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  1. Default Death Valley -- Big Pine Road?


    Am planning to drive from Las Vegas to San Francisco though Death Valley and Yosemite.

    I have little off road experience and no 4x4 car. Is this route possible?

    Google Maps

    Thanks a lot,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO



    I have never driven that route, but the official park map shows a substantial portion as "unpaved" and "high clearance recommended". If you are driving a rental, you would be in violation of your rental agreement. I suspect that it should be passable in a standard automobile but I sure wouldn't want to try it without checking with the park rangers first.

    I just found a thread on that says that the unpaved sections are pretty heavily washboarded and a SUV is recommended. I also found a site that says you must check first, the road conditions are constantly changing and it is subject to washouts after storms, even high clearance 4x4's would have problems then.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Same here.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    I also haven't driven this road but have come up with the same info as above. It can be heavily wash boarded and although it might be possible to drive in a "normal" car at times, I wouldn't do so without the say so of a Ranger or experienced local. As I understand it, sharp rocks and road tyres don't go well together, so if you did head through make sure you have a spare in good shape, a good jack and tools to do the job. In the summer it will be extremely hot so carry Lot's of water and snacks as well as suncream and a hat.

    If it is a rental it is a no go anyway, and if your car hasn't got good ground clearance you could loose your exhaust or other. Hopefully someone [Mark ?] will be able to offer a first hand experience of the road, but if you decided to go for it and things get worse than you thought they would, it is better to turn around then it is to get in a mess.

    One description.

    Big Pine/Death Valley road- is paved into Eureka Valley, dirt from there to Scotty's road. Next gas is at Furnace Creek or Stovepipe Wells at 125 miles, not the Castle! Some stream crossing washouts at the upper end of Death Valley to slow down for especially near Sand Springs. Rocky, washboards, but 4x4 probably not necessary. It's 75 miles to Scotty's Castle, another 50 down to civilization (gas)
    The word "probably" wouldn't fill me with confidence.

  4. Default


    If you say park rangers, who do you refer to and how do I contact them?

    Looking forward to hear from Mark?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default Not good.

    This is from the Death valley nps pages, so the advise given is not to attempt it without a high clearance vehicle and they won't be pleased if you ignore the warnings and they have to come and get you.

    Big Pine / Death Valley Road
    High clearance 2-wheel drive. 48-mile gravel road graded by county. First 36 miles unpaved, then 4 miles paved, followed by 8 additional miles unpaved, then paved to Big Pine. Expect dust and occasional rough spots first 3 miles. Very rough washboard. 4WD is recommended when washed out by floods. Often signed as CLOSED by Inyo County after floods. Visitors going past closed signs “do so at their own risk.”
    Each National park has park Rangers who have up to the minute info but if you entering from Lone Pine I am not sure you will see any. They post notices or you can call as per the number in this message.

    Remember to check with the Rangers about current road conditions- they post um every morning at 8 a.m. and the recording at 760 786-3200 road, weather gets updated soon there after usually.
    Here's the official site so you can dig around some more.

    If you really want a little off roading then my advice would be to rent the right vehicle that has permission to do so. In Death valley there are jeep rentals at furnace creek.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default One of our members drove it in a sedan

    It is a very rough road and if this a rental car, you'd be in big trouble if you broke down and they had to come and get you. That being said, one of our members drove it last year in his sedan. It was a pretty harrowing drive. I'll find that thread and post it here later.


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