Death Valley National Park will partially reopen this Sunday, October 15, after undergoing the longest closure in its history due to catastrophic flooding in August.
Visitors will be able enter the park via the CA-190 highway from the west through Lone Pine or from the east via Death Valley Junction. All other park entrances will remain closed for now.
“This was longest closure in Death Valley National Park’s history,” said Superintendent Mike Reynolds. “I am excited to welcome people back to enjoy their park!”
The reopening comes after the park was forced to close in early August due to extensive flooding caused by a rare rainstorm that dropped over 2 inches of rain in one day — more than the area typically receives in an entire year. The flooding washed out roads, trails, undercut pavement, and left collapsed road segments filled with gravel.
While crews have been working for the past eight weeks to repair and reopen roads, the reopened roads are still not fully repaired. Travelers should expect loose gravel, lowered speed limits around 20-30 mph, and delays due to one-lane traffic controls.
The CA-190 highway through the center of the park is open, but there will be up to one-hour delays between Panamint Springs and Father Crowley Vista due to an extensive stretch of one-lane traffic. Other sections may face shorter delays of around 20 minutes.
The following other roads will reopen on October 15: Badwater Road (between CA-190 and Badwater Basin), Dantes View Road, Twenty Mule Team Canyon Road, Artists Drive, Natural Bridge Road, Mustard Canyon Road, and Mosaic Canyon Road. These roads provide access to many of the park’s most popular attractions, including Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Zabriskie Point, Golden Canyon, and Mosaic Canyon.
All other roads in Death Valley will remain closed to vehicular traffic until further repairs can be made.
Superintendent Reynolds noted that this is a “really special time” to visit the park, since the flooding has created a rare temporary lake miles long in Badwater Basin that may only last a few more weeks.
Lodging, food, and fuel will be available at facilities like Panamint Springs Resort, Stovepipe Wells Village, and the Oasis at Death Valley. Many NPS campgrounds are also opening.
Last August, Death Valley also closed briefly after flash flooding from a storm that dumped 1.46 inches of rain in one day. While the park has reopened faster this time, the August 2022 rainstorm brought even more extensive damage to roads and infrastructure throughout the park.
Park officials say additional roads will reopen in phases as repairs continue over the coming weeks and months. In the meantime, visitors are advised to check the park’s website and social media for the latest updates on closures and reopened areas before traveling.
Cover photo courtesy of: K. Bott, National Park Service