Harry Wade Road - Death Valley National Park

4.3/5 (5 reviews)
Shoshone, California (Inyo County)
Last Updated: 01/16/2019

Trail Information


The Harry Wade Road (aka Badwater Road) is an easy backcountry route in Death Valley National Park and was first pioneered in 1849 by the Harry Wade family on their way to the California gold fields. Today this remote area of Death Valley National Park sees few visitors but offers spectacular views, and a dramatic water crossing of the Amargosa River, if there is water present.

Trail Difficulty and Assessment

Trail Navigation

Trail Reviews

4.3/5 (5)
Rated 4/5
Visited: 12/05/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Great Shortcut into Death Valley instead of going around via Jubilee Pass. Didn’t have a chance to explore the area but I tend to come back!
Rated 5/5
Visited: 05/22/2021
Difficulty Accuracy: Spot On

Really awesome views of southern Death Valley. Very easy ride, the offshoot we took for camping which I think was the first BLM road highlighted here was a little more rough but had a great disperseed camping area at the top.
Rated 4/5
Visited: 05/18/2021

This was our last leg on the way out after coming into the park from the north near Manzanar, passing Cerro Gordo and over Lippincott pass. Compared to all that, this was VERY tame but still a great stretch to camp along and easy driving after a few more challenging days. There were a few washboardy spots but mostly smooth sailing the whole way, a good bit of dust but some of the dispersed camping spots go in pretty far so you can get away from the road a bit. Only a few cars pass and we had way off in the distance neighbors, but it is off the beaten path enough of the park to get away from the masses. Phenomenal sunsets here, watching the way it changes the landscape colors and textures was wild.
Visited: 03/04/2018

We drove the trail northbound starting at Saratoga Sring Rd and headed northbound onto Jubilee Pass Rd. We did not drive the first mile because we explored the nearby Ibex mine and Saratoga Springs. Enjoy the timelapse which includes the crossing of Armagosa River at approximately 3:54. Road is in great condition, excellent grading with virtually no washboard sections, I would not hesitate to drive it in most vehicles, high clearance or 4x4 is not necessary.
Official Crew
Visited: 02/25/2018

Thanks for the write-up! I took this great shortcut on my trip to Warm Springs Road during February 2018. I prefer to go this route instead of going through Shoshone. There was actually water during this time at the Amargosa River crossing, but only about 6" deep. I also did not need to air down and was able to cruise at about 50 mph the entire length. 50 mph seems to be the magic number to smooth out the stutter bumps.

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