Death Valley National Park

Auto Touring - Southwest: California Route 178

Overview | Map | Description | Things To Do| Camping/Lodging | Nearby

About 50 miles south of California Route 190, U.S. 395 intersects California Route 178 near Ridgecrest and China Lake. Turn east here to enter the park along this scenic route. It passes near the unique geologic formation of the Trona Pinnacles at about the 20 mile mark.


It is another 25 miles before Highway 178 enters Death Valley National Park and ascends scenic Wildrose Canyon along a steep, winding road. (Longer vehicles are advised to take Panamint Valley Road to Route 190 before entering the park.)

Charcoal Kilns

Turn east at Wildrose Campground to visit the Charcoal Kilns, constructed more than a century ago to manufacture charcoal for use in nearby ore smelters. Chinese laborers built the kilns without mortar, and Shoshone Indians tended them with pinyon pine and juniper from the surrounding forests.

This is also the access point to trailheads for Wildrose Peak (9054 feet) and Telescope Peak (11049 feet), the highest point in Death Valley National Park.


Back on the highway, Route 178 passes through Emigrant Pass (5547) 8 miles to the north. A couple miles further, turn right onto the 7-mile dirt road to Aguereberry Point (6433 feet) for a panoramic view of Death Valley from the west.

Route 178 then descends into Emigrant Canyon. At the upper end of the canyon is the geologically interesting Harrisburg Flats. Immediately thereafter is the 7-mile dirt road to the ghost town of Skidoo, another abandoned mining town from the turn of the century. It derived its name from a common saying of the time, "Twenty-three Skidoo."

Back on the highway, Route 178 completes its descent through Emigrant Canyon and converges with Route 190 (35 miles from the Visitor Center) and descends to Stovepipe Wells Village near the valley floor.

 Southeast: California Route 178
 East: California Route 190
 Northeast: Nevada Route 374
 North: Nevada Route 267
 West: California Route 190
 Southwest: California Route 178

Overview | Map | Description | Things To Do| Camping/Lodging | Nearby


Share this page on Facebook:

DesertUSA Newsletter -- We send articles on hiking, camping and places to explore, as well as animals, wildflower reports, plant information and much more. Sign up below or read more about the DesertUSA newsletter here. (It's Free.)

The Desert Environment
The North American Deserts
Desert Geological Terms



Ballarat, and the Rainbow Chasers
Ballarat, California.At the end of every rainbow is a pot of gold. Parked at the base of the Panamint Mountains are the remains of Ballarat, California. Founded in 1876 as a supply center for gold mines and prospectors, Ballarat lasted 21 years.

Death Valley - Overview
Take the Death Valley grand tour - see the Badwater Basin, the lowest place in North America; the dramatically eroded Sabriski Point; Artist’s Palette, with its unusual tonal colors; Salt Creek and its pupfish, Titus Canyon and more! See why Death Valley is such a spectacular National Park!

Death Valley - Scotty’s Castle
Find out how Scotty's Castle came to be, when Albert Johnson met Walter Scott, later known as Death Valley Scotty. Take a tour of the magnificent rooms and see the castle's fantastic furnishings. Hear the organ in the music room as you experience this place of legend first-hand.

Titus Canyon, drive through Red Pass
As Titus Canyon Road in Death Valley reaches the foothills, it starts to climb and meander among the sagebrush and red rock outcroppings. The road becomes steeper and narrower as it approaches Red Pass, amply named for its red rocks and dirt. Enjoy the ride!


Hot temperatures in the desertAre you interested in the temperatures in the desert?

Click here to see current desert temperatures!

DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.

Copyright © 1996- and Digital West Media, Inc. - -