Why am I posting this? STAY AWAY! Just kidding but one of the great things about DV in the winter is the lack of crowds and tour buses. The other great thing is the mild temps. We were there in mid March and it was a pleasant 70-something the whole time. One of our Pacific storms from Alaska came down the coast and was dumping its usual rain on the northern California lowlands and snow in the Sierras. The effect in DV was un-restrained wind terminating in a spectacular dust storm as the leading edge of the front came through. From Furnace Creek we noticed a low brown cloud at the north end of the valley. Soon we could tell it was approaching and we stowed all the gear and closed the windows and made cocktails. It was fun to see the thick dustcloud creep up one ridge and down the other until it finally reached us and engulfed us in blowing, brown fog. Twenty minutes later it was gone and after vacuuming, camping got back to normal. The lack of crowds and the wind I mentioned above made hiking that much more fun- DV was as wild as it looked.
This was our first time in DV and we drove in from the west, from Highway 395 at Lone Pine where we connected with Highway 136 to Death Valley. We had stayed overnite at the Boulder Creek RV Park in Lone Pine and it was cool to wake up with the morning sun on Mt Whitney. Alabama Hills, the location of many western movies. The ones with round granite boulders in the foreground and jagged peaks in the background were filmed here and it would be fun to explore another time.
Caution on Highway 136 has been advised in this forum and so when the downgrade started I put the 30' MH/tow vehicle in 2nd and took it slow. The ride down to the valley was not a problem at all. Again, hardly any traffic.
We stayed at Stovepipe Wells Campground which is a big, flat parking lot with a restaurant, bar, gas station, etc. The nearby short hike up Mosaic Canyon was a must for newcomers. We then moved on to Sunset Campground at Furnace Creek and parked on the upper terrace and had the place to ourselves. Lots to do here as far as hikes, dining, museum, golf (with coyotes as course marshals!), etc. even in the winter.
Best of all, the DW thought it was great and wants to go back next winter!
photos at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/randa/sets/72157629112924498/
Rick n Andi
We were there around the 22nd of April. All was wonderful but we wished for a breeze as we went to bed around 11:30pm. Around 1am the gusts began. WHOOSH! then reasonably quiet and we'd doze off. Then another WHOOSH! that rocked us. We thought maybe we should bring the slide in. The next WHOOSH brought us out of bed and frantically bringing in the slide. The noise on the roof made us think the topper on the slide had been ripped apart. It wasn't. I don't know why not.
I had stopped at the Ranger desk and asked about a weather report. He said nothing about the wind.
We're in a truck camper and have a way of bringing the slide in while we are inside. I can't tell you how many times that's come in handy so far.