HomeOutdoorsNewsTwo More Backcountry Roads Reopen in Death Valley National Park

Two More Backcountry Roads Reopen in Death Valley National Park

by Amy Myers
Photo by David McNew/Getty Images

Following the damage that the summer’s flash floods have caused, Death Valley National Park has slowly been reopening its attractions and roads. Most recently, officials have made Cottonwood Canyon and Marble Canyon backcountry roads once again available to visitors.

According to the park’s release, officials actually reopened these roads last week just before Thanksgiving. Previously, in late August and early September, Death Valley saw catastrophic flash floods that wiped out roads and closed the gates. Since then, repair crews have been hard at work restoring stability to the area, and they’ve made significant progress.

So far, since the floods, Death Valley National Park has reopened:

  • Hole in the Wall Road and Echo Canyon Road
  • Badwater Basin area
  • CA-190
  • The areas between Death Valley’s Golden Canyon Trail and Artists Drive 
  • Emigrant, Wildrose, Thorndike, and Mahogany Flat campgrounds

Now, folks can backcountry camp along Cottonwood and Marble Canyon Roads. Although, there is a catch. While these roads are available to campers, it may be tricky for those with low-clearance vehicles to navigate.

“The road corridor beings with 4 miles of deep sand that is not typically passable for a low clearance vehicle,” the park cautioned.

For that reason, it may be best to stick to high-clearance vehicles with all-wheel and four-wheel drive while using the park’s backcountry roads.

Death Valley National Park Requiring Free Permits For Backcountry Camping

There are a total of 10 campsites along the Cottonwood-Marble Canyon loop, and while the national park continues to heal from the summer’s floods, Death Valley officials have implemented a free permit system. Park officials state that by requiring these permits, they can better communicate conservation-related practices while also managing how many people use the area at a time – at no extra cost to the visitors.

“Roadside camping has greatly increased over the past decade. As sites filled, people drove off road to create new sites. Permits are a way for park rangers to communicate with campers about Leave No Trace ethics, NPS regulations and other ways users can help protect the environment,” the release read. “By limiting roadside camping to designated sites, the NPS hopes campers can experience the solitude and quiet of the surrounding wilderness and limit the human impact on the desert.”

Death Valley National Park officials also claimed that the permits will assist in any search and rescue efforts. Besides Hole in the Wall Road and Echo Canyon Road, the park doesn’t require permits for camping in any other region. By keeping track of those in these backcountry regions, emergency teams will more easily be able to find a missing visitor in need of assistance.

To learn more about reserving a backcountry permit for Death Valley National Park, head here.