LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Almost two after Death Valley National Park was hit by a 1,000-year rain event that led to massive flooding throughout the park, the National Park Service (NPS) said it will be able to open two main roads into the park and allow access to the most popular areas.
On Saturday, Aug. 20 the NPS will reopen State Route 190, the main east-west road to enter and leave the park from either California or Nevada, and Panamint Valley Road which connects the Ridgecrest, CA area to SR 190 in the park.
Some of the park’s most popular sites will reopen to visitors this weekend including Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Badwater Basin (open only from State Route 190 but closed south of Badwater at mile marker 17), Golden Canyon, Artist Drive, Devils Golf Course, Natural Bridge, Zabriskie Point, Dantes View, Mesquite Sand Dunes, Twenty Mule Canyon, and Harmony Borax Works.
“We’re eager to welcome summer visitors back to Death Valley’s most popular sites, but at the same time, we want to caution folks that many roads in the park will remain closed for months during repair work,” said Mike Reynolds, park superintendent. “I’m thankful for our work crews and Caltrans partners who have worked tirelessly to reopen popular sites to visitors. It’s an opportune time to visit the park and witness firsthand the dramatic impacts of a 1,000-year flood event.”
Panament Valley Rd. to reopen Saturday, Aug. 20 through Death Valley. (Google Maps)
The planned reopening of the roads will depend on upcoming weather which could include more storms.
Due to severe flooding, all roads into and through the park were closed to the public on Friday, Aug. 5. The park, which has approximately 1,400 miles of roads, including 200 miles of paved roadways, was affected by debris, shoulder road loss, undercutting, and pavement loss. Workers assessed 600 miles of roads, and 200 miles are deemed impassable. Park officials say there are still 800 more miles of road left to assess.