Panamint Springs Resort is on the western edge of Death Valley. It offers basic accommodations and a campground.
Whether or not it's a good fit for you depends on more than prices, amenities or even cleanliness. If you want to see the major Death Valley sights, Panamint Springs is 30 miles from the Mesquite Sand Dunes and 70 miles from Badwater. To get there, you have to drive over a winding, steep road. Before you decide to stay at Panamint Springs, check out Stovepipe Wells and The Oasis at Death Valley. They may be more to your liking.
Panamint Springs Resort is a good base to explore a few places on the west side of Death Valley, especially the charcoal kilns, Aguereberry Point and the ghost towns of Skidoo and Darwin. There's also a spring-fed waterfall - Darwin Falls - about a two-hour hike away.
What's at Panamint Springs Resort
Lodging at Panamint Spring is best described as adequate. Some online reviewers say it's more like an outpost than a resort. Others say it's "rustic." They have 14 motel-style rooms, a cottage, an RV park, a small store and gas station. There's also a restaurant and bar.
The RV park has tent sites, a dozen full hookup sites and some dry sites suitable for self-contained RVs. The campground has restrooms and showers. Pets are allowed for a small additional charge.
The gas station's pumps are open 24 hours, but you will have to use a credit card after hours.
Public WiFi internet access is available at no charge. The resort has no landline phone service and cell phone reception ranges from spotty to nonexistent.
Pros at Panamint Springs Resort
At 3,000-foot elevation, Panamint Springs is 10 to 15 °F cooler than Stovepipe Wells or Furnace Creek. That can make a big difference if you're there during hotter times of the year.
Panamint Springs is also the least expensive hotel in or near Death Valley. The RV park is about the same price as Stovepipe Wells. If you're towing a travel trailer, you can park it at Panamint Springs and avoid a long, hard tow over Emigrant Pass, which is 5,318 feet elevation (1.6 km).
Cons at Panamint Springs Resort
The Panamint Springs restaurant has far more beers on its menu than it does food items. If you eat there more than a couple of times, you could run out of things to try.
The gas station may be a relief to see if your tank is near empty, but prices are very high. One visitor said it was the most expensive gasoline they saw in their whole trip across the Western USA.
Online reviewers have little good to say about the accommodations. Even though it costs less than other area lodgings, many of them think it's too expensive. People who stay in the campground complain about dirty bathrooms and showers. Here's a sample of a recent review: "There is no cooling system to speak of, and no heating system. Upon arrival, our room was unclean, and the shower was filled with rust and mold."
Panamint Springs Resort Location
Panamint Springs Resort is on CA Hwy 190 (which goes east to Stovepipe Wells). That's the closest entry point to Death Valley if you're arriving via US Hwy 395.