LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Death Valley National Park has opened the southeast entrance near Shoshone, California, allowing travelers to get to the temporary lake at Badwater Basin from the south.
Badwater Road is now open all the way through, providing access to the lowest point of elevation in North America, at 282 feet below sea level. A temporary lake created by the runoff has drawn visitors to the area since the park reopened. Another lake created at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes has dried up.
Some backroads in the southeast corner of the park were the first to open after California Highway 190 (CA-190) was opened on Oct. 15, but work on Badwater Road took longer. Drivers should use extra caution due to loose gravel.
Park employees cleared debris off the northern end of Badwater Road, and contractors cleared the southern end. Emergency repairs were funded by the Federal Highway Administration’s Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads program.
Work in other areas of the park is continuing.
The park completely shut down after more than 2 inches of rain fell on Aug. 20 as the remnants of Hurricane Hilary swept through the park. That’s more than the park typically gets in an entire year. Desert soils don’t absorb water like richer soils, and the runoff turned quickly into flooding that tore up roads.
The current list of paved roads that have reopened:
- CA-190: Open all the way through the park. Expect delays and multiple locations with active road work. (Access to: Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Mosaic Canyon Trail, Harmony Borax Works, Zabriskie Point.)
- Daylight Pass Road and Mud Canyon Road
- Badwater Road: Access to: Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch Trails, Desolation Trail, Devils Golfcourse, Natural Bridge Trail, Badwater Basin, Sidewinder Canyon Trail, Ashford Mill)
- Artists Drive
- Dantes View Road
Unpaved roads that are open:
- Mustard Canyon
- Twenty Mule Team Road
- Grotto Canyon: The road now ends where it used to drop into the wash.
- Greenwater Valley (aka Furnace Creek Wash Road): Access to Deadman Pass and Gold Valley. Use extreme caution on Gold Valley Road, which has not been repaired since it was damaged by flooding. There is a section that could tip over a stock 4×4 high-clearance vehicle.
For more information, see the park’s website.