So many of the iconic stops in Death Valley are on the valley’s floor. Badwater, the Sailing Stones, and the Devils Golf Course are all fairly low elevation. For many, the opportunity to see the park from above is most common while driving CA-190 over the Panamint Range and into the Badwater Basin. While the drive includes many stunning vistas, they are hard to compare to the colorful marbleized salt flats of the Death Valley floor and Badwater Basin as seen from Dante’s View.
Dante’s View is a lookout point along the ridgeline of the Black Mountain Range, 5,500 feet above sea level. From it, visitors can experience unparalleled views of the Badwater Basin’s salt flats, the Panamint mountain range across the valley, and Telescope Peak 11,331 feet above sea level.’
Visiting Dante’s View
Dante’s View is a 25-mile drive from Furnace Creek Visitors Center. The narrow paved road up to Dante’s View parking lot starts level. But it gradually climbs steeply up the eastern side of the Black Mountain Range. Due to the tight switchbacks, Vehicles longer than 25-feet long and trailers are not allowed on Dantes View Road. Fortunately, there is a lot for trailer parking 5.5 miles before reaching the viewpoint.
For those vehicles small enough to reach the summit, Dantes View includes a large, paved parking lot with a walkway flanking the south and west sides. There are several information kiosks along the walkway, with information about different points of interest. It is also a breathtaking trailhead for hikers to explore the ridgeline. The most popular route is the 8-mile round-trip to Mt. Perry.
This vista point is a popular destination for photographers, especially around sunrise and sunset. All the same, any time of day can make for dramatic views of the valley below. Dante’s view is all about the long-distance panoramas. If you have the option, try to visit at a time with minimal haze in the air for crystal clear views of the Panamint Mountain range across the valley. Be aware of any wind advisories that might whip up a dust storm and block the view.
Despite many past trips to Death Valley, this marks our first time driving to Dante’s View. Unlike many other attractions in Death Valley that can be combined with several other stops along the way, Dantes View is a 13-mile diversion from the main road (California Highway 190) so we’ve prioritized more conveniently located destinations in the past. That said, our visit to Dante’s View was long overdue and I am blown away by the stunning vista laid out below us.
When checking the weather that morning, we had seen alerts for wind warnings. After our harrowing experiences with tornadoes out east, it was a little hard to take wind warnings seriously in this vast landscape. Yet, when we hop out of the truck only to be greeted by a rough gust of wind, we reconsider our stance. Standing on the exposed ridgeline, the gusts, funneled by the mountainside, nearly blow us over. We take in the view and many pictures. But we quickly reconsider any attempts to hike the ridgeline and crawl back to the shelter of the parking with our tails between our legs.
As noted earlier, Dante’s View is a detour from most of the well-trafficked stops in Death Valley. That said, for those exploring the portion of Death Valley south of Furnace Creek, Dante’s View can easily be combined with Zabriskie Point and Twenty Mule Team Canyon. Better yet, after getting a view of the valley floor, experience it by driving down to Badwater, Devils Golf Course, and catching the Artists Drive Scenic Loop on the return trip up north.