Death Valley reopens in phases

Death Valley  reopens in phasesDEATH VALLEY — Following guidance from the White House, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and state and local public health authorities, Death Valley National Park is increasing recreational access according to the park’s phased reopening plan.

The National Park Service is working servicewide with federal, state, and local public health authorities to closely monitor the COVID-19 pandemic and using a phased approach to increase access on a park-by-park basis.

Beginning June 26, Death Valley National Park will reopen roads, trailheads, restrooms, and overlooks, including the Badwater Road, Dante’s View, Artists Drive, Golden Canyon, and Ubehebe Crater. Backcountry roads will also reopen, including roads to Saline Valley, the Racetrack, and Titus Canyon. Devils Hole, a detached unit of the park located in Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge, will also reopen.

“While enjoying Death Valley National Park, remember to recreate responsibly by maintaining social distance and avoiding high risk activities,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “It’s summer in Death Valley, so avoid hiking at lower elevations after 10:00 am and carry plenty of water. Using extra caution during your visit reduces the strain on local medical resources.”

For a full list of areas that will be reopened to recreational access, please visit our website (www.nps.gov/deva).

Access has also been reopened to Furnace Creek Campground (Group and tent sites will remain closed), Thorndike, Mahogany Flats, Wildrose, Emigrant, Homestake Dry Camp, Eureka, and Saline Valley Campgrounds and areas where dispersed backcountry camping is allowed per regulations.

The park will resume collecting entrance and camping fees. Visitors can pay entrance fees using automated fee machines throughout the park and soon through the digital pass program on Recreation.gov. Visitors with a valid National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass or Death Valley National Park Annual Pass do not need to pay an additional entrance fee. Camping fees for the Furnace Creek Campground may be paid at an automated fee machine within the campground.

While these areas are accessible for visitors to enjoy, a return to full operations will continue to be phased and services may be limited. When recreating, the public should follow Inyo County health orders, practice “Leave No Trace” principles, avoid crowding and avoid high-risk outdoor activities.

With public health in mind, Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Stovepipe Wells Ranger station and all warm springs will remain closed.

Scotty’s Castle Road remains closed into Grapevine Canyon due to flood damage in October 2015. There is no access to Scotty’s Castle or Nevada State Route 267.

The CDC has offered guidance to help people recreating in parks and open spaces prevent the spread of infectious diseases. We will continue to monitor all park functions to ensure that visitors adhere to CDC guidance for mitigating risks associated with the transmission of COVID-19, and take any additional steps necessary to protect public health.

Details and updates on park operations will continue to be posted on social media channels and our website (www.nps.gov/deva).

Pictured: Roads and attractions open up in phases at Death Valley National Park. — Courtesy photo

Story First Published: 2020-07-03