace Creek Visitor Center, head towards Badwater Road for 12 miles. Artist Drive is a 9-mile one-way scenic drive through the iconic Rainbow Hills of Death Valley National Park!
Artist’s Palette is one of the most unique attractions in Death Valley National Park that will make you in awe of the jaw-dropping landscapes.
Artist Drive is a one-way, 9-mile road that winds through narrow canyons and past towering rock formations, while after driving for 5 miles, you’ll reach Artist’s Palette.
The Artist Drive road is narrow and winding, with several hairpin turns and steep sections, but is suitable for most vehicles. Along the way, you’ll see colorful rock formations, including pink, green, and purple hills, and can stop at several pullouts to take photos. You should stop to soak in the amazing views or taking photos for your Instagram account!
At the end of Artist Drive, you’ll reach Artist’s Palette, a scenic viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of the multicolored hills and canyons.
The multi colors are caused by mineral deposits and oxidation of the rocks, and create a stunning and otherworldly landscape of death valley.
There’s a nice platform view from the parking lot, but for the best view, climb up the hill to your left, which has a well-worn path that leads to an overlook where you’ll be able to see the colors of the Palette in all their glory.
Devil’s Golf Course
If you want to squeeze in one more place in your death valley itinerary, then turn left once you exit Artists Drive and head down Badwater Road. You’ll see a sign for Devil’s Golf Course on your right within just a few minutes.
The road is unpaved and can be rough, so high-clearance vehicles are recommended.
The area is named for its rough and jagged appearance, which early explorers compared to a golf course that only the devil could play on!!
The landscape at Devil’s Golf Course is the result of thousands of years of salt deposition and erosion. As water evaporates, salt crystals are left behind, which are then sculpted by wind and rain into jagged and spiky formations.
This gives a unique appearance in death valley! You can walk around on foot, being careful not to step on the delicate salt formations.
If you want to skip this you can visit Harmony Borax Works, a few minutes away from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. This quick stop will teach you about the history of borax mining in Death Valley.
Sunset at Badwater Basin
The last stop of the first day of your 2 days in Death Valley Itinerary is Badwater Basin- The Lowest Point in North America, end your day by watching the sunset here!
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be 282 feet below sea level? If not, head to death valley national park to find it out. Also, remember the Dante’s Viewpoint you visited in the morning that gives a view of Salt flats from 5000 ft above? So, here you’ll visit it up close and personal!
You’ll need to drive further down Badwater Road, just a 20-minute drive from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Once you arrive, you need about 15 minutes to walk from the parking area to reach the salt flats where you can really see the patterns in the salt formations.
You’ll be amazed to know that the salt flats at Badwater Basin cover over 200 square miles and are the result of thousands of years of evaporation and salt deposition!
The constantly changing cycle of the wind and rain sculpts the landscape. You can walk across the basin for about a mile to get the best views of the surrounding landscapes and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience!
At sunset, the light enhances the textures and colors of the salt flats making it outwardly landscape. Watching the sunset at Badwater must be on your bucket list!
Make sure to stay on designated paths and avoid damaging the delicate salt formations. It’s a very fragile ecosystem, and you could disturb it.
Day 2 of 2 Days Death Valley Itinerary
On the second day of your Death Valley Trip, you are going to drive towards the North of the valley. Start your day with the hike as it might get hot during the day !! and end your day with a glorious sunset over Mesquite Sand Dunes.
Day 2: Mosaic Canyon, Salt Creek, Ubehebe Crater, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Day Two: Morning
If you want to go for sunrise on the second day in Death Valley, choose to watch it at Zabriskie Point. I recommend arriving 30-45 minutes before sunrise to settle in and find a spot before the sun comes up!
Start your day by exploring Death Valley’s Geology at its finest in Mosaic Canyon, home to towering walls of mosaic-like rock formations. These walls are smooth and shiny and look like they have been polished by water over millions of years
It is located about an hour away from the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Start early for the day to hike the canyon as it will be quite hot during the afternoon and also harsh sun will affect the Photographing the canyon walls!
There are several hikes of varying difficulty levels but the most popular is a 4-mile round-trip hike. The hike begins from the parking lot at the end of Mosaic Canyon Road, from where you need to head south into the wide wash called Lower Mosaic Canyon.
After 0.5 miles, you will see how the canyon narrows significantly, and you’ll be up close and personal with the ever-changing textures of the walls. You can see the beautiful and intricate patterns of the marble walls, how amazing it is !! It’s fascinating to think how this canyon even formed over millions of years and how was there ever that much water here.
The trail is moderately challenging, with some sections requiring scrambling over rocks and boulders. In the end, you’ll reach a dead-end with a 20-foot dry fall. If you have adequate climbing experience, you can climb to the top of the dry falls. But that’s the end here and no further detour to get around !!
