Taking your dogs to Death Valley National Park, the question I was struggling with when planning our recent road trip to Death Valley. If you are reading this post, you are most likely asking yourself the same thing.
Is taking your dogs to Death Valley National Park worth it? I was worried about it being safe for my dog and selfishly wondered if it would hinder my own Death Valley experience.
Spoiler, my husband and I decided to bring our dog along with us! I am eager to share with you our journey. Was it worth it? Where should you stay? What can you do with your dog? I will answer all of these burning questions for taking your dogs to Death Valley National Park.
A little backstory on us. Our dog is named Cash. He is an English Golden Retriever and 3-years-old. Cash is a big bog at about 85 lbs, but a total sweetheart. We love taking him along on as many adventures as we can.
Bringing a dog with you requires extra planning. Also, sometimes we are not able to stay at the hotels that were our first choice. However, Cash always adds some extra fun to our trip. In addition to Cash being the best travel pup, I find it cheaper to bring him with us than board him.
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Are Dogs Allowed at Death Valley
Yes, you are probably already aware of this, but dogs are allowed at Death Valley. However, just like most national parks, there are rules you need to follow.
The Death Valley National Park dog policy includes:
- Dogs are allowed with you at your campgrounds.
- For obvious reasons, do not leave your dog in the car during the day.
- They must be kept on a leash, no longer than 6 ft at all times.
- Dogs are only allowed to walk on paved and dirt roads.
- They are not permitted on any trails or inside park buildings.
Tip know before you go: Zabriskie Point is a paved trail. However, dogs are technically not permitted.
Things To Do in Death Valley With Dogs
Discovering things to do in Death Valley with dogs is the area that I had the most trouble with when planning our trip. Besides the Death Valley National Park website, I could not find current information on travelers’ personal experiences with taking their dogs to Death Valley.
It felt like our only options were to drive in the car, which I was not too excited about. I wanted to see Badwater Basin, Mesquite Flat Dunes, and Zabriskie Point.
Otherwise, what is the point of traveling all the way there? Here are my tips and first-hand experiences with taking a dog to Death Valley National Park.
Taking Your Dogs to Death Valley: Where Can You Go With Your Dog?
Dog Friendly Drives Death Valley
I do not want to knock any of the beautiful drives you can take in Death Valley. If you are not into the heat or hiking, that is something you should absolutely look into doing. The Death Valley drives to go on with your dogs:
- Artist Drive
- Titus Canyon Road
- 20 Mule Team Canyon
To discover more options, check the Death Valley website, but these are the ones that I researched or visited that I felt were worth going on.
You can find Artist Palette by driving the 9-mile loop on Artist Drive. There are a few pull-off locations where you can get out of your car and take pictures of beautiful hued mountains.
To see Artist Palette, it is a short uphill hike that is dog-friendly. I suggest doing this earlier in the day because there is no shade and it gets hot out there in the blaring sun.
When you take that first step out of your car, you are immediately greeted with spectacular views of Death Valley. I heard it was beautiful, but it was even more stunning than I expected. Dantes View is an easy to get to and dog-friendly location in Death Valley.
Fun Fact: There is water in Death Valley… A river actually flows underneath this beautiful vista!!
Visiting the crater is a little bit out of the way, but if you are interested in seeing it, it is also a dog-friendly location in Death Valley.
The crater is a short walk from the parking lot. There is the option to walk around the crater, but dogs are not allowed on that trail. However, you are still able to see and experience the incredible Ubehebe Crater without walking the trail.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
Dogs are not allowed on the sand dunes, this is to protect your dog and the many animals that live in the dunes. However, if you don’t want to miss seeing the Mesquite San Dunes, the best way to make it work is by visiting with a second person. If you are traveling with another person, you can split up and explore the dunes solo while the other person stays with your dog.
There is one area that most people gravitate to because it is the trail toward the largest dunes. On our visit, we decided to choose the route which was less traveled and got to experience a section of the dunes all to ourselves. It was also a lot quicker to reach than the larger dunes.
You do not need to trek out too far to see and climb the sand dunes. You can spend about a half hour or so and then return back to the car to switch with the other person watching the dog.
Dogs are not allowed at Zabriskie Point, even though it is a short paved trail. Our way around this was going to see Zabriskie Point at sunrise. Seeing the moon set here at the same time as sunrise was just as breathtaking!
