The most visible (but not the largest) sand dunes in Death Valley National Park are the Mesquite Flat Dunes. A small parking lot located off Highway 190 three miles south of Stove Pipe Wells offers a great starting point for a trek out to the dunes.
There is no formal trail to follow, just strike out for the high sands, which are reachable within a half mile. Cross the ridges and aim for the point of your choosing. The highest dune rises 100 feet above the desert floor. The Mesquite Flat Dunes fill the center of a Y-shaped valley. That geography lead to the creation of the dunes and also makes for vast views. In some areas, the sand has dried to form hard clay, which lies on the desert floor cracked in polygon shaped patterns.
Pack plenty of water and expect to hike at least two miles among the dunes, depending on your ambition. If high winds are present, moving sand can be quite stinging and make hiking the dunes less enjoyable. Otherwise, have fun walking over, and running down the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes. There is an entrance fee for Death Valley National Park, but no permit is required to hike on the dunes.
To get to the trailhead: From Furnace Creek drive 22 miles northwest on Highway 190. Three miles before Stovepipe Wells, turn right into a parking lot for the sand dunes.
Trailhead address: California 190, Death Valley National Park, CA 92328
Trailhead coordinates: 36.602187, -117.100173 (36° 36′ 07.87″N 117° 06′ 00.62″W)
Use the map below to view the trail and get directions:
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Explore more destinations in Death Valley National Park.
|Death Valley Campgrounds|
There are nine campgrounds spread throughout this large park to facilitate your visit.