Does it Snow in Death Valley: The Answer Will Surprise You

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Does it snow in Death Valley? You will be surprised by the answer. Death Valley National Park is famously known for many remarkable things.

Such as being the hottest place on earth, its unbelievable variety of terrain, the lowest point in North America, and numerous one-of-a-kind sights. This destination is so unique.

However, many people wonder, does it also snow in Death Valley? In this post, you will discover tips for visiting Death Valley in the winter months, things to do in the national park, where to stay and find out if you should be packing your snow clothes for Death Valley.

Does it Snow in Death Valley

As one of the hottest and driest places on earth, but you will be surprised to know that it does snow in Death Valley. Snowfall has been recorded and sighted in Death Valley on a couple of occasions over the last century.

One of the main locations where you can find snow in the national park is at Telescope Peak. Telescope Peak sits at 11,049 feet (3,368m) above sea level and is the highest summit in Death Valley National Park. The peak is snow-capped for most of the year, but if you do not plan on hiking Telescope Peak, than you can leave your parka and snowshoes at home!

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    How Often Does Death Valley Get Snow

    It does not snow often in Death Valley. Snow on the valley floor is a very rare occurrence, and when it does snow, it is typically a light dusting and doesn’t amount to much. Most likely, if you are visiting Death Valley, you will not have to worry about snow. Unless, of course, you are planning on hiking Telescope Peak.

    bad water basin during sunset

    Tip: If you are hiking Telescope Peak, there are winter closures due to snowy conditions. The access road to Telescope Peak trailhead is closed beyond the Charcoal Kilns. Also, before your trip, you should check the website for additional closures.

    Is Death Valley Cold in The Winter

    Death Valley, in the winter typically offers pleasant weather, perfect for hiking and exploring the valley. It is a more desirable time to visit in the winter than during its scorching hot summers that average a daily high temperature of 116°Faherenheit.

    The nights in Death Valley can get quite chilly, but temperatures usually do not drop below freezing. 

    winter weather table for death valley

    What is The Coldest Month in Death Valley

    December is the coldest month in Death Valley, where the average low temperature is 38 °Faherenheit and the average high temperature is 65 °F. In December you can expect cool days and chilly nights with the occasional rainstorm.

    Things to Do in Death Valley in The Winter

    sitting in front of Ubehebe Crater in death valley national park
    • Visit all of the main sights in Death Valley: Badwater Basin, Zabriskie Point, Dantes View, Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, Ubehebe Crater, Artist Drive, and Devils Golf Course.
      ✔️ check all of these locations off your bucket list with my itinerary and guide:
      Death Valley in One Day: Don’t Make These 6 Mistakes
    • Hike on longer trails: Such as the Golden Canyon Trail or the Mosaic Canyon Trail
    • Conquer Telescope Peak: A challenging 14-mile (22.5km) hike with breathtaking views overlooking the valley.
    • Visit the Mesquite Sand Dunes in the afternoon: Without worrying about Death Valley’s extreme heat.
    • Take a beautiful scenic drive: Sights of colorful rock formations, rugged mountains, and narrow canyons. 
    • Bring your pup with you: Find my dog-friendly Death Valley itinerary here.
    • Go camping: Enjoy the pitch-black nights that are perfect for stargazing
    • Take photos of those popular sights: Capture the national park with fewer people

    Reasons to Visit Death Valley in The Winter

    Death Valley in the winter can be one of the best times to visit the national park! There are many great perks to planning your visit this time of year. In the winter, you will find fewer crowds, pleasant weather, cheaper accommodations, and an overall more secluded adventure.

    mesquite sand dunes in death valley

    Fewer Crowds in Death Valley & Cheaper Accommodations

    If you are looking to escape the crowds, the winter months are the least crowded time of the entire year to visit Death Valley National Park. Some exceptions are Christmas and New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day weekend, and President’s Day weekend. Fewer crowds mean fewer tourists at the top locations and cheaper accommodations.

    During Death Valley’s peak tourist season between late March and early April, you may have a difficult time finding lodging.

    We visited during California’s spring break, and all of the hotels inside the national park were sold out. And there were limited rooms at hotels in nearby cities. If you are visiting during this time, make sure to reserve your lodging well in advance.

