This post is part of Just Ahead’s Death Valley Trip Planner—our guide to everything you need to know to plan your trip to Death Valley National Park. Click here to see the complete series, and be sure to download our Just Ahead smartphone audio tour of Death Valley before you head to the park.
Hospitality has a long history in Death Valley. Even before it became a national park, Death Valley was luring visitors by offering them comfortable accommodations amid the exotic desert splendor of the region.
As the heyday of borax mining was fading in the 1920s, the Pacific Coast Borax Mining Company set its sights on tourism, and opened Furnace Creek Inn in 1927. Furnace Creek Ranch followed in 1933. Around the same time, an entrepreneur named Bob Eichbaum built a toll road over Towne Pass and opened a lodge at Stovepipe Wells. Panamint Springs, also on the toll road, opened in 1937.
All of these historic lodges remain open today, and each offers food service and a general store. All are privately operated.
A quick orientation: The two Furnace Creek properties are in the heart of the park near the park visitor center and general store. Stovepipe Wells and Panamint Springs lie to the west on Highway 190. These lodges have a more rural and isloated flavor, but still offer full services.
Furnace Creek Inn
The four-diamond, 66-room Inn at Furnace Creek has the most luxurious lodging and dining in Death Valley National Park. The hillside oasis has a spring-fed swimming pool and features beautiful stonework executed by European craftsmen. The inn is fully operational from October 10 to May 10, but is also open from mid-July to late August as an overflow option—Furnace Creek Ranch tends to fill up during that period. (Yes, Death Valley is very popular in the summer. Click here to learn all about it.) Food service is limited to a nightly buffet during the summer opening.
Furnace Creek Ranch
The 224-room Ranch at Furnace Creek is Death Valley National Park’s largest lodge. Set in a palm-studded oasis, the Ranch, which is more casual than the Inn, is open year-round. It has a spring-fed swimming pool, two restaurants, a general store, and close proximity to the park visitor center and the lowest golf course in the world.
Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel
The 83-room Stovepipe Wells Village Hotel is on Highway 190 about 25 miles west of Furnace Creek. The motel-style lodge has a swimming pool, restaurant, saloon, general store, and gas station. Open year-round.
Panamint Springs Resort
Panamint Springs Resort, on Highway 190 about 55 miles west of Furnace Creek, has 14 motel-style rooms, a cottage, and tent cabins. On site are a lounge, restaurant, general store, and gas station. Open year-round.
To see our complete Death Valley Trip Planner series, click here.