Death Valley National Park

Auto Tour West: California Route 190

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

California Route 190 runs east from U.S. 395 at Olancha, California (about 100 miles from Furnace Creek Visitor Center), over Towne's Pass (4956 feet) into Death Valley National Park.

As the first auto route into Death Valley in 1926, it was called the Eichbaum Toll Road. It is relatively steep on both sides of Towne's Pass, but it is the faster, if less interesting, entrance from the west.

About 65 miles from the turnoff, 190 merges with California Route 178 north of Emigrant Canyon. From here, it is about 6 miles to Mosaic Canyon turnoff on the east.

This dirt road leads up a wide alluvial fan to the mouth of the canyon from which there is a sweeping view of the northern part of Death Valley. A short walk into the canyon reveals walls of polished, multi-colored rock, best seen about noon.


Another 2 miles further on Route 190 brings you to Stovepipe Wells Village, a small town where all services are offered. From here, the highway turns east. Five miles further is the Devil's Cornfield off to the south. Because of erosion, Arrowweed Bushes in this area grow in individual, strange-looking clumps, resembling shocks of corn. Native Americans used the plants to fashion arrows shafts.

Sand Dunes Death Valley

Another 2 miles further along, you will probably notice vehicles parked along the highway. From here it is only a short 1/4-mile walk to the Sand Dunes to the north. Sand covers 14 square miles of Death Valley here. Wind continually ripples and rearranges these dunes, but mountain barriers maintain the main contours of the dunes from year to year and prevent them from moving cross-country.

From here, Route 190 turns south, and it is only 20 miles to the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.

 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


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