A large photo showing a watercolor drawing of a mountain raise in Death Valley National Park.

Edition 22 | Spring 2021

Shake off the winter chill in a wheelchair-accessible Death Valley Casita

by Candy Harrington

As Old Man Winter begins to blanket the country with snow, it’s time to steal away to sunnier weather. Unfortunately, air travel may prove impractical this season due to COVID-19 restrictions; however, it’s still possible to pack the car and hit the road for a getaway. And there’s no better–or warmer–landing place than Death Valley, Calif. where you are a short drive from Death Valley National Park, Sequoia National Park and the Las Vegas Strip. Stay at the recently renovated Inn at Death Valley, which features two new wheelchair-accessible casitas.

This AAA Four Diamond property is nestled into the mountainside and offers a commanding view of the Mojave Desert, framed by the Panamint Mountains. The historic property was gutted in 2018 and received a top-to-bottom renovation. Today it exudes an aura of casual elegance and combines the best of both worlds–vestiges of the rugged old west mixed with the conveniences of the 21st century.

Although steps grace the front entrance of this 1927 property, elevator access on the side of the building also gives guests access to the third-floor lobby. The lobby features barrier-free access and excellent views of the surrounding desert can be found just about anywhere. Accessible restrooms are located near the registration desk, as well as good pathway access to the historic lobby library, which is filled with comfortable furniture.

The Inn at Death Valley has several accessible guest rooms, but the newly built accessible casitas offer an added level of privacy. Casita 501 features wide doorways, lever handles, and excellent pathway access. The living area is furnished with a 13-inch high sleeper sofa, a desk with a chair, an easy chair and a chest of drawers. Around the corner, is a wet bar with a refrigerator and a microwave. The casita also features level access out to the spacious patio which borders an expansive lawn area. The patio includes a table with chairs and plenty of room for a large wheelchair or scooter.

The bedroom includes two 22-inch high queen-sized beds with an access aisle between them, a chest of drawers, and a nightstand. The spacious bathroom is equipped with a roll-in shower with grab bars, a hand-held showerhead and a fold-down shower bench located close to the shower controls. The toilet grab bars are located on the back and left walls (as seated), and the bathroom also includes a roll-under sink.

This casita adjoins another accessible casita that has the same basic access features, except it’s furnished with a king-sized bed. The accessible casitas are also located near the lift-equipped swimming pool. These units are truly the most accessible and luxurious accommodations in the park and an ideal choice for any break.

If You Go

Inn at Death Valley
(800) 236-7916

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Candy B. Harrington | Writer | @cbharrington

As a travel writer for 45 years, Candy has covered accessible travel exclusively for the past 25 years. She’s the founding editor of Emerging Horizons, and the author of a library of accessible travel guidebooks, including her popular national park series. And when she’s not on the road, she enjoys spending time with her travel photographer husband in their California Sierra home.

Read more by Candy Harrington.