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Tom Kelly's Bottle House in Rhyolite Ghost Town outside of Beatty Nevada.

Death Valley Road Trip: A Wild Adventure Beyond the Neon Lights

Las Vegas isn’t just about dazzling lights and endless casinos; it’s also the perfect launching pad for some epic road trips. Ready to crank up the adventure? Let’s dive into one of the hottest spots on Earth—literally—Death Valley National Park! With scorching temperatures hitting over 130 degrees, it’s a fiery experience that draws thrill-seekers from around the globe.

 

Spring is prime time for visiting Death Valley, with beautiful wildflower blooms making the desert landscape pop. But if you’re up for the ultimate heat challenge, summer’s extreme temperatures make for a brag-worthy adventure. No matter when you go, spice up your road trip with these must-see stops along the way.

Red Rock Canyon National Recreation Area

First up, escape the city buzz at Red Rock Canyon. Whether you’re a hardcore hiker or a casual stroller, this desert playground has something for everyone. Drive the scenic loop for jaw-dropping views of towering red rocks, or hop out to hike, bike, or jog like the locals. The 30-minute drive around the loop is just the beginning of your outdoor fun.

Two girls jumping on a hiking trail with red rocks and blue sky day at Red Rock Canyon.

Going Over the Hump to Pahrump

Next stop: Pahrump, Nevada and the road to get their passes through the Toiyabe National Forest, peaking at 5500 feet at Mountain Springs Summit before dropping again. Swing into Mountain Springs Saloon for some grub and brewskis and throw a bill on the wall. There’s plenty of outdoor seating shaded by mountain trees. 

Once in Pahrump there are plenty of things to do. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out the wineries, meaderies, and distilleries like Desert Cane Distillery making small-batch rum. For snacks, cool off at Seemore’s Ice Cream, home to the world’s tallest ice cream stand—perfect for a delicious soft serve break. Hungry? Mom’s Diner is a local favorite in the heart of Pahrump. Got a bit more time? Don’t miss Coffinwood, one of Nevada’s quirky hidden gems. Wow, so much to do you might even want to spend a night. 

A bar table at Mountain Springs Saloon and the windows and walls are covered with american bills written on. This saloon in on a mountainside has outdoor concerts, grub and home to many bikers cruising around exploring Nevada.
A bottle of red wine from Artesian Cellars in Pahrump....Sassy Sadie Syrah from the wineries Wild West series.
A behind the scenes tour of Desert Cane Distillery in Pahrump shows some jugs of alcohol.

Death Valley National Park

Welcome to the main event! Start at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center to get the scoop on the park. From there, explore iconic landmarks like Dante’s View, the Badwater Basin salt flats, Mt. Whitney, Artist’s Palette, Golden Canyon, and Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. Each spot offers unique and breathtaking sights that make Death Valley unforgettable.

A person with their back to us staring at the vast desert of Death Valley. Photo courtesy of Elite Custom Adventures.

Rhyolite Ghost Town

When you leave Death Valley Switch up the scenery with a visit to Rhyolite Ghost Town. This eerie, abandoned mining town is filled with crumbling ruins like the Train Depot, Cook Bank Building, and Rhyolite Schoolhouse. Don’t miss the Tom Kelly Bottle House, a quirky relic made entirely of glass bottles (a popular geocaching stop), and the Goldwell Open Air Museum, where bizarre and captivating art installations dot the desert.

Death Valley - Rhyolite Train Depot Beatty - Rhyolite Bank
A geocaching box in front of Tom Kelly's Bottle House in Rhyolite Ghost Town outside of Beatty Nevada.
Death Valley - Goldwell Open Air Museum Beatty

Beatty

As you head back towards Las Vegas, stop in Beatty, NV. Steeped in history, this former railway town offers the Beatty Museum and Historical Society. Be careful of the burrows traveling along and crossing the road too! Speaking of burros, grab a bite at Happy Burro Chili & Beer before hitting up Eddie World, a gas station and convenience store like no other. It’s packed with treats from Death Valley Nut & Candy Company, an ice cream shop, beef jerky, and loads of toys and games.

Two burros walking along side of the road in Beatty Nevada getting ready to cross the road. Photo is zoomed in but was taken from the truck.

Amargosa Valley

Your last fun pit stop is the Area 51 Alien Center. This neon beacon in the desert offers an out-of-this-world souvenir shop, a quirky roadside diner, and a truck stop to refuel. For a few bucks, you can even get your fortune told by an alien version of Zoltar!

Death Valley Road trip - Area 15 Alien Center

Plan Your Trip

The total drive round trip, without stops, is about four and a half hours. But where’s the fun in that? Customize your adventure by picking and choosing your stops, or plan an overnight stay or two and soak it all in. Travel Nevada has curated the Death Valley Rally with even more Nevada unusual stops, road trip tunes and more quirky facts about the Silver State.

To plan your Las Vegas area stay check out our Plan Your Trip section for activities and stays from our partners. 

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