Death Valley’s Teakettle Junction: Everything You Need To Know

It was Day 3 of our Death Valley National Park road trip. We dedicated the entire day to driving to Racetrack Playa. After hours of driving through the rocky terrain and wide open skies, there it was! Teakettle Junction with its colorful array of teapots hanging from a sign. We can’t wait to return one day and see what new teapots have been added to the mix. After an enjoyable pitstop at the famous Teakettle Junction, Buddy and I are sharing Everything You Need To Know for a Fun Time at Death Valley’s Teakettle Junction!  

We visited Teakettle Junction during our Spring Break trip to Death Valley National Park. Avid National Park fans, we were excited to embark upon this family travel desert adventure! After stopping at Teakettle Junction, we explored Racetrack Playa before ending the day with a hike around Ubehebe Crater.

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A brown sign with white letters covered in tea kettles. Sign points to Hunter Mountain and Racetrack Playa. Teakettle Junction Death Valley natiional park. MPA Project Travels.
Teakettle Junction in Death Valley

How to get to Teakettle Junction

The only way to get to Death Valley’s Teakettle Junction is with a four-wheel drive vehicle. This is because Racetrack Valley road is a narrow dirt road lined with sharp rocks. If you are traveling to Death Valley National Park in your own four-wheel drive vehicle, which many travelers did when we visited, then you are good to travel on all the of the national park’s dirt roads!

However, if the car that you drove into Death Valley is not a four-wheel drive, you will need to rent a Jeep to get to Teakettle Junction. This is also true for other areas of the park that are only accessible by four-wheel drive.

Given that we do not have a four-wheel drive vehicle, but we really wanted to visit Racetrack Playa and Teakettle Junction, we chose to rent a Jeep! If you want to rent a Jeep to explore Death Valley, this is what you need to know!

Renting a Jeep in Death Valley

First, there is only one place to rent a Jeep in Death Valley National Park and that is at Farabee’s Jeep Rentals located in Furnace Creek, CA. If you are traveling to Death Valley and want to visit Teakettle Junction, these are our tips for renting a jeep.

No, this is not a paid promotion. We rented the Jeep with our own funds and all the tips we list below are our own.

Plan ahead!

Reserve your Jeep early, especially if you are visiting in Spring, which is the high season. You can reserve your Jeep via email or by calling the office.

I recommend calling the office as internet in Death Valley National Park can be spotty at times. We visited Death Valley in Spring. The Friday we rented our Jeep, we saw some walk ins turned away as all the Jeeps were sold out.

Go Old School

Bring a printout of your proof of car insurance with you. WIFI and phone service is very spotty in Death Valley, so don’t count on your phone to download your documents onsite. Yes, you could download a copy of your insurance to your phone. However, the Farabee’s takes a photo of your car insurance policy for documentation with a phone. So, it may be easier to bring a backup hard copy just in case. The rental agency will need a copy of your car insurance and your driver’s license to rent a Jeep.

The day we rented our Jeep, we overheard fellow travelers scrambling to find a copy of proof of car insurance as they forgot to bring it with them. You don’t want to miss out on your adventure! Remember to bring a copy of your car insurance.

A black Jeep with a CA license plate has the front passenger's door open. Parked on a dirt road with desert mountains in the background. Death Valley National Park Tea kettle Junction MPA Project Travels.
The Jeep we rented from Farabee’s parked at Teakettle Junction in Death Valley.

Plan your route beforehand

Come with your route planned. The staff at Farabee’s Jeep Rental are friendly and knowledgeable. They will share recommendations for your route, including updated road conditions. They provide you with a map and detailed information about the road on which you will be traveling.

When we rented a Jeep, the staff at Farabee’s provided us with specifics including marking on the map the parts of Racetrack Valley Road that were sandy or narrow, where there were areas with blind turns, and how to avoid sharp rocks.

Pick up your Jeep early

If you want to have the most time possible exploring Death Valley on its network of dirt roads, pick up your Jeep as soon as you can! Pick up times can be busy. To avoid lines, get there early.

