Located in the near dead-center of Death Valley National Park, the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes are the most well-known and easily accessible sand dunes in the entire park. Visitors will find the sand dunes parking area along Highway 190, 2.2 miles east of Stovepipe Wells.
While there’s no formal trail to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, these 100-foot dunes are easy to find. It’s a cross-country walk from the parking lot across the dune field to highest dunes, about a two-mile hike each way.
The dunes are at their most beautiful (and the temperatures most bearable) in early morning or during a full-moon hike. See our “Virtual Hike: Sunset at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes in Death Valley National Park” video below:
Expect big crowds most times of the year at the Mesquite Flat Dunes as this area is a fun place to explore with children. Park your car at the end of Sand Dune Road and you can join the countless others who come here to climb up and around the crescent, linear, and star-shaped dunes.
Despite its popularity, Mesquite Flats is not a playground. As the Park Service points out, three of the 18 heat-related deaths in Death Valley recorded since 2000 occurred here. “Sand hills quickly block views of the parking area and it’s easy to become disoriented: keep your car in your line of sight. Although the tallest dunes appear to be close, they are actually over a mile away: do not try walking to the high dunes in the summer heat.”