Evenings are magical at the Furnace Creek Inn.
Brown Cannon III
The Furnace Creek Inn is a cool oasis in the heart of Death Valley.
Load up for a day of exploring at the Forty-Niner Cafe.
Salty Badwater Basin descends to the lowest point in the United States at 282 feet below sea level.
WHERE TO STAY
Furnace Creek Inn Glamorous 1927 lodge with 66 rooms; also has a spring-heated swimming pool. INFO: Open through mid-May; from $275; 888/297-2757.
Furnace Creek Ranch A mile down the road from the Furnace Creek Inn, the ranch has 224 standard motel-style rooms centered around a lawn and swimming pool. Though in high season the place can feel like a boisterous summer camp, in fall it's a great, affordable choice. INFO: From $120; 888/297-2757.
Camping Numerous sites with toilets and some with showers at Furnace Creek Campground, Mesquite Spring, and Stovepipe Wells. Emigrant Campground sites are tent only. INFO: Sites $12-$18 a night; all campgrounds except for Furnace Creek are first come, first served; recreation.gov or 877/444-6777 for Furnace Creek reservations.
WHERE TO EAT
Corkscrew Saloon Drinks, pizza, and hot dogs. INFO: $; at Furnace Creek Ranch, on State 190; 760/786-2345.
Forty-Niner Cafe Casual, filling meals all day. INFO: $$; at Furnace Creek Ranch, on State 190; 760/786-2345.
Furnace Creek Inn Dining Room The most upscale dining in the park. INFO: $$$; at Furnace Creek Inn, off State 190; 760/786-2345.
Wrangler Steakhouse Steaks and salad bar. INFO: $$$; at Furnace Creek Ranch, on State 190; 760/786-2345.
WHAT TO DO
Artists Drive A 9-mile scenic loop past vibrantly colored canyons. INFO: Off State 190, 10 miles south of Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
Badwater Basin A boardwalk and short trail lead to the salt flats (stay on paths). INFO: On Badwater Rd., 18 miles south of Furnace Creek Visitor Center.
Hiking Stunning hikes, but unlike in many national parks, few marked trails. Ranger stations have day-hike guides. Two moderate routes are Golden Canyon Interpretive Trail, a 2-mile round-trip journey to Red Cathedral (park in lot at trailhead off Bad-water Rd., 2 miles south of State 190), and Natural Bridge Canyon, a 2-mile out-and-back walk passing a dramatic rock bridge (park at trailhead at end of gravel road off Bad-water Rd., 13.2 miles south of State 190).
Mesquite Flat Dunes up to 150 feet high. INFO: On State 190, 2.2 miles east of Stovepipe Wells.
Scotty's Castle $11 for 50-min. guided tour of interior; on State 267, 53 miles northeast of Furnace Creek Visitor Center; 760/786-2392.