Nevada : Safety by City
- Battle Mountain
- Blue Diamond
- Boulder City
- Burning Man in Black Rock City
- Carson City
- Incline Village
- Las Vegas
- Moapa Valley
- Mount Charleston
- North Las Vegas
- Virginia City
- West Wendover
Beatty, Nevada, is the “Gateway to Death Valley.”
It is home to 850 people and just as many wild burros.
How’s that for a headline?
This small desert community is also on the fringe of a once-booming mining town named Rhyolite, which now sits in ruins and has become a major tourist attraction.
You might have even seen it in one of your favorite movies.
Beatty (“BAY-dee”) sits 100 miles north of Las Vegas and 10 minutes from Death Valley National Park.
To the east is the mysterious military and government location of Area 51.
You’ll be amazed at the plant and tree life here, as the underwater Amargosa River feeds the parched desert.
Wildflower blooms to the west in spring bring a large amount of traffic through town.
Here you can summit a mount or surf sand dunes.
Win at the casino or try your luck looking for unearth gold.
Ghost towns, castles, and an ominous road that goes through Devil’s Gate—it’s all proof of why a small town should never be dismissed as having a small personality.
Warnings & Dangers in Beatty
OVERALL RISK : LOW
There's a low risk here as far as criminal activity goes, but since it's such a transient community, always stay prepared for anything. The biggest risks are in the desert heat and weather elements. Those who are prepared will have the experience to remember forever.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
You'll need your own vehicle here. While taxis or rideshares are available in Las Vegas, the price of the trip would be exponentially more than renting your own car. If you are staying at a major resort, you can ask about any possible Death Valley tour buses. Greyhound does have a bus stop in Beatty.
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
This is another low risk, but you should use standard cautions like not leaving a car unlocked at a gas station or showcasing valuables. Anything you bring here is going to get packed with dust anyway.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
Beatty gets a nice break from the extreme heat and cold of Las Vegas, but that's not saying much since Las Vegas can get VERY hot and VERY cold. The temperatures will get much warmer and even suffocating the closer you get to Death Valley. Flash flooding and ongoing flooding are other concerns. Summer thunderstorms can spark wildfires. Nye County Emergency Management releases weekly Situation Reports to help you see the most recent and impending risks.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
There's a low risk of being mugged here, as you're more likely to get too close to a snake than a sinister person.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
This is another low-risk in Beatty and Death Valley. You have the hard target of Area 51 nearby, which might be concerning. You should also know you have about as much security as you can get anywhere else on earth watching over that site. (NOTE: Do NOT try to "sneak" into Area 51. Signs are very clear about the dangers that await anyone who breaches the perimeter.)
SCAMS RISK : LOW
Robocalls and email scams are the biggest concern here, but that's targeted at residents. Since most places to visit here are free or through official tourism sites, you shouldn't have an issue. Just never wire money or take a deal that seems too good to be true. You can check the Nevada Better Business Bureau website to see if any scams are trending before your visit.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
The risks here are no different for women than men, but it's all about being prepared and traveling with groups to provide optimal safety.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
Ask the hotel for a recent water quality report, but once you're in the desert, you are on your own for water. Officials recommend at least one gallon of water per person per day, but I'd double that just to be sure. Bring hand sanitizer to avoid using fresh water to clean your hands. No water found in the wilderness is safe to consume as-is.
Safest Places to Visit in Beatty
The Beatty Chamber of Commerce and Travel Nevada website has information about this area.
Death Valley National Park has a website through its template NPS format.
Your first stop should be the Beatty Museum, where you can learn the history of mining, railroad, and ghost towns.
Pick up some travel brochures here too.
Ask about the recent weather and any safety concerns.
The museum is free.
Did you know that candy and nuts can make the desert feel cooler?
While that’s totally not true, it’s a good reason to stop by the Death Valley Nut & Candy Company to stock up on sweet and salty treats.
(Actually, a few nuts can help your body regulate water better, reducing the risk of dehydration slightly.)
My personal favorite snack was the Cinnamon Bears.
