Death Valley

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Death Valley
« on: 14 Mar 2024, 11:57 pm »
Death Valley is the largest National Park in the lower 48, calling the park huge does not do it justice. I had never been to the park and it was time to go exploring while the weather was cool and Lake Manly still had water. I spent 3-1/2 days hiking and exploring the first week of March 2024. The weather was perfect.

Exploring Death Valley requires three things: water, gas and good tires. The gravel side roads are brutal, I saw two cars with flat tires. Except for Stovepipe Wells Village and Furnace Creek Visitors Center there is zero cell phone service in the entire park. I logged about 600 miles inside the park (I did say it is huge). Gas in Furnace Creek was $6.41/gallon, luckily gas at the Longstreet Inn and Casino where I stayed was $3.98/gallon.

Lake Manly appearing in Badwater Basin is a rare event. In August 2023, Hurricane Hillary dropped enough water to create a lake that is 6 miles long and 3 miles wide in the lowest point of the US. Lake Manly may not reappear again for decades.

All photos taken with a Google Pixel 7 phone.

Keane Wonder Mill and Mine

Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes

Mosaic Canyon

Natural Bridge

Ubehebe Crator

Looking up 500' from the bottom of Ubehebe Crator


Re: Death Valley
« Reply #1 on: 29 Mar 2024, 12:49 pm »
Looks like quite an adventure into some amazing landscapes and territory. Thank you for sharing!


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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #2 on: 29 Mar 2024, 04:25 pm »
Great pics!  I've been to Death Valley and it's beautiful.  My only advice - do NOT go in the summer.


Re: Death Valley
« Reply #3 on: 29 Mar 2024, 04:36 pm »
Great trip and great photos! Dang, that phone takes excellent shots (not to minimize the eye behind the camera...)!


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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #4 on: 29 Mar 2024, 05:22 pm »
Awesome photos! Thanks.  :thumb:

My wife and I drove through several years ago, but <I now see> we sure missed some great sites.


Re: Death Valley
« Reply #5 on: 29 Mar 2024, 07:37 pm »
I was going to drive through Death Valley in September 2023 on the way from California to Tucson. The park was still closed due to washed out roads caused by Hurricane Hillary. I'm glad it was closed and I could schedule a proper visit.

Death Valley takes 2 days to explore and drive around, 3 days if you decide to get out of your car and hike. Longstreet Inn and Casino is the closest and cheapest hotel ($100/night with 2 king size beds) along with the lowest priced gas in the area. The hotel is in Nevada which is why gas is cheaper. The bar and restaurant smelled vaguely of cigarette smoke (yes smoking is allowed in the casino part) but the hotel rooms are no smoking, beds are excellent and water pressure is iffy (they probably have a well). I brought all the food I needed and there are restaurants in the park. The hotel rooms don't have coffee makers or microwaves so arrive prepared. The lobby's 24-hour mini-mart has free morning coffee and the most amazing selection of junk food I have ever seen in my life, don't let your kids go in unsupervised, they'll be wired for a week.

Ubehebe Crater was 1-3/4 hours from the Longstreet Inn. The I skipped the Eureka Sand Dunes because they are another 2 hours at least from Ubehebe Crater on very rough 20 mph gravel roads, it would have been a very long day.

Father Crowley Overlook is 100 miles and 2 hours in another direction. The overlook and Panamint Valley is a Top Gun jet training site, jets do low level training at 200' off the deck and scream through Rainbow Canyon nicknamed "Star Wars Canyon." I saw two jets when I was there. The schedule isn't published so you have to get lucky. Plenty of videos and info on Google and YouTube. It's super cool.

Death Valley can be hot even in March. There is no breeze in the canyons and if you are not acclimated to the desert dryness and heat it won't be a fun hike. After living and hiking in Tucson for 46 years I knew what to expect but I saw some hikers slowly overheating and it was only 70 degrees outside the canyon.

The gravel roads off the main paved highway are rough with fist sized rocks, washboard areas and dips. Passenger cars can do it but is is slow going. My 2023 Subaru Outback is the perfect off road vehicle, I barely felt the bumps and could zip along. Those monster pickup trucks with high clearance could go no faster than the passenger cars, 5 mph and it looked like the passengers were getting tossed around pretty good. But those pickups were good at throwing up massive clouds of dust, at least they looked like they were going fast.


Re: Death Valley
« Reply #6 on: 29 Mar 2024, 07:59 pm »
Wow! Great pics and good info!
Will bookmark this thread in my travel folder.  :thumb:


Re: Death Valley
« Reply #7 on: 29 Mar 2024, 09:09 pm »
Wow! Great pics and good info!
Will bookmark this thread in my travel folder.  :thumb:

I made a list of locations with mileage because Death Valley is so huge you don't want to backtrack. The National Park Service is an excellent resource about sites to see, camping and road conditions which can change overnight. It's not a place to be during flash floods.

I found the definitive Death Valley Map online, it is the same as the free map at the Visitors Center. I printed it out at 11" x 17" so I could plan ahead. The full size map is too big to post here, send me a PM and I can email a copy. What the map doesn't show is at Death Valley Junction at the intersection of Nevada 373/CA Route123 and CA Route190 is DVJ Fine Cannabis Dispensary. I no longer partake some of my friends still do. Can you still get high at 282' below sea level?

A lot of Death Valley looks like this:

Mixed with expansive vistas like Zabriskie Point

And the Longstreet Inn and Casino located in the middle of nowhere, literally

Lake Manly at Badwater Basin


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Re: Death Valley
« Reply #8 on: 30 Mar 2024, 03:36 am »
Stunning views, Thanks for posting.


Re: Death Valley
« Reply #9 on: 30 Mar 2024, 04:07 am »
Hey Wayne!

Good to hear that you had a great time! Excellent photos!