It was a very chilly and windy morning, so we were able to leave our dog in the car for a short period of time to see the sunrise.
As soon as the sun came up, we booked it back to the car. Tip: You do not need to arrive extra early to grab a spot. There is plenty of space at Zabriskie Point to watch the beautiful sunrise.
Devils Golf Course
It is a large and impressive salt pan on the floor of Death Valley. Even if dogs were allowed here, I would not take him. A dog could easily get hurt here.
You can still see Devil’s Golf Course. Either from your car in the parking lot or because it is so close to the parking lot, you can take a quick couple of minutes to explore the salt crystals and leave your dog in an air-conditioned car.
This location was tricky when taking your dog to Death Valley. When you arrive at Badwater Basin, there is a little boardwalk where the salt flats begin. You can bring your dog there, but dogs are not allowed on the actual salt flats.
To get a good look at the stunning salt flats you see all over Instagram, you need to walk about 30 minutes out onto the flats. Our way of both being able to witness the salt flats was by taking turns.
One of us sat with the dog in the car while the other explored the salt flats. Not the most ideal situation, but we were both able to experience Death Valleys’ spectacular salt flats. It was one of my favorite sites, so I thought it was worth it!
Father Crawley Vista Point
Farther Crawley Vista Point is close to one of the entrances to Death Valley and makes for a great spot to stretch your dog’s legs.
The Vista Point is a short walk from your car. I do not think it is an absolute must-see location. However, if you drive by, it is a good destination for a beautiful view that you can also bring your dog.
When to Visit Death Valley With Your Dog
The time of year is vital when deciding on taking your dogs to Death Valley National Park. You can visit Death Valley year-round. However, the best months to visit are between mid-October to mid-May.
The summer months can reach extreme highs and exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Which honestly, that does not sound like something I would want to experience, let alone my dog.
Spring is the most popular time of year to visit because of the warm days and wildflowers that grow in the valley. Anything after mid-may, I strongly do not advise bringing your dogs.
What to Pack for Your Dog for Death Valley
When are visiting Death Valley, there are a couple of must-have essentials you will need for your road trip.
- Collapsible water bowl: Keeping your dog hydrated is so important when you are traveling to Death Valley. We brought jugs of water and a cooler of ice for us and our dog Cash. We love this Ruffwear collapsable water bowl because its lightweight, waterproof, and big enough to be a food bowl. Also, it’s a lot more durable than the silicone bowls, our dogs chew those up after a couple of uses.
- Apple AirTags: We have Apple AirTags on our dogs’ collars, which I highly recommend, especially when traveling. The AirTags link up to our phones and if one of our dogs were to run off or go missing we could track them in the Find My App. The Apple Airtags are great and definitely give you a sense of comfort and security when traveling with your dog.
- Paw Wax: I can only imagine the judgemental look I would get from one of my Golden’s if I put them in dog shoes, so paw wax is a great alternative. It helps keep their paws protected against the hot pavement, sand, rough terrain, and other extreme conditions. Musher’s Secret is a safe and natural dog paw wax you can use to protect your dog when visiting Death Valley.
How to Get to Death Valley National Park
The only way to get to Death Valley and explore the national park is by car. For tips on planning your road trip and a complete guide on how to get Death Valley you can visit my post here.
What City is Closest to Death Valley
The closest major cities to Death Valley include Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, & Yosemite. The approximate driving times from these major destinations:
- Las Vegas: 2 to 2.5 hour driving time
- Los Angeles: 4 to 4.5 hour driving time
- San Francisco: 7.5 hour driving time
- Yosemite National Park: 6 hour driving time. Always check for road closures when traveling to or from Yosemite, especially in the winter.
Death Valley Pet Friendly Lodging Options
There are a couple of options of dog-friendly accommodations for you to stay in Death Valley or right outside of it.
Camping With Your Dog Death Valley
As I mentioned above, you are allowed to camp in Death Valley with your dogs. If you are looking for a dog-friendly tent perfect for Death Valley and other outdoor adventures visit my post 13 Best Tents For Dogs: Ultimate Guide & Review
But be aware, even in the spring, the temperatures at night drop, and during the day, the heat can be unbearable. However, if you do not mind these temperature swings, you can find more information on camping in Death Valley National Park here.
