Furnace Creek, California

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Furnace Creek
census-designated place
Entrance to Furnace Creek Ranch
Entrance to Furnace Creek Ranch
Furnace Creek is located in California
Furnace Creek
Furnace Creek
Location in California
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Country  United States
State  California
County Inyo
 • Total 31.463 sq mi (81.487 km2)
 • Land 31.203 sq mi (80.815 km2)
 • Water 0.260 sq mi (0.672 km2)  0.82%
Elevation[2] -190 ft (-58 m)
Population (2010)
 • Total 24
 • Density 0.76/sq mi (0.29/km2)
Time zone Pacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 92328
Area codes 442/760
FIPS code 06-28021
GNIS feature ID 1853390

Furnace Creek is a census-designated place (CDP) in Inyo County, California, United States. The population was 24 at the 2010 census, down from 31 at the 2000 census. The elevation of the village is 190 feet (58 m) below sea level.

The Visitor Center, Museum, and headquarters of the Death Valley National Park are located at Furnace Creek.[3] Furnace Creek is surrounded by a number of Park Service public campgrounds.

Two of the Park's major tourist facilities, the Furnace Creek Inn and Furnace Creek Ranch, are located here. The Furnace Creek Golf Course (originally Death Valley Golf Course) attached to the Ranch claims to be the lowest in the world, at 214 feet (65 m) below sea level. Most of the lodging is closed in the summer, when temperatures can surpass 125 °F (52 °C), but the golf course remains open; the resort went so far as to establish a summer tournament in 2011 called the Heatstroke Open, which drew a field of 48.[4] There is also a restaurant, cafe, store, and gas station in Furnace Creek village. The Furnace Creek Airport is located about 0.75 miles (1.21 km) west of the park headquarters.

Geography and climate

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 31.5 square miles (82 km2), over 99% of it being land.

Springs in the Amargosa Range created a natural oasis at Furnace Creek, which has subsequently dwindled due to diversion of this water to support the village.[5]

From 1911 through 2006, Furnace Creek had an average high temperature of 91.4 °F (33.0 °C) and an average low temperature of 62.9 °F (17.2 °C). During that time period, the hottest month was July with an average daily high temperature of 116.5 °F (46.9 °C) and the driest month was June with an average monthly precipitation of 0.05 in (1.3 mm).[6]

Furnace Creek has the distinction of holding the record for the highest recorded temperature in the world, reaching 134 °F (56.7 °C) on July 10, 1913.[7] Some meteorologists dispute the accuracy of the 1913 temperature measurement.[8]

In addition, a ground temperature of 201 °F (93.9 °C) was recorded in Furnace Creek on July 15, 1972; this may be the highest natural ground surface temperature ever recorded.[9] (Temperatures measured directly on the ground may exceed air temperatures by 30 to 50 °C.[10])

Climate data for Furnace Creek
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 88
Average high °F (°C) 66.9
Average low °F (°C) 40
Record low °F (°C) 15
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.39
Mean monthly sunshine hours 217 226 279 330 372 390 403 372 330 310 210 186 3,625
Source #1: NOAA 1981-2010 US Climate Normals [11]
Source #2: http://weather2travel.com [12]


Furnace Creek in 1871

The Timbisha Native Americans have lived in Death Valley and at the Furnace Creek oasis, their ancestral homeland, for centuries. The tribe currently live at their Death Valley Indian Community reservation here.[13] The Timbisha people provided many of the artisans and builders to construct the original Fred Harvey Company resort buildings, the Indian Village, and Park Service structures. They were one of the first tribes to secure tribal status through the Bureau of Indian Affairs' Federal Acknowledgment Process.

In present times, as the federally recognized Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone Band of California, they are the majority residents of Furnace Creek's permanent population at the tribe's reservation, the 'Death Valley Indian Community.'[14]

Furnace Creek was formerly the center of Death Valley mining and operations for the Pacific Coast Borax Company and the historic 20 Mule Teams hauling wagon trains of borax across the Mojave Desert.[15]

On the afternoon of July 10, 1913, a temperature of 134°F (56.7°C) was recorded at Greenland Ranch.[16] This temperature stands as the highest ambient air temperature ever recorded at the surface of the Earth. (A report of a temperature of 58°C (136.4°F) recorded in Libya in 1922 was later determined to be inaccurate.)[17] Greenland Ranch was renamed Furnace Creek Ranch in 1933.[18]



The 2010 United States Census[19] reported that Furnace Creek had a population of 24. The population density was 0.8 people per square mile (0.3/km²). The racial makeup of Furnace Creek was six (25.0%) White, 16 (66.7%) Native American and two (8.3%) from two or more races.