Scotty’s Castle & Ubehebe Crater
After the hike, drive towards Ubehebe Crater. It’s over an hour’s drive but worth going! You’ll drive mostly on Scotty’s castle road. Take Right from Grapevine canyon pass and you’ll come across Scotty’s Castle.
Scotty’s castle is a luxurious villa in the middle of the desert! Built-in the 1920s by a wealthy Chicago businessman Albert Johnson who was tricked by cowboy Scotty. The interesting story tells that Scotty persuaded him to invest in the construction of a luxurious home in the remote desert area!!
Today, this luxurious mansion is a popular sightseeing attraction in death valley. You can visit the various rooms of the castle, including the grand living room, library, dining room, etc. One of the main highlights of Scotty’s Castle is the unique mechanical music machine, a one-of-a-kind instrument that plays a variety of music using perforated paper rolls.
Scotty’s Castle is a fascinating piece of history that offers a glimpse into the lives of the wealthy in the 19th-century of Death Valley region. So, this place will give a treat to your eyes after seeing so many desert colors!!
Tickets are $25 per person & I recommend advance reservation.
After visiting Scotty’s castle, turn right when it forks and take Ubehebe crater road. You’ll reach the crater.
The crater is approximately half a mile wide and 500 feet deep, making it an impressive sight to behold.
You can either view the crater from the parking lot or get up close and personal. If you are adventurous, hike around the rim of the crater to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding desert landscape and the crater itself.
The hike around the rim of the crater is approximately one mile long and is moderately strenuous, with some steep sections and loose gravel. However, the breathtaking views from the rim make the effort well worth it.
You can also hike down to the crater, which is about a 0.5-mile round trip and loses 500 feet of elevation. The climb back up is going to be difficult, so be prepared with plenty of sun protection and water.
You could also do the short hike to Little Hebe, which is a smaller crater right next to Ubehebe. You can see the colorful rocks and formations that can be seen throughout the area are a fascinating glimpse into the geological history of the region.
Day Two: Afternoon
Head Back to Furnace Creek Village or Park Village for lunch.
Salt Creek is one of the most underrated places in death valley which is not visited by many. Don’t know why?? It’s easily accessible and the landscape is stunning.
Once you arrive and exit Highway 190, you’ll continue down a dirt road for just a few minutes before arriving at the trailhead.
The views are gorgeous even from the trailhead, but I suggest continuing down the boardwalk! The trail is a quick and easy 0.5-mile loop.
Depending on when you visit, you may or may not see water flowing through Salt Creek. It’s one of the few places where you can see water in this desert landscape!
As you walk along the boardwalk, make sure to look out for the Pickleweed plants and Pupfish. Pupfish only exist in this harsh and salty environment. Make sure to visit this unique and fascinating natural wonder that is worth exploring during your 2 days in death valley.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Finish your 2 days Death Valley Itinerary at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, one of the most serene places in the park.
This unique natural wonder consists of vast expanses of sand dunes of 100 ft that rise and fall in dramatic shapes and patterns! And Sunset at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes is an absolute must for your Death Valley itinerary.
The parking area is located right off Highway 190, but you’ll have to walk a bit to get across the dunes. Therefore, I recommend that you try to arrive at least an hour before sunset. Also, remember that you’ll need to walk on sand, it’s significantly harder than it looks.
As the sand dunes are quite a popular attraction of death valley, you’ll find lots of people, so I recommend venturing out far away to get fewer people in the frame!
As the sun goes down, sand may constantly shift and change shape, creating an ever-evolving landscape that is mesmerizing to watch. So, don’t miss this star attraction of death valley at sunset or sunrise from your 2 days in death valley itinerary.
What to do with 3 Days in Death Valley?
As Death Valley is one of the largest national parks, it’s not possible to cover all the major sightseeing places in two days. So, if you have 3 days in death valley, I suggest having 4WD Vehicle to venture out on the rough roads of death valley. You can drive the Titus Canyon. It is one of the most scenic and rugged drives in the park. Along with it, you can visit the deserted Rhyolite Ghost Town.
What to Do With One Day in Death Valley National Park
If you have only one day in Death Valley, here is a compressed version of the 2 days in death valley itinerary with an action-packed day.
With having a day in the death valley national park, I suggest staying overnight in the park, either starting early or staying until late sunset. This will allow you to spend more time in the park without worrying about driving back to your hotel.
Start your day with Dante’s View at sunrise or in the morning to get panoramic views of the valley below.
Then, drive down to Zabriskie Point, stopping at Twenty Mule Team Canyon along the way to do the scenic drive.
