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Beatty - Nevada

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 Beatty Nevada: Where to Stay

 

Beatty is the closest town to Death Valley National Park and is only a half-hour's drive from the valley floor.

If Beatty had an official town animal, it would have to be the burro. During the gold rush era in the 1800s, prospectors came to the Amargosa Valley with their belongings on the backs of sturdy burros (usually one burro to a miner). Realizing that the gold fields of California were far away, they hiked over the mountains, leaving their burros behind. The little pack animals thrived in the desert, breeding thousands of descendants. By 1950, there were so many herds of wild burros around Beatty and in Death Valley that a program to export burros was begun, and it continues today. However, you'll still see plenty of burros grazing in the desert, paying no attention to highway traffic.

Beatty: What to See & Do

Beatty was the railroad service center for the Bullfrog Mining District in 1900. Nearby Rhyolite, the mining camp, was a booming town of 10,000. Today, Rhyolite is a ghost town (although a new gold mine and mill operate near the old townsite), and Beatty is a casual highway stopping point for travelers to Death Valley. Rhyolite is worth the short drive south of town. The wind has knocked down many of the buildings on the old mining town's main street, and only a few walls remain. The mission-style railroad station still stands, as does a bottle house that was constructed with 50,000 liquor and beer bottles by a miner, Tom Kelly. Some of the features of the old town are to be restored by the Friends of Rhyolite, a nonprofit society recently formed. The bottle house is high on their list of priorities.

With six campgrounds and RV parks, Beatty provides a cooler place to camp than Death Valley during summer months. There are also several motels, as well as casinos, bars, and cafes. One campground is at Bailey's Hot Springs, located 6 miles north of Beatty on U.S. 95. The hot springs resort has a picnic area and offers swimming in addition to providing campsites for overnight visitors.

The highway drive to Death Valley (via Highway 374) passes through Daylight Pass. Travelers during the winter season -- October to June -- may wish to take the Titus Canyon backroad, an extremely scenic one-way route that crosses the Amargosa Range and reaches Death Valley to connect with the road to Scotty's Castle, near the north end of the valley. Ubehebe Crater is also in this northern area.

Southwest of Beatty are the Amargosa Dunes, huge hills of sand open to the public for hiking, off-road driving, and picnicking. Conventional vehicles (even 4WD vehicles) are not suitable for driving on the dunes: ATVs or dune buggies are required. The dunes are just a small part of what constitutes the Amargosa Desert, a vast tract that lies in the valley of the old Amargosa River. The river is now a series of dry washes. Many backroads lead through Bureau of Land Management lands.

A Low-Level Day-Trip

The Amargosa must be savored -- close up and not just not driven past -- and a day-trip provides the full impact of the desert and this fascinating region, with a drive through the Amargosa plus a tour of parts of Death Valley.

Start at Beatty and drive southeast along U.S. Highway 95. Turn south at Lathrop Wells (46 miles from Beatty) and drive across the desert to Death Valley Junction (the site of the fabled, quirky Amargosa Opera House). Continue west, descending into Death Valley through the Furnace Creek Wash. Drive north, exiting Death Valley via Highway 374.

 Hotels

Phoenix Inn
Highway 95 and 1st Street. Beatty, NV 89003
(702) 553-2250 or 888-845-7401
With 54 air-conditoned rooms, featuring king-size beds, telephones, cable-TV, and free continental breakfast, the inn has inexpensive rates plus AARP and other discounts. ($)

Exchange Club Motel
P.O. Box 97, Beatty NV 89003
(702) 553-2333
Easily found on U.S. Highway 95, this basic motel has 44 units (one with whirlpool bath), a coin laundry, and 24-hour coffee shop. There's also a small casino here ($ to $$).

Burro Inn
P.O. Box 7, Beatty NV 89003
(702) 553-2225
Just south of the main part of town -- at Third Street on U.S. 95 -- the Burro Inn has 62 rooms, laundry, a 24-hour cafe, lounge, and casino ($).

Beatty Camping

The town has several private RV parks, including an RV park at the Burro Inn (see above). There are 42 sites here, with hookups and laundry (and a casino to attract or distract you). For reservations, call (702) 553-2225 or 800-843-2078. Bailey's Hot Springs, 6 miles north of Beatty, has 14 sites with hookups as well as swimming. (702) 553-2395. The largest RV park in the area is the Rio Rancho RV Park, with 58 sites (with hookups), laundry, and playground. For reservations, call (702) 553-2238 or 800-448-4423.

Death Valley National Park (an hour's drive to the west) has campgrounds operated by the National Park Service.

 


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