The Census reported that 24 people (100% of the population) lived in households.

There were 15 households, out of which two (13.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, four (26.7%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, four (20.0%) had a female householder with no husband present. Eight households (53.3%) were made up of individuals and three (20.0%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 1.60. There were seven families (46.7% of all households); the average family size was 2.29.

The population comprised two people (8.3%) under the age of 18, two people (8.3%) aged 18 to 24, five people (20.8%) aged 25 to 44, nine people (37.5%) aged 45 to 64, and six people (25.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 52.0 years.

There were 18 housing units at an average density of 0.6 per square mile (0.2/km²), of which 11 (73.3%) were owner-occupied, and four (26.7%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 0%; the rental vacancy rate was 0%. 19 people (79.2% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and five people (20.8%) lived in rental housing units.


Furnace Creek oasis and the Panamint Range, Death Valley, 2012

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 31 people, 15 households, and 9 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1.0 persons per square mile (0.4/km²). There were 18 housing units at an average density of 0.6 per square mile (0.2/km²). There were six White people and 25 Native Americans.

There were 15 households out of which four had children under the age of 18 living with them, five were married couples living together, three had a female householder with no husband present, and six were non-families. Six of the households were made up of individuals and two had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.07 and the average family size was 2.33.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 19.4% under the age of 18, 6.5% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 32.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.4% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 46 years. For every 100 females there were 106.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 108.3 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $25 625, and the median income for a family was $32 500. Males had a median income of $21,250 versus $30,000 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $14 929. There were 12.5% of families and 20.8% of the population living below the poverty line, including everyone under eighteen and nobody over 64.


In the state legislature, Furnace Creek is in the 8th Senate District, represented by Republican Tom Berryhill,[21] and the 26th Assembly District, represented by Republican Devon Mathis.[22]

Federally, Furnace Creek is in California's 8th congressional district, represented by Republican Paul Cook.[23]


  1. "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Furnace Creek, California
  3. NPS- Death Valley Visitor Center (accessed 4/11/2010.
  4. Yoon, Peter (August 17, 2011). "This is what 18 in hell feels like". ESPNLosAngeles.com. Retrieved August 17, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Furnace Creek: Focus on Water". US Geological Survey report.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. The avarage annual temperature is 77.2 °F (25.1 °C). "Weather and Climate - Death Valley National Park" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2014-02-04.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  8. Masters, Jeff. "Historic Heat Wave Reponsible(sic) for Death Valley's 129°F Gradually Weakening". WunderBlog. Wunderground.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. A possible world record maximum natural ground surface temperature, Paul Kubecka, Weather, 56, #7 (July 2001), Weather, pp. 218-221, doi:10.1002/j.1477-8696.2001.tb06577.x.
  10. p. 855-857, Satellite Finds Highest Land Skin Temperatures on Earth, David J. Mildrexler, Maosheng Zhao, and Steven W. Running, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, July 2011, pp. 855-860, doi:10.1175/2011BAMS3067.1.
  11. NOAA. "1981-2010 US Climate Normals". NOAA. Retrieved 2011-07-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Weather2travel.com. "Weather2travel Death Valley Climate". Retrieved 2011-06-161. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Timbisha Shoshone Tribe History (accessed 4/10/2010)
  14. The Timbisha Shoshone Tribe, Death Valley (accessed 4/10/2010)
  15. NPS- Death Valley History (accessed 4/11/2010)
  16. "World Meteorological Organization World Weather / Climate Extremes Archive". Retrieved 10 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  18. Furnace Creek Resort
  19. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Furnace Creek CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Senators". State of California. Retrieved April 11, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 11, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. "California's 8th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved April 11, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links