When we visited Death Valley, we stayed in Stovepipe Wells, a 30-minute drive northwest of Furnace Creek where Farabee’s is located. Although we planned to pick up the Jeep as soon as Farabee’s opened, we opted to spend some time that morning watching the sunrise and the full moon set. Thus, we arrived at Farabee’s 30 minutes after it opened, a full 30 minutes later than planned. And when we arrived, there was a line to pick up Jeeps!

Unfortunately, in part because we picked up our Jeep later than planned, we ran out of daylight and did not get a chance to drive Titus Canyon Road. But watching the sunrise and moon set was worth it!

Overall, we were happy with our experience renting from Farabee’s Jeep Rentals. The interior of the Jeep was clean, the water was cold, and the GPS Spot Unit for emergency tracking reassuring just in case anything happened. But luckily, we didn’t need it!

Two men in blue face away from the camera looking at a colorful map of the United States with the words Where Are You From? Written above. On our way to tea kettle Junction. Death Valley's Teakettle Junction. MPA Project Travels.
Buddy putting a pin on Tucson at Farabee’s Jeep Rentals in Furnace Creek, CA in Death Valley

According to their map, we were the first people from Tucson, AZ to rent a Jeep. Buddy did the honor of placing a pin indicating his hometown on the Farabee’s “Where Are You From?” map.

Death Valley’s Teakettle Junction

After renting your Jeep, take Racetrack Road to Teakettle Junction. Teakettle Junction is located 6 miles from Racetrack Playa, 19 miles from Hunter Mountain, and 26 miles from Grapevine Station on the dirt Racetrack Road in Death Valley. Racetrack Road begins at Ubehebe Crater and ends at the Homestake Dry Camp south of Racetrack Playa. Teakettle Junction is an amusing landmark. Here are our top 5 for a fun time at Death Valley’s Teakettle Junction!  

Bring a teakettle!

There is a tradition that travelers visiting Teakettle Junction leave a kettle at the mileage sign. Teakettle Junction is filled with many teakettles left by fellow travelers. Some teakettles were signed with the names and dates of travelers. Others were adorned with quotes from famous poets or phrases from popular culture. A few teakettles wore trinkets from the state and region of the travelers who left them. And hanging among the teakettles was a frying pan and a hiking boot!

If you plan on visiting Teakettle Junction, bring a teakettle! Leave a kettle! And if you are feeling in the mood, take some time to adorn your teakettle with something unique to your home or a quote unique to you. It is a fun tradition to continue for Death Valley travelers who choose to adventure on the national park’s dirt roads!

Unaware of this tradition, Buddy and I did not bring a teakettle to leave at the junction. Had I known, we would have spent some time decorating a teakettle with trinkets from Tucson. Like a teakettle covered in saguaro cactus as a love letter from one desert to another. But alas, we were not aware of the teakettle tradition arrived empty handed.

A dusty silver tea kettle with a metallic yellow New Mexico sticker with a red zia symbol in the center. Death Valley's Teakettle Junction. Tea Kettle JunctionMPA Project Travels.
A New Mexico teakettle at Teakettle Junction

I loved the teakettle from my home state of New Mexico! Adorned with a Zia symbol sticker, a red chile ristra sticker, an Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta sticker, and a ceramic yellow (a New Mexico state color) Día de los Muertos calavera, it represented my home state to perfection! I enjoyed experiencing a bit of home at Teakettle Junction in Death Valley.

Bring a Sharpie

If you bring a teakettle, you may want to sign it. That is where the Sharpie comes in. In the case you do not decorate your teakettle beforehand, make sure you have a Sharpie on hand to leave a message or sign it.

Shortly after we arrived at Teakettle Junction, we were joined by four fellow travelers who arrived with a teakettle to place on the Teakettle Junction sign. But they did not have a Sharpie to sign their teakettle. Luckily, I always travel with a Sharpie in my backpack because you never know when you are going to need it! They borrowed the Sharpie and signed their tea kettle before adding it to the mix.

Be prepared to meet friendly fellow travelers

Even during high season, there were not too many travelers on Racetrack Road in Death Valley. However, the fellow travelers you do meet are usually friendly. Fellow travelers tend to ask questions about where you are from, and what you have seen in the national park thus far.

