The Ranch at Death Valley NP

This review of the wheelchair accessibility at The Ranch at Death Valley is from Winter 2021.

Staying in Death Valley is the best way to explore the park. The park is too big to explore in a day (or even two), and so much time is lost just getting to/from the main places in the park. That remoteness is the reason Death Valley National Park received the a “Gold Tier” designation by the International Dark-Sky Association–the stargazing is out of this world (pun unabashedly intended).

The Ranch at Death Valley is one of the very few hotels within Death Valley National Park, which also makes it one of the few hotels within 2-3 hours of the park entrance (much less the sites within the park). The Ranch is centrally located within the park, making it a great launching place to visit all parts of the park. It has several types of wheelchair accessible rooms, and its lobby, restaurants, and gift shops are all wheelchair accessible. And it also a huge(!) hot spring-fed pool with a wheelchair accessible lift (read more below about the lift).

Accessibility of the Room

We stayed in a ground-floor “Deluxe ADA 1 Queen and 1 Twin” accessible room with a roll-in shower. The Ranch offers other types of accessible room types as well, including a standard room with 2 double beds in the larger complexes (e.g., more motel feel), and cottages with either king or queen beds.

There was accessible parking near our room, and the room was accessed from the outside–there is not an inner lobby or hallway for the actual rooms. The room was more spartan/functional than aesthetically pleasing, but it was nice enough–you are in the desert, after all. It also increased its accessibility (e.g., no excess furniture).

Tip: If you want a 5-star resort, The Inn at Death Valley may be an option. It is just down the road from The Ranch (~.5 mile), and is a AAA-rated four-diamond resort.

The roll-in shower was big enough for my scooter, and there was room to turn around in the bathroom. The wall-mounted bottles of soap, shampoo, and conditioner are hard for me to reach and use, so I typically bring my own travel/refillable bottles with me.

The room also has a shared patio that overlooked the communal park area and the pool. Great way to spend a morning sipping on coffee.

Accessibility of the Community Spaces

The pool is fed by a hot springs, so it is always warm. The wheelchair lift into the pool was a disappointment–it was small, low, and only moved up and down. As such, I was not able to swim in the pool, but I could sit beside it and enjoy its ambiance.

The grounds also include (among other things) a saloon/restaurant, a gift shop with prepackaged food and microwaves, and antique collections showing the history of Death Valley. All of them were wheelchair accessible, accessed via paved pathways/ramps or packed down dirt paths.

The wheelchair accessibility at The Ranch at Death Valley was quite good, especially in the room and around the lobby/common areas. My only issue was the wheelchair lift into the pool–there are many more versatile lifts out there, and this pool would have been amazing for my physical therapy/swims.

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