There are 10 front-country campgrounds to choose from at Death Valley National Park, with the Furnace Creek Campground perhaps the most in demand thanks to the nearby swimming pool.
But if swimming isn't high on your list of priorities, there are campgrounds that place you close to Scotty's Castle, campgrounds that might feel like small towns due to their hundreds of sites, and campgrounds somewhat off the beaten path.
Here's a short rundown on each campground, followed by a chart generated by the Park Service.
* Emigrant Campground offers 10 tent sites year-round. You can find it nine miles south of Stovepipe Wells Village along Highway 190. Nightly cost: Free.
* Furnace Creek Campground underwent extensive renovations in 2012, with work focused on utilities, roads, and campsites. The 136 sites are located 196 feet below sea level, providing some bragging rights for camping at the lowest spot in the Northern Hemisphere. Nightly cost: $18 from from mid-October to mid-April, $12 the rest of the year.
* Mesquite Spring Campground is for those who want to try to rise above the heat, and that's possible at this campground located at an elevation of 1,800 feet. There are 30 sites here, running water, toilets, and for RVers, a dump station. Nightly cost: $12.
* Panamint Springs Resort is privately owned. Located 31 miles west of Stovepipe Wells Village, it offers 26 sites along with a dozen RV sites with full hookups and 25 more RV sites that just offer water. The resort does offer showers, a nice amenity, and a restaurant. Nightly cost: $7.50 per tent site, $30 for full hookups (30 and 50 amp), $15 for water-only RV sites. Showers are included in the nightly fee. New in 2012 were two tent cabins, for $35 a night for up to four people. Cots for two people are provided (but no bedding) for that cost, an extra cot comes for $10 a night. The fourth person sleeps on the ground.
* Stovepipe Wells Village can be crowded during the high (winter) season, thanks to its 190 sites. Located at sea level, the campground closes during the high heat of summer. Nightly cost: $12. There is a 14-spot RV campground in the village next to the General Store, with full hookups, that cost $32 a night in 2012.
* Sunset Campground offers 279 sites at 196 feet below sea level. You have water here, but no picnic tables. There is, however, a dump station for RVers. Nightly cost: $12.
* Texas Spring Campground's 92 sites are at sea level and you have access to picnic tables, campfire rings, running water, and flush toilets. Nightly cost: $14.
* Wildrose Campground is another site for those hoping to flee the heat, thanks to its 4,100-foot elevation. There's no charge for staying in one of the 23 sites located 30 miles south of Stovepipe Wells Village on the Trona-Wildrose Road, and you'll have access to picnic tables, running water, fire pits, and pit toilets.
* Thorndike Campground and Mahogany Flat Campground are considered "primitive" campgrounds due in part to their access: it's recommended that you have a high-clearance four-wheel drive. Thorndike, at an elevation of 7,400 feet, has six free campsites. But you'll need to bring your own water. Mahogany is even higher, at 8,200 feet, so nights in the 10 campsites (also free) can be brisk during the winter months.
Furnace Creek Campground is currently CLOSED
On February 1, 2012, construction began on Furnace Creek Campground's roadways, utilities, and campsite renovations. Until the campground's renovation is complete, no new reservations will be accepted. We will start taking new reservations August 8, 2012. The staff apologizes for any inconvenience.
Texas Spring Campground is open for summer camping in the Furnace Creek area. Tent camping only on lower level; RVs and tent camping on upper level.Temporary generator Hours: 7am to 7pm.
General information about Furnace Creek Campground and other National Park Service recreation opportunities is available at http://www.recreation.gov,
Dump StationFurnace Creekall year
sea level$1492yesyesyesflushyesStovepipe WellsOct-Apr
sea level$12190yessomesomeflushyesMesquite Springall year
1800'$1230yesyesyesflushyesEmigrant (tents only)all year
8200'free10noyesyespitno* Accessible to high clearance vehicles only. 4-wheel drive may be necessary.
** Furnace Creek Campground becomes first come-first served and fee changes to $12 per night from mid-April to mid-October.