For those who have seen the movie The Island with Scarlett Johannson and Ewan MacGregor, this next one might look familiar to you.
Rhyolite was a mining boom town in the early 1900s; a town that sprung up almost overnight and was home to thousands of people.
Now, its remains stand in the solemn desert, with wind and brutal heat taking their toll each year.
You are free to wander around the different buildings, like the old train station, bank, and jail.
Don’t miss the glass bottle house.
On the way in or out, you’ll pass the Goldwell Open Air Museum.
This is on private property bus is open to the public.
Several art installations stand out among the brown-hued landscape.
Check the website for events.
From there, head west into Death Valley National Park.
This park takes up more than 3.4 million acres.
The lowest spot here is Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level.
It’s a stark contrast to the 11,000-foot mountain peak nearby.
If you can swing it, you won’t regret seeing the night skies at this International Dark Sky Park.
Death Valley has nearly two dozen hiking trails, ranging from easy to difficult, and 15 mountain bike trails also marked by difficulty level.
Almost 1,000 miles of paved and backcountry roads are available to explore.
Scotty’s Castle (or Death Valley Ranch, as some people call it) is a magnificent mansion built in the early 1900s.
The castle has been undergoing renovation since a major flood, so check the availability of tours before you go.
The remains of Harmony Borax Works are still near Furnace Creek, and you’ll learn why the 20-Mule Team became so legendary (and if you’ve never heard about it, you will learn!).
You can also visit the Keane Mining Area.
The park is also home to Charcoal Kilns, which look like big stone beehives.
You can also look at the Death Valley Ghost Towns section of the NPS website and learn about six more ghost towns to explore in and around the park.
Twenty-two miles south of Beatty, you can explore the Amargosa Big Dun Recreation Area.
These are called the “singing sands” for the noise made when you drive on them.
This is an ATV paradise.
Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge is a real oasis in the desert.
Stop by the visitor’s center and learn about the species found here you can’t locate anywhere else on Earth.
Then go exploring.
Places to Avoid in Beatty
“It’s hot where I live in the summer, too!”
I can’t tell you how many times I warned visiting guests in Las Vegas to avoid Death Valley in the summer heat.
This isn’t a place where a little bit of extra water and a spray of sunscreen is going to be enough to survive.
Death Valley is the hottest place on earth.
It’s understandable that comes with allure.
You just have to be extra prepared and ready to take small trips to places like Furnace Creek instead of planning to hike at 115°(F) all day.
“European travelers, in particular, love it here during our extreme summer months,” said Phil Dickinson, director of sales and marketing for the Furnace Creek Resort.
“I think it is a combination of the beauty of our wide open spaces, international travelers’ love of everything about the American West, and, of course, our extreme heat.”
You will need electrolyte supplements with your water.
The sweat evaporates here before you even realize you’re sweating.
The surge of social media influencers trying to get views and clicks has prompted more people to show how tough they are in the “hottest place” or do extended dangerous visits in the summer.
Do all outdoor summer activities before 10:00 am off the mountain.
The trails and mountains will still be warm, but it’s much cooler than the suffocating feeling of the valley floor.
Know the signs of dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion.
Get back into the car and find safety if you or someone in your party is dizzy, nauseous, clammy, or stops sweating altogether.
The park has never closed because of extreme heat.
It likely never will.
That does not mean it’s safe for you.
Avoiding touching the tailing piles in the park.
These are mounds of mining by-products, which can be filled with toxic materials.
Don’t walk on them, either.
If you see an uncovered mine, please report it to the park.
Do not go inside or even take a peek in (or down).
Safety Tips for Traveling to Beatty
- Beatty’s law enforcement comes from the Nye County Sheriff’s Office. The Central Command is in charge of this region. You can reach them at (775)553-2345. Follow the sheriff’s office on Facebook @nyecountysherrif. Keep in mind this is a HUGE county, so not all alerts will relate to Beatty.
- If you have any information about a crime that isn’t a crime in progress, send a tip to Crimestoppers of Nevada through the sheriff’s office website or call (702)385-5555. If you see any dead horses or people trying to hurt horses, call the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at 1-800-521-6501.
