Death Valley National Park is America's largest national park in the lower 48 states. Yes, this national park is larger than Yellowstone! In my opinion, it is also one of the best.
Even though the name Death Valley does not sound that appealing, we were extremely looking forward to scorching temperatures after completing a ski season at Mammoth Mountain. We had originally planned to stay for only two nights but we enjoyed our time here so much we ended up extending our trip and staying for over a week! Part of this was due to the pleasant stay we had at Stovepipe Wells campground and also because we had no idea that the park was so big and there was so much to explore!
Camping at Stovepipe Wells
We chose to camp at Stovepipe Wells due to it's central location in the park and its close proximity to a lot of the park's main attractions. There are also some other added bonuses to staying at this campground that I will mention below.
Stovepipe Wells campground is open from September 15 to May 10 and bookings are taken on a first come, first served basis. Don't be expecting any nice shady tree's at this campground, it is just bare dirt and dry out here - not fun when it is windy. But the tables are a nice touch and the fire pit comes in handy because it can be quite cool at night.
Dump station: yes
The best thing about staying at Stovepipe Wells Campground
The best thing about staying at Stovepipe Wells (besides the gorgeous mountain views) is the General Store at the entrance to the campground and the swimming pool located across the road at the Stovepipe Wells Hotel.
Stovepipe Wells General Store
The General Store definitely comes in handy when you have run out of food supplies because the nearest grocery store is many miles away!
The Stovepipe Wells General Store is also a gift shop so it's a nice place to kill some time in air-conditioning while picking up some national park souvenir's for yourself or family. I can't help myself from collecting mugs and key-chains from National Parks we visit and this store has got to have some of the coolest souvenirs. The best thing about the Stovepipe Wells General Store though is the rocking chairs out front! We spent most of our evenings here grabbing beers from inside and unwinding on the rocking chairs.
Stovepipe Wells Hotel
The Stovepipe Wells Hotel located across the road from the campground is literally an oasis in the desert. I say this because they have a swimming pool in front of their establishment which campers that are staying at the Stovepipe Wells campground are permitted to use for a small fee.
The pool is a lifesaver! Depending on the season you visit Death Valley National Park, the middle of the day can be too hot for hiking or exploring and spending the day at this hotel's swimming pool is be a much better option. In addition, the hotel has a restaurant and bar with a couple of pool tables to keep you entertained.
Here is a list of some of Death Valley's attractions located close to the Stovepipe Wells campground along with the distance.
Mesquite Flats Sand Dune - 1.8 miles / 3 mins
Mosaic Canyon - 2.5 miles / 10 mins
Harmony Borax Works - 23 miles / 26 mins
Darwin Falls - 35 miles / 40 mins
Ubehebe Crater - 46 miles / 52 mins
How to get to Death Valley
Death Valley National Park is at least a 4 hour drive from Los Angeles and a 2 1/2 hour drive from Las Vegas. The Stovepipe Wells Campground is located on CA-190 which is the main road through the park.