DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – Death Valley National Park opened Hole in the Wall Road and Echo Canyon Road on Wednesday, November 9. The National Park Service (NPS) road crew re-established these backcountry roads after they had been partially erased by flash floods. A free permit is now required to camp along these backcountry roads.
The NPS established nine campsites along Echo Canyon Road and six along Hole in the Wall Road. No camping is allowed along these roads, except with a permit in designated site. Permits can only be acquired in person at Furnace Creek Visitor Center (8:00 am to 5:00 pm) and Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station (intermittent hours). The free permits can be issued for stays of up to seven nights, but cannot be reserved in advance.
Roadside camping along these routes has increased greatly over the past decade. When campsites were full, people drove off road to create new sites. By limiting camping to designated sites, the NPS hopes that campers will be able to experience the solitude and quiet of the surrounding wilderness. Limiting the number and location of campsites will also reduce human impacts on the desert.
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. Park staff compare usage information from permits with resource impacts on the ground to determine if use limitations are needed to protect the fragile desert. Permits are also valuable during search-and-rescue efforts. Backpacking and roadside camping permits are not required for any other area of the park, but they are encouraged.
Lodges and campgrounds are open in Death Valley National Park. Some roads are open, and many roads are still closed while repairs continue from this summer’s flash floods. Current park conditions are available at: nps.gov/deva.
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 www.nps.gov/deva.
(From Death Valley National Park)