- Visiting the background of Death Valley National Park requires a permit. Review all the risks on that form, and don’t sign it unless you’re comfortable with those risks. You will need to carry the permit with you.
- Rhyolite is not part of Death Valley National Park. It’s managed by the BLM. A paved road takes you to the different landmarks in this ghost town, but there are gravel roads that spawn out in different directions once you’ve seen the main skeletons.
- Do not pick or take any wildflowers. It’s against the law. It might help to know that some of those wildflowers will only bloom for a few hours or days anyway, so picking them won’t do you much good.
- More than 800 wild burros roam in and around Beatty. It’s part of the charm. These animals won’t attack or hurt you, but give them space and the right of way. Don’t feed a burro for your own safety and because it’s illegal. Also, a burro is the same thing as a donkey, just a little smaller.
- Download the NPS app to stay aware of trail and road conditions. All alerts are posted at the top of the digital platform. Snow and mud can cause closures well into spring, and flooding can make the roads collapse and cause rock slides.
- About 13 miles west of Beatty, you’ll cross into California before you get to Death Valley. The time zones won’t change, but you’ll need to have both CalTrans and Nevada 511 apps available to check road conditions outside the park.
- Bring paper maps or pre-downloaded maps and use GPS when you’re out of mobile service range. Most parts of this area can’t get service.
- Make sure your car is topped off with fluids, bring extra water, and never walk away from your car if you break down. Just wait for someone to pass.
So... How Safe Is Beatty Really?
With fewer than 900 people, it would be hard to say that Beatty is unsafe in any way.
While we don’t get exact crime data for Beatty since law enforcement comes from the county, I’ve researched years of news stories.
The wild burros here are much more at risk than you are.
You do need to keep in mind that it’s a heavily traveled tourist area, so you never know who’s at the pump next to you.
For that reason alone, I’d use extra caution.
The roads can be dangerous, too, whether it’s distracted driving, drunk driving, weather-related, or freak accidents.
In 2005, a beloved Las Vegas news anchor was killed in a crash the day after Easter while driving to see Death Valley wildflowers.
Several incidents in recent years led to the road between Beatty and Death Valley being closed.
Even Death Valley’s NPS website states that single-car accidents are the main cause of death in the park.
Then there’s the weather.
You’d assume Death Valley is always dry, but when storms do happen, intense flash floods can wash over the roads and even destroy the roads.
That happened in 2022.
The town of Beatty struggled financially as tourism was cut off since the road was gone.
Some people couldn’t get to their homes without a long detour.
Overall, Beatty is safe, but all the common sense and situational awareness that is important elsewhere is critical here.
How Does Beatty Compare?
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- Visas - International guests need a valid passport that isn't within six months of expiring. Either a visa or visa waiver will be required, but the right one for you depends on your home country. You will go through an International Terminal at the Las Vegas airport, and processing can take several hours. Be patient and prepared.
- Currency - The U.S. Dollar is the only currency accepted here (though if you strike gold, you can always sell it for more cash). Don't wait until you're in Beatty to exchange currency. There are several locations available at the airport through Travelex.
- Weather - Beatty will get near triple digits in the summer and below-freezing in the winter. You can also get hot, sunny weather during the day and plunging cold temps at night. Bring layers of clothing and slather on sunscreen every couple of hours. Hiking boots are a must, and bring ones that are already worn in and support your ankle. That's good for safety steps and snake bites. Sunglasses, several hat options, and UV-protected clothing will come in very handy.
- Airports - You'll be about two hours from Harry Reid International Airport (formerly McCarran International), but add on some extra time if you'll be driving through Las Vegas during peak travel hours.
- Travel Insurance - Travel insurance is just smart when visiting such a tough climate. You do want to get protection against cancelations and delays, but health insurance is also important here. Even a bad sunburn could cost hundreds of dollars out of pocket if you need urgent care.
Beatty Weather Averages (Temperatures)
Average High/Low Temperature
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