Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
100.00 ft (30.48 m)
Trail type
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

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.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass

National Park Pass


Quick, easy access.


Small dunes.

Trailhead Elevation

100.00 ft (30.48 m)


Big vistas


Nearby Lodging + Camping


We visited the Mesquite dunes this month around the full moon and had some great fun climbing around in the dunes. They are quite popular and finding untracked dunes was a bit of a challenge. This is an amazing place, especially for those willing to walk a distance from the parking area or approach the dunes from a different direction, such as hiking from the Stovepipe Wells campground.
One of the most magical days of my life was experiencing a sunrise in the sand dunes at Mesquite Flats. The golden rays of the sun as it lit up first the mountain tops and then the valley was mesmerizing. But, I now have to try and experience the "star studded" night sky too.
A great and easy to get to dunes. These dunes are amazing, but can get quite hot during the day. Be careful of windy days and sand being brought up at eye level.
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