Next, drive to the Golden Canyon trailhead and do the hike up into Golden Canyon, short hike will give you swapping views of the canyon.
Then, I recommend driving towards Badwater Basin and walking out onto the salt flats. On your way back, make stops at Devil’s Golf Course and Artist Drive.
Now, after this much drive, head to Furnace Creek for lunch. You can stop at the visitor center for a brief overview of the park.
In the afternoon, visit the Harmony Borax Works, an old mining site that plates a key role in death valley’s mining history.
Finish your day with a stunning sunset at the park’s most famous landmark, the iconic and picturesque Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. The light here is spectacular around sunset when the dunes light up with a golden-orange color.
Note: If you are visiting as a day trip from Vegas, you can skip the Golden Canyon hike and enjoy the park at leisure at your own pace. You can adjust the places and drive at your convenience.
My Suggested 2 Days in Death Valley Itinerary
Here is a quick recap of 2 days in death valley itinerary for you. You can adjust your drive as per your interests.
Day 1: Southern Points of Death Valley
- Sunrise: Dante’s View
- Morning: Zabriskie Point & Golden Canyon Trail start from Zabriskie Point
- Mid Day: Twenty Mule Team Canyon (by car)
- Lunch: Furnace Creek Town & Visitor Center
- Afternoon: Harmony Borax Work near Furnace Creek
- Late Afternoon: Artists Palette drive
- Evening: Sunset at Badwater Basin
Day 2: Northern Points of Interest
- Sunrise: Zabriskie Point at Sunrise
- Morning Hike: Mosaic Canyon
- Early Noon: Ubehebe Crater & Scotty’s Castle
- Lunch: Toll Road Restaurant/ Furnace Creek
- Afternoon: Salt Creek Trail
- Sunset: Mesquite Sand Dunes
Where to Stay in Death Valley
Without a second thought, it’s best to stay in the Park itself and the most central place to stay in Death Valley is around the Furnace Creek Visitors Center.
From there, you’re roughly equidistant from the major attractions of the valley.
If you aren’t a fan of camping or visiting it during summer, consider staying at one of the hotels in the park. There aren’t that many options, so make sure to book as early as possible, more than 2-3 months in advance!
Some of the most popular hotels in Death Valley National Park include:
If you don’t want to pay more for your accommodation, then choose to stay in a nearby city like Pahrump. Pahrump is situated halfway between the Vegas airport and Death Valley.
Here are some of the most popular accommodation options in Pahrump:
Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel: This is another affordable option that offers basic motel-style rooms and cabins. The village also features a restaurant, a general store, and a swimming pool.
Stovepipe Wells is near Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, but it’s a bit of a drive from spots like Dante’s View, Zabriskie Point, etc. You’ll drive about an hour to reach these spots, which is something to consider.
Vacation Rentals Near Death Valley
If you’re traveling with family, consider booking Vacation Rental at affordable prices near Death Valley!
- VILLA DE FLORENZA- Home with Pool and Jacuzzi
- Centrally Located Pet-Friendly House in Pahrump
- Death Valley Gateway -Suite B (2 Bedrooms)
- Your Base Camp to Adventure House!
Camping in Death Valley National Park
There are a ton of campsites in Death Valley, and all of them except for Furnace Creek Campground are first-come-first-served. Here are some of the campgrounds in Death Valley:
- Furnace Creek Campground: This is the largest campground in Death Valley and is located near the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. The campground offers over 170 sites, including some with full RV hookups, as well as restrooms, showers, and a dump station.
- Texas Springs Campground: This is a smaller campground located near Furnace Creek and offers 92 sites for tents and RVs up to 25 feet long. The campground also features restrooms, picnic tables, and fire pits.
- Mesquite Spring Campground: This is a more remote campground located near the northern end of the park. The campground offers 30 sites for tents and RVs up to 30 feet long, as well as restrooms and picnic tables.
- Stovepipe Wells Campground: This is a smaller campground located near the Stovepipe Wells Village. The campground offers 190 sites for tents and RVs up to 35 feet long, as well as restrooms, showers, and a dump station.
- Sunset Campground: This is a primitive campground located near the park’s western boundary. The campground offers 100 sites for tents only and features vault toilets, picnic tables, and fire rings.
The vast majority of the sites in the park are first-come-first-served. If you’re coming on a weekend, you’ll need to plan on securing your site as soon as possible. Find more information on camping in Death Valley here.
Conclusion 2 Days in Death Valley
Have you ever been to Death Valley National Park? If so, what was your favorite highlight? Let me know your thoughts on the weekend in death valley!
I hope you loved reading this 2 days in Death Valley itinerary for first-timers and I recommend adding it to your bucket list. Maybe you’ll find this Death Valley itinerary useful for planning a trip!