The town was founded in 1910. Although small, it is notable as a southern gateway to Death Valley National Park; in addition to being a junction of roads leading from Baker, California and Pahrump, Nevada, it has the last services available before the Furnace Creek area in the park. The commercial district of the town, including a Post Office, gas station, restaurant, bar and coffee house, is just north of the southern intersection of California State Routes 127 and 178.
Shoshone has a single 2,380 foot (725 m) airstrip across SR 127 from the commercial district. It is open to the public and gets about 58 flights per month.