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Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,977 posts
52 reviews
Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

A huge construction project on NV Hwy 160 will heavily impact Death Valley visitors who want to come from Las Vegas via Pahrump.

The work is on Hwy 160 at Mountain Springs, a hilly, rural section between Hwy 159 (the Red Rock Canyon road) and the outskirts of Pahrump. This is major work to widen the road to four lanes; improve median barriers, signage, and lighting; change the grade on some turnouts to make them safer; add new plants and replant others salvaged during the project; even put in a wildlife undercrossing. There will be 1-way controlled traffic with pilot cars, and blasting will take place through Oct. 15, sometimes resulting in 2-hour delays.

Because of reduced roadway and shoulder widths in work zones, peds and bicycles will not be allowed at any time in this area.

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The worst part of this is that the project will last two years, until August 2020. NDOT is urging people to take alternate routes if possible, which casual Death Valley visitors can work around but will be an awful ordeal for Pahrump residents who commute to Las Vegas. Some folks thought they were giving up hectic urban living and accepting a long commute in exchange for rural peace and quiet; but over the last 20 years have found themselves living in an unincorporated town with no planning or review process that has metastasized like crabgrass on steroids, where apartment houses, mobile homes, trailers serving as residences, ranches, junkyards, dollar stores, and whatever else someone wants to toss together on their land coexist side by side. And along with living with all that, now their one commute route is disrupted.

Here are your alternate routes. Distances are all from McCarran International Airport and are approximate since everyone has varying travel styles and makes different stops or detours. These directions may seem confusing and will be clearer if you have good Nevada and California road maps.

1). BEATTY ROUTE: U.S. Hwy 95 north from Las Vegas to Beatty, west on NV 374 to the park. The 100 miles/160 km to Beatty on the federal highway are not very dramatic. You do get to see the ghost town of Rhyolite, and arrive in Death Valley conveniently close to Mesquite Dunes and Ubehebe Crater. But you bypass Dantes View and Zabriskie Point, requiring a long detour south to see those places later. About 175 miles/282 km from airport to Furnace Creek.

2). AMARGOSA VALLEY ROUTE: U.S. 95 north from Las Vegas to Amargosa Valley, then south on NV 373 which becomes CA 127 to Death Valley Junction, then west on CA 190. Much of this route is not very dramatic, but the plus is that Dantes View and Zabriskie Point are right on your way into the park. About 155 miles/250 km from airport to Furnace Creek.

3). BAKER ROUTE: This is the longest, and there is nothing exciting between Las Vegas and Baker, so it isn’t the most desirable. I-15 from south side of Las Vegas to Baker CA, then CA 127 north to Shoshone; and either stay on 127 for Death Valley Junction and CA 190 west or take Badwater Road north into the park. About 170 miles/274 km from airport just to Shoshone. From Shoshone to Furnace Creek area is 75 miles/120 km via Badwater; you do not pass Dantes and must detour 25 miles one way from FC to see it. From Shoshone to Furnace Creek via Death Valley Junction is 60 miles/100 km, and Dantes and Zabriskie are on the way.

I'm not on this forum a lot, so if someone wants to bump this thread occasionally, that would be great. We will be approaching the heavy visitor season in Death Valley in a few weeks and it would be nice if folks knew in advance what to expect.

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21 replies to this topic
Jupiter, Florida
Level Contributor
8 posts
6 reviews
1. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Thanks for posting! We have a trip planned for February and usually take 160, but we'll probably go the Amargosa route this time.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,977 posts
52 reviews
2. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Bump, because we continue to get inquiries on the Death Valley forum about visiting from Las Vegas.

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,338 posts
90 reviews
3. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Bump.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,977 posts
52 reviews
4. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Bump bump.

Blasting scheduled to go through Oct. 15. There is an identical thread on the Death Valley National Park (California) forum that is more active.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Las Vegas
Level Contributor
14,358 posts
2,303 reviews
5. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

This is a major problem at this time. Thanks OP for posting. Plan for major delays.

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,977 posts
52 reviews
6. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Bump

4 posts
7. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Sitting here right at this moment planning my day trips for December. Thanks for the post.

Las Vegas, Nevada
Destination Expert
for Atlantic City
Level Contributor
5,170 posts
374 reviews
8. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Great Posting and Great advise, i hope many will still visit the Pahrump area and Death Valley National Park!

San Francisco
Destination Expert
for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
Level Contributor
16,977 posts
52 reviews
9. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

The blasting should be finished in a week or two, but the construction will go on until mid-2020. So there will be delays, but not the 2-hour ones necessary when explosives are being used. There should be more updates once the next construction phase starts.

Charlotte, North...
Level Contributor
1,338 posts
90 reviews
10. Re: Hwy 160 Pahrump area alert - impact on Death Valley travel

Bump

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