Cottonwood Canyon and Marble Canyon backcountry roads reopen: Free permits required for roadside camping and backpacking

Campsite M3
Campsite M3 along Marble Canyon Road.

DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – Death Valley National Park opened Cottonwood Canyon and Marble Canyon roads on November 23. The National Park Service (NPS) road crew re-established these backcountry roads after damage by flash floods this summer. A free permit is now required to camp along these backcountry roads and for backpacking along the Cottonwood-Marble Canyons Loop.

Campers can get the free permits in person at Furnace Creek Visitor Center or Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station during business hours.  There are no advance reservations.

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. 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.

The Cottonwood and Marble Canyon Roads are accessible to high-clearance vehicles with all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive. The road corridor begins with 4 miles of deep sand that is not typically passable for a low clearance vehicle.

Deep sand for the first 4 miles of Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Road. NPS photo

Many other roads in the park remain closed. Visitors should check the most up to date road conditions on the park webpage.

Information on permits:

Road conditions:

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Death Valley National Park is the homeland of the Timbisha Shoshone and preserves natural resources, cultural resources, exceptional wilderness, scenery, and learning experiences within the nation’s largest conserved desert landscape and some of the most extreme climate and topographic conditions on the planet. Learn more at  

(From Death Valley National Park)

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