Of the five major sand dune areas in Death Valley National Park, Mesquite Flat is one of the smallest and most accessible. The other four, Panamint, Ibex, Saline Valley, and Eureka, are either too far out of the way for most visitors or are difficult to access. Located right outside of Stovepipe Wells, the Mesquite Dunes parking lot can be found directly off of Highway 190. This quick and easy access makes the area the most popular sand dunes in the park. This fact, as well as how close it is to Hollywood, has also led to the area's inclusion in many films. At 140 feet tall, the largest of the dunes at Mesquite Flat is known as Star Dune for its roll in Star Wars. Some of the other sand dunes in the area can reach upwards of 700 feet.
The parking lot has restrooms and plenty of space for a vehicle or RV. A free hike area begins where the pavement ends, and there are 14 square miles of sand at your feet that are ready for exploration. It is best to hike the area during the autumn and winter months when the temperatures in Death Valley are quite pleasant. Also, consider attempting this hike early in the morning when it is still cool outside. Whenever you go, be sure you bring plenty of water and sun protection. Hiking through sand dunes can be tough to traverse, disorienting to navigate, and very exposed.