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Los Angeles to Death Valley

Road Trip

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Getty Images/J Luke/PhotoLink
573.8 miles: 10 hours, 20 minutes
Wind-swept sand dunes. Otherworldly badlands. Serpentine stone canyons. The geologic wonders of Death Valley National Park lie within a day's drive of L.A. And this road trip loop offers the chance to see them all—from the lofty peaks of the Panamint Range to the lowest spot in North America (Badwater Basin). In summer, brace for blistering heat.
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Drive trips stop Meek
Los Angeles to Furnace Creek
274.8 miles: 4 hours, 55 minutes
With L.A. in the rearview mirror you'll travel to the arid Owens Valley before approaching the park from the west. The road climbs and winds through the rugged Panamint Range, then drops to the valley floor. Near the tiny tourist village of Stovepipe Wells (you'll find a motel, food, gas and supplies) are the park's most easily accessible sand dunes; a sunset visit is best.
Drive trips stop
Furnace Creek to Death Valley Junction
30.3 miles: 34 minutes
At the heart of the valley is oasis-like Furnace Creek (home to two hotels and the NPS visitor center), an ideal base for exploring the park's natural attractions. Catch sunrise at the famed Zabriskie Point overlook. Hike gorgeous Golden Canyon. Stand 282-feet below sea level at Badwater. Do sunset at the colorful, geologic kaleidoscope that is Artist's Palette.
Drive trips stop Feliciano
Death Valley Junction to Barstow
232.5 miles: 3 hours, 51 minutes
Though the scenery can't compare with that of Death Valley, the stretch of road between the junction and Baker offers some decent desert landscapes. Up for a bit of cheesy fun? There's a touristy ghost town just outside Barstow. Tip: It's wise to avoid this leg on Sunday afternoons when southbound I-15 is often jammed with L.A. weekenders driving home from Las Vegas.
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AAA Photo
Barstow to Los Angeles
36.2 miles: 58 minutes
Let's be honest—departing Barstow, the largely uninteresting scenery will tempt you to floor it back to L.A. Instead, slowing your roll will yield some interesting little attractions along the way. Back in the City of Angels, rinse off the road dust and settle in for a sophisticated dinner downtown.