    Pleasant Weather in the Winter Months

    The summer months in Death Valley are absolutely brutal. Temperatures in the summer average around 113 degrees Fahrenheit and often will get as high as 122 degrees Fahrenheit. These extreme temperatures can make your trip to Death Valley challenging and dangerous if you don’t take the proper precautions. 

    how to get to death valley: Zabriskie point at sunrise

    On the contrary, winter is a beautiful time of year for exploring the valley. The weather is ideal for hiking, camping, and visiting all of the must-see sights in Death Valley.

    Can You Drive Through Death Valley in The Winter

    You can drive through Death Valley in the winter. In fact, it’s actually a beautiful and scenic drive. Before your road trip, make sure your car is well-maintained. Get your oil changed, check your tire pressure, and make sure you have a spare tire available just in case of a flat.

    where to stay in death valley or nearby

    Getting a tow in Death Valley is extremely expensive. Also, you could be waiting a while. There is limited cell service in the national park and fewer people around to help jump your car or get help.

    You will also want to check for any road closures in Death Valley before your road trip on the website. In the winter, roads towards Telescope Peak or Titus Canyon Road are closed due to snow, mud, or washouts.

    Gas Stations in Death Valley

    There are only three gas stations in Death Valley National Park, so it is a good idea to keep your eye on your gas tank at all times. If you need to get a tow, it is extremely pricey and will put a damper on your plans for the day.

    The gas stations in Death Valley may have some of the most expensive gas in the country.

    In my post: Gas Stations in Death Valley: Tips For Your Road Trip discover where the gas stations are located in Death Valley, where to get cheaper gas nearby, can you charge your electric car in Death Valley, and more tips to help you have the best and safest trip to Death Valley National Park.

    Tips for Traveling to Death Valley in the Winter

    • Pack comfortable layers for the chilly mornings and nights.
    • Start your day early and plan for shorter days. Bring a headlamp or flashlight since it will be getting darker earlier.
    • Pack hiking or comfortable shoes for walking trails
    • Thermoregulating hiking socks for hiking during the day and cool nights.
    • Peak winter visitation periods include Christmas to New Year’s, Martin Luther King Day weekend in January, and Presidents’ Day weekend in February. 
    • If you are traveling to nearby snowy areas of California, make sure you have a vehicle that can handle winter weather (4WD and maybe even snow chains for your tires). How to Get To Death Valley: Ultimate Guide & Tips
    • Check for road closures if visiting Telescope Peak or Titus Canyon Road. Certain roads are closed in the winter due to snow, mud, or washouts.
    • Download the NPS App before you arrive to access information and maps in areas with no service.

    Where to Stay in Death Valley

    There are a couple of options for accommodations in Death Valley. You can either book accommodations inside the national park or plan to stay outside of Death Valley in a nearby town.

    You can find my ultimate guide on where to stay in Death Valley to help you find the accommodation that best fits your travel schedule and budget. 

    Where to Stay Inside the National Park

    The great thing about lodging inside the national park is that you will be closer to the main sites in Death Valley, which will help cut down on some of your driving time.

    The closest town outside of the national park is Beatty, Nevada. It sits right outside of Death Valley’s gate. However, Death Valley is enormous and just to get inside to some of the locations like Bad Water Basin is an hour’s drive from Beatty.

    Options for Lodging Inside Death Valley National Park

    There are four hotels that you can book inside of Death Valley. Or you can go the adventurous route and spend the night camping at one of Death Valley’s campsites.

    Where to Stay Outside of the National Park

    You will have a long drive to get to the must visit sights in Death Valley. However, the perks of staying outside the national park are cheaper accommodations and you get to explore a new town. 

    Depending on where you are coming from or where you are going after Death Valley will help you decide on which town you should stay in. In my guide on where to stay in Death Valley I list all of the possible nearby cities and towns you can book for your stay.

    Top things to do Beatty, Nevada
    Rhyolite Ghost Town

    One town I do recommend is Beatty, Nevada. This is where we stayed on our last trip to Death Valley. It’s the closest town outside of the national park and there are many things you can do and explore in Beatty. Such as the famous Rhyolite Ghost Town.

    In Conclusion: Does it Snow in Death Valley

    Yes, it does snow in Death Valley National Park. However, where you’re likely going to spend the majority of your time in Death Valley in winter, it will not affect you. As you now know, the winter months are a great time (maybe even the best time) to visit and explore the one-of-a-kind Death Valley National Park.

    If you want more guides, itineraries, and helpful tips for Death Valley, you can check out my guide page here.