I have been on this odd quest to camp in as many national parks as I can with my dog Chico. It was the tail end of winter for us, the month of March, and we had cabin fever. I missed camping so much! But where to go? It was still snowing in Tahoe and Yosemite and Zion looked too cold as well. Many of my friends had just posted awesome photos of their adventures with their dogs at Death Valley National Park, so I decided to knock this one off our list.
While dogs are not allowed on trails, they are allowed on dirt roads including fun jeep roads, and Death Valley has 100s of miles of dirt roads, many of which run along side trails, and resemble fire roads. The Death Valley National Park site offers up suggestions for hikes and walks with your pup as well.
Our favorite was probably Titus Canyon, which is a 26 mile long one way jeep trail that starts outside of the park, and ends in the park, this is where we started our hike and did an out and back. It was really narrow like a slot canyon at first, looking up at the sheer walls made me think of Dungeons and Dragons traps!
Twenty Mule Team Road loop, was another cool one, though not quite a loop unless you walk along the park road for part of it. The landscape here was almost pure white in places, reminding me of a white sandy beach.
I even liked the flat open Mustard Canyon Road that connects to the Borax tourist stop, nothing like walking along the side of beautiful meadow like scenery, and then through an actual mustard colored canyon, out and back is about 2 miles.
We also just had fun exploring Death Valley by car, we drove a lot, while there are a few official scenic routes, anywhere you drive is jaw dropping scenic. We still probably only saw half of the park. Besides the ghost towns, you never know what you might stumble across…we found some old rusty race cars or demolition derby cars, off a road by an abandoned mill site on Emigrant Canyon Road. If you are into crusty rusty photography, this site has quite a bit of rusty objects large and small to photograph.
So many roads in Death Valley lead to old town sites, ghost towns, abandoned things, and many of these have small roads trailing off of them, most of the roads we traveled we were the only souls on them when we visited.
There is a about a 4 month window to go to Death Valley with your dog and to be active outdoors, well, even to go as a human as far as I ‘m concerned lol. We went in the middle of March, and it didn’t get hotter than 75 during the day, at night it got down to 40ish one night. We stayed at the Texas Springs campground which is first come, first serve–the lower loop is tents only, but we ended up in the “RV” loop, and it wasn’t too bad. Overall, I thought this campground looked better than Furnace Creek ( though Furnace Creek takes reservations and looks more traditional) and Sunset looks like a parking lot, not even sure I’d want to put my tent down there. All three campgrounds are in the same area, not far apart at all.
The Texas Springs RV part of the campground is surrounded by bluffs, people would go up in the morning with their coffee, and sit at night and watch the sun go down…AND THE STARS…wow, Chico and I sat for a couple of hours just looking up at the stars, this was one of my most memorable experiences camping.
The Oasis cafe across the street from the Texas Springs Campground, has an outdoor seating area, and they encourage you to bring your dog! There is also a general store around here–though there was a ton of construction when we went so I can’t remember which side of the Oasis it was on, it had Ice Cream though! We also drove down to Panimint Springs one day for lunch, there is a private campground there that looks to be pretty chill, and we might check that out next time. The view for lunch was superb!
On the drive back from Panamint Springs to our campground, some military jets flew right over our heads and scared the crap out of me! There are a few free campgrounds at Death Valley, and you can also just camp in the backcountry. The stark beauty of Death Valley, is like something that I have never seen before, and, I really loved our time there.
Happy Trails and Tails!