Death Valley National Park Closes Most Roads Following Flash Floods — What to Know If You're Visiting

·2 min read
Road asphalt is crumbled up with a metal pipe sticking out.  Clouds loom in the sky over the broken road. Parts of Kelbaker Road have been completely destroyed.
Road asphalt is crumbled up with a metal pipe sticking out. Clouds loom in the sky over the broken road. Parts of Kelbaker Road have been completely destroyed.

NPS Photo/S. Andeskie

Most of Death Valley National Park's roads are now closed after extreme weather caused flash flooding in recent days, according to the National Park Service park's site.

The closures include sections of Highway 190, North Highway (also known as Scotty's Castle Road), Lower Wildrose Road (the stretch between CA 178 and the Wildrose area), Dantes View, Badwater Road, and 20 Mule Team Canyon, the National Park Service (NPS) announced. Additionally, it says to assume that all "unpaved roads are impassable."

"It is likely that additional roads are impassable," the park's site added. "Closures subject to change with changing conditions."

In addition to the closures, the NPS has also currently issued an "extreme weather" alert for the current "stormy" conditions, with the warning not to drive through any deep water or debris-covered roads.

The park also shared an image on its Facebook page of a vehicle swept off Highway 190 west of Stovepipe Wells that appears to be partially sunken into the debris. "We urge people traveling in this area to use extreme caution, as storms are forecast to continue through Thursday," the post's caption reads. "If you see flowing water or debris, remember: turn around, don't drown!"

While floodwaters have impacted the bulk of the roads, Daylight Pass Road, Salt Creek, and Emigrant to Wildrose Campground currently remain open, but the park urges visitors to check before arriving.

There is no estimate on when the closed roads will be reopen, officials told The Associated Press on Sunday after the weekend's weather conditions started affecting the park, which straddles both California and Nevada.

The area has long been prone to severe weather, as a record-breaking October 2015 thunderstorm brought a typical year's worth of rain in five hours, causing the largest flooding to the park's Scotty's Castle since it was built in the 1920s. Both the castle and Bonnie Claire Road (Highway 267) have remained closed since and aren't expected to reopen before April 2023.

About 100 miles south of Death Valley, Mojave National Preserve is also suffering from road closures from flash flooding and road washout — also leading to the closures of vistors centers at Hole-in-the-Wall and Barstow HQ/Kelso Depot. "Crews are assessing the situation and working to reopen when safe for the public," the preserve's NPS site says.