Death Valley: Scotty’s Castle

HikeSnobs rate this: 1.5thumb (mainly because we didn’t go inside the castle)


Visited: September 5, 2015

Description: A two story Spanish inspired villa in the middle of Death Valley

Castle hours: Open daily from 7am-4:30pm. Please check their website or call 760 786 2392 for updated information. Hours vary due to weather conditions.

Duration: 1-2 hours

Difficulty: Easy

Parking: Lot

Best time to go: Early in the morning so you have time to tour the castle

On Sunday, October 18, 2015, a storm caused extensive flash flooding in the Scotty’s Castle area in northern Death Valley National Park. Initial assessments on Monday revealed damage to roads, utilities and some historic structures.

Scotty’s Castle is closed and will remain closed for at minimum several weeks. (But it may be closed for up to a year)

Bring: Camera

Constructed in 1922, Scotty’s Castle was never owned by Scotty. Walter Scott scammed Chicago millionaire Albert Johnson into investing in his gold mine that he claimed he owned in Death Valley. Johnson became suspicious of Scotty’s supposed mine when he received no return on his investment and decided to make a visit to California. Finding no mine, Johnson and Scotty somehow ended up becoming great friends.

Photo courtesy of

Johnson’s health improved tremendously in Death Valley’s environment, so he decided to purchase some land and built a vacation villa. Although Johnson visited occasionally, Scotty took up residence and claimed he built it with the millions he profited from his alleged gold mines and called it “Scotty’s Castle.”


Today, Scotty’s Castle (formally known as the Death Valley Ranch), is a wonderful stop to explore the beautiful villa. You can check out exhibits about the castle’s buildings and the people involved in its construction. There’s also a bookstore with souvenirs, snacks, sandwiches and drinks available for sale.

Unfortunately, you’ll have to schedule a ranger-guided tour to be able to see the interior of the castle. You can purchase same-day tour tickets (first-come, first-served) at the Scotty’s Castle Visitor Center. Fees are as follows:

  • Adult $15
  • Interagency Senior Pass Holder $7.50
  • Interagency Access Pass Holder $7.50
  • Child (6-15 years old) $7.50
  • Child (5 years old and under) Free

You can also make reservations at or by calling 877 444 6777 at least one day in advance.

We didn’t get to take a tour but we caught a glimpse of one part of the castle’s interior…


We quickly ran away when we heard voices and footsteps from the top.

Even though we didn’t get a tour of the interior, the exterior is pretty amazing.


We definitely wouldn’t mind having Scotty’s Castle as our vacation home!


Don’t expect to be able to check out the castle grounds after hours. It is closed off to all vehicles and pedestrians after hours. So make sure you visit when they are open. It’s definitely worth it!

@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • You can find rattlesnakes resting in the shade near the little creek on the side of the Information Center.
  • Ubehebe Crater is closeby so if you bought tour tickets and have more than an hour to waste, you can make a quick visit to the crater.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!

2 thoughts on “Death Valley: Scotty’s Castle

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