Stovepipe Wells is one of three lodging locations in California's Death Valley. It is near the middle of the park. You'll find motel-style lodging, camping, a restaurant and bar, gas station and convenience store there.
Stovepipe Wells is close to the Mesquite Sand Dunes, Scotty's Castle, Ubehebe Crater, Rhyolite ghost town and The Racetrack.
Don't let outdated information confuse you, especially negative opinions posted before 2011. Early that year, Ortega Family Enterprises took over as concessioners at Stovepipe Wells. They're a well-respected group who also operate the Muir Woods Trading Company and Bandelier National Monument. Since then, they have made positive changes, but progress is slow for any national park concessioner and this one is no exception.
What's at Stovepipe Wells
Stovepipe Wells is like a small resort, even though it doesn't indulge in calling itself by that name. They have motel-style rooms, tent camping and an RV park. There's also a National Park Service campground next door.
The complex also has a small convenience store and gift shop, The gas station is open 24 hours, but you need a credit card when the store is closed. They have a restaurant and saloon. Both of them serve food. The swimming pool is also a nice relief when the weather is hot.
There's an airport about a half mile away from Stovepipe Wells, for private planes only.
Pros at Stovepipe Wells
The rooms at Stovepipe Wells are clean and the place is quiet, Rates for their patio and standard rooms are lower than comparable lodging at The Ranch at Death Valley.
Stovepipe Wells is pet-friendly, although you'll still have to follow the National Park rules about where you can take your animals.
Stovepipe Wells is also an official night sky viewing area, with gentle lighting to keep the starry splendor unspoiled. The office can tell you when you can see the International Space Station fly over - and even loan you a pair of binoculars for a closer look.
The bottom line for me is that this location gives better value for my money than Furnace Creek and it's cleaner and nicer than Panamint Springs. I also like the food in their restaurant better than what I can get at The Oasis at Death Valley.
Cons at Stovepipe Wells
Stovepipe Wells is a 40-minute drive from Furnace Creek, which is where you have to go for ranger programs and jeep rentals. It's not a convenience, but an easy drive that I always enjoy.
Internet access at Stovepipe Wells can be fussy at best and exasperating at worst. The only place it works is in a common room, which can be busy and offers little privacy.
Only the Deluxe rooms have televisions, but you didn't go to Death Valley to watch your shows, did you?
None of their rooms have telephones, an inconvenience made worse by poor cellphone service in the area. You can get reliable cell signals at Furnace Creek if you need to make a call.
Stovepipe Wells Location
Stovepipe Wells in the middle of Death Valley National Park and especially convenient for going to attractions in the northern part of the park. It's just west of the intersection of CA Hwy 190 (which goes south toward Furnace Creek or west toward Panamint Springs) and CA Hwy 374 which goes east toward Beatty, Nevada.