Death Valley Dog-Friendly Hotels
Choosing where to stay at Death Valley is a big decision when planning your visit to the national park. There are only 4 hotels inside Death Valley National Park. Two of those hotels are dog-friendly. Lodging inside of Death Valley National Park books up quickly, so be sure to make your reservations as soon as possible.
Your other option is to book your stay outside of Death Valley in a nearby city. I have found that the majority of the accommodations outside of the national park are dog friendly and will be at a cheaper price.
Panamint Springs Resort is one of the two dog-friendly lodgings inside of Death Valley National Park. The other popular hotels in Death Valley, such as the Inn and the Ranch at the Oasis, are not dog friendly.
Panamint Springs is a budget-friendly motel that offers lodging in one of their cabin-style rooms or you can book your stay at their campsite and RV site. They also have a restaurant on-site.
Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel
Stovepipe Wells Hotel is the second dog friendly hotel in Death Valley. It’s a cozy hotel surrounded by views of the Mesquite Sand Dunes.
The hotel has an Old Western theme with a rustic saloon and restaurant. Other amenities include a heated outdoor pool, general store, RV park, and a campsite are also available.
Dog-Friendly Hotels Near Death Valley
We visited on a busy weekend and were unable to stay inside Death Valley, but we found lodging in Beatty, Nevada at a Motel 6.
Beatty is the town right outside of Death Valley. It will take you about 45 minutes to 1 hour to get to the locations inside Death Valley. Beatty is a little bit of an extra drive, but we did enjoy our time exploring this small town.
You will not be disappointed with your visit, there are so many unique and interesting things to do in Beatty, NV, including a ghost town! There are plenty of great restaurants to grab a bite after a long day in Death Valley and other touristy locations in the area for you to explore.
Motel 6 is where we stayed during our time in Beatty, NV. The accommodations were clean, a great value for the price, and in a great location. We were within walking distance or a short drive to the popular Beatty restaurants and sites.
For a little bit of everything, including a 24-hour casino, Stagecoach Hotel is a great budget-friendly option. They also offer amenities like a pool, spa, and a Denny’s Restaurant. The Stagecoach Hotel & Casino is also located on Highway 95, which is the main street that runs through Beatty, NV.
Another option, especially if you are traveling from Las Vegas, is staying in Death Valley Junction. Amargosa Opera House is a café, opera house, and dog-friendly hotel in Death Valley Junction. Amargosa is a little closer to the entrance of the national park and must-see locations than Beatty, NV.
Pros & Cons of Taking Your Dogs to Death Valley National Park
- You get to take your dog on a fun and exciting road trip
- Save on boarding your dog for the weekend
- There are multiple drives and must-see locations that you can take your dog.
- Many workarounds to allow you to visit all of the top locations to see in Death Valley
- The options for dog-friendly lodging is limited
- You cannot go hiking in Death Valley with your dog.
- Dogs are not allowed on the Salt Flats at Badwater Basin
- I do not recommend visiting with dogs during the summer months
- You may have to do some solo hiking if someone has to stay with the dog.
Where to Next?
If you are looking for more adventure with your pup, check out my 10 Best Pet Friendly Glamping Sites in Northern California.
Find More Unique Locations For You to Visit in Southern & Northern California.
- Griffith Observatory Sunrise Hike: Experience gorgeous views of Downtown LA and Mt. Hollywood.
- Pfeiffer Beach: The Purple Sand Beach in Big Sur, CA.
- Half Moon Bay: A cozy beach town in northern California. Visit for great seafood and beautiful views of the California coast.
- Jack London Square: Located on the waterfront in Oakland, CA. Only a bridge, short drive, or BART ride away from San Francisco.
In Conclusion: Is Taking Your Dogs to Death Valley National Park Worth It?
My answer is yes, taking your dogs to Death Valley is worth it! With these few workarounds and a little patience, we could see everything we had on our bucket list in Death Valley.
I would say the only reason I would not bring a dog again is if we wanted to go hiking next time. If you are coming to Death Valley to admire all of its beautiful anomalies, and you are also debating about taking your dog with you, I say go for it!!
For all my guides on Death Valley, like Gas Stations in Death Valley: Tips For Your Road Trip & Does it Snow in Death Valley, you can visit the tips for Death Valley guide page here.