At our pit stop at Teakettle Junction, we met two groups of travelers. The first group included the four travelers who borrowed my Sharpie to sign their teakettle. The second group of travelers was a couple who pulled up in their own Jeep. After chatting for a while, we learned that they lived in the Lake Tahoe area. We talked about the seasons, winter snow and warm desert weather. At the end of our conversation, they gifted me and Buddy the cutest Lucky Duck!

A outstretched hand holds a green rubber duck with a white, black, and yellow tag that reads Lucky Duck. The grill of a Jeep is in the background. Death Valley's Tea kettle Junction.
We were ducked by A Jeep’s Life at Teakettle Junction in Death Valley!

At Teakettle Junction in Death Valley, we met the masterminds behind the blogs A Jeep’s Life and Must Bring Snacks! They were gifting Lucky Ducks to all Jeeps that they encountered at the national park. Since we were honorary Jeep drivers that day, they kindly gifted a spotted green duck. It was our first experience being ducked! Our lucky duck is a great souvenir, and it is now sitting on my desk at home.

A Jeep’s Life featured even featured a photo of us on their blog.

Prepare for bumpy roads

Racetrack Road is bumpy, and, like other roads in Death Valley National Park, it is windy in some places. If you are someone who gets carsick easily, you may want to consider bringing something for car sickness with you on the trip.

Luckily, Buddy and I do not experience car sickness. But we are mindful of friends who do easily get carsick.



Thee are no restrooms in or around Teakettle Junction. The closest flush toilets to Teakettle Junction are in Grapevine Station, which is 26 miles away. There is a porta potty (literally a porta potty, not a vault toilet) at the Homestake Dry Campground at the end of Racetrack Road south of Racetrack Playa. That. Is It. If you think you may need to use the facilities during your trip to Teakettle Junction, we recommend planning accordingly.

As Buddy and I filmed a Movement Postcard at Teakettle Junction, Sal explored the area. Unfortunately, he found a spot where travelers created their own outdoor toilet area with soiled toilet paper, used sanitary napkins, and feces. Upon reflection, he said that discovering that area, particularly the smell, ruined the experience for him.

Perhaps, NPS should also consider putting a vault toilet in the area. But until that happens, if you absolutely need to go while near Teakettle Junction, consider practicing Leave No Trace to dispose of human waste. And please leave the beauty of the desolate Death Valley and the fun Teakettle Junction for all to enjoy!

Buddy wearing a blue shirt stands next to the brown Teakettle Junction sign covered in teakettles. Death Valley's Teakettle Junction. Tea Kettle Junction. MPA Project Travels.

Buddy’s Tips

So, my mom covered it all. I really don’t have anything to add. My number one tip is to bring a teakettle. I wish we would have brought one.

Also bring sunscreen and water bottles. It is Death Valley after all.

Overall, Buddy and I had a great time renting a Jeep and driving to Teakettle Junction in Death Valley. It was fun filming a Movement Postcard at the site and reading all of the messages on the teakettles. Renting the Jeep and driving on Death Valley’s dirt roads to Teakettle Junction was a once in a lifetime experience that we would absolutely do again!

Have you visited Teakettle Junction in Death Valley? If so, did you leave a teakettle? Have you been ducked? If so, when? Let us know in the comments below!

Do you have questions about family travel or traveling with teens? Feel free to reach out! We are happy to chat and share our experiences! We look forward to connecting with you.

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Visiting Death Valley?

Stay in Stovepipe Wells! This is where we stayed during our trip to Death Valley and it was the best fit for our outdoor hiking adventures!

Planning a trip to Death Valley? Check out our series about the national park!

MPA Project Travels

Hello! We are Yvonne & Buddy and we create family travel blogs based on firsthand knowledge and experiences of a destination. Our goal is to inspire teens, parents, and families to share time together engaging in new experiences whether the destination is near or far from home. Come join us on our travels!

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8 thoughts on “Death Valley’s Teakettle Junction: Everything You Need To Know

  1. I have never been to Death Valley or visited around this area so this was a great intro and very informative to read! Saving this for one day when I make it here! Lovely photos too!

    • Thank you!! I hope you get to visit soon. Death Valley was amazing! I am happy to share all we learned (where to stay, where to eat) during out stay at Death Valley. Feel free to reach out at any time!

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