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Much of the desert can be seen from the comfort of an air-conditioned car. Most visitors approach Death Valley from the west or the southeast. Whether you've come south from Bishop or north from Ridgecrest, head east from U.S. 395 on Highway 190 or 178. To enter Death Valley from the southeast, take Highway 127 north from Interstate 15 in Baker and link up with Highway 178, which travels west into the valley and then cuts north toward Highway 190 at Furnace Creek.
The major north-south route through the western Mojave is U.S. 395, which intersects with Interstate 15 between Cajon Pass and Victorville. U.S. 395 travels north into the Owens Valley, passing such relatively remote outposts as Lone Pine, Independence, Big Pine, and Bishop. Farther west, Highway 14 runs north-south between Inyokern (near Ridgecrest) and Palmdale. Two major east-west routes travel through the Mojave: to the north, Interstate 15 to Las Vegas, Nevada; to the south, Interstate 40 to Needles. At the intersection of the two interstates, in Barstow, Interstate 15 veers south toward Victorville and Los Angeles, and Interstate 40 gives way to Highway 58 west toward Bakersfield.
For the latest Mojave traffic and weather, tune in to the Highway Stations (98.1 FM near Barstow, 98.9 FM near Essex, and 99.7 FM near Baker). Traffic can be especially troublesome Friday through Sunday, when thousands of Angelenos head to Las Vegas for a bit of R&R.
Caltrans Current Highway Conditions (800/427–7623. www.dot.ca.gov.)
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