DEATH VALLEY, Calif. – It’s like déjà vu for work crews in Death Valley.
National Park Service workers are busy clearing roads today after two recent rain events wreaked havoc on Death Valley National Park’s roads this week. Crews had already cleared many roads after a historic flood two weeks ago heavily damaged them but small storms on Aug. 16 and Aug. 18 caused debris flows on roads set to reopen tomorrow.
“We are working quickly to address the additional storm damage to the Badwater area, but at this point, we don’t anticipate it will be open tomorrow morning,” said Mike Reynolds, park superintendent. “It may be tomorrow afternoon, Sunday, or even next week. This August has really shown Death Valley as a land of extremes as we’ve experienced record-setting rain and monsoons.”
Some of the park’s most popular sites are still gearing up to welcome visitors tomorrow, but park officials warn that the first 17 miles of Badwater Road (including all of Badwater Basin) and Dantes View may still be closed. Sites that require access from Badwater Road include Golden Canyon, Artist Drive, Devils Golf Course and Natural Bridge.
Park officials say the situation is fluid, and previously cleared roads can become obstructed overnight. Visitors are urged to remain patient and flexible due to the park’s erratic weather patterns. Monsoon season is expected to continue for another couple of weeks.
The following sites will be open on Saturday: Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Zabriskie Point, Mesquite Sand Dunes, Twenty Mule Canyon, Harmony Borax Works and State Route 190.
Park officials recommend that visitors stay tuned to alerts on the park website. They can also call the Furnace Creek Visitor Center at 760-786-3200.
Visitors will only be able to access the park via State Route 190 and Panamint Valley Road. All other paved roads – Badwater Road from CA-178, all access via NV-374 (Beatty Cutoff and Daylight Pass) and North Highway/Scotty’s Castle will remain closed for repairs.
According to the National Weather Service, temperatures in Death Valley over the weekend
are forecast to be around 115° F (46°C). The NPS encourages park visitors to stay safe in the summer by not hiking at low elevations after 10 am, staying within a short walk of air conditioning, drinking plenty of water, and eating salty snacks.