on our way back from Las Vegas to San Francisco Bay Area we drove through Death Valley NP, and it's a freaking big area. drive from one point to another can take awhile. so it was impossible to see everything in a day
From Las Vegas we drove about 2 to reach the Death Valley Junction and we passed by the Amargosa Opera House...it look very deserted, i remember watching Ghost Adventure had a lock down here!!! spooky. There is no Entrance booth to collect entrance fee. How ever one can pay entrance fee @ the Visitor Center(Furnace Creek) good thing we have our Annual Pass but then we still have to visit the Visitor Center to get a map and some tip from ranger where we can visit for 5 hours
90% of Death Valley NP is designated wilderness, preserving opportunities to experience solitude, natural quiet, dark night skies, and wild nature. There are hundreds of miles of unpaved road but MUST always stay on the road. We drove a sedan the unpaved road was really rough with small stones and uneven. We had to turn back at Natural Bridge as it was unpaved road...luckily we didn't puncture our tire. That was definitely a bumpy ride!
our 1st stop on the way to Furnace Creek Visitor Center is Zabriskie Point,
There use to be mining activities near this area
this place is very quite warm even in November....be sure to bring sunscreen and umbrella
there are trails here too. No hiking for us though, just passing by
taking in this unusual view,
it sure is different from Zion NP and Bryce Canyon NP
I'm happy we decided to drive through Death Valley NP on our way back
got myself a nice tan too
heading to Furnace Creek visitor center
got our map and the park ranger suggested that we go south east along 190, where there are a few point of interest which enough to take up all our time. he did suggest that we also visit Dante's View but it's too far away about 50miles round trip from the visitor center(if one is coming in from Death Valley Junction make sure to visit Dante's View first before head to Zabriskie Point and Furnace Creek Visitor Center
Map of Death Valley NP ------ MAP
Pink line - Park ranger suggestion
Green line - visit Dante's View and Zabriskie point if one is coming in/out through Death Valley Junction
as the place is just to big planning ahead can save alot of time
lunch we only had some fruits and biscuits we brought along.
There are sandwiches at the visitor center but they don't look too appetizing. Best to bring own food before coming here there aren't any restaurants in the NP
Water is rare and precious in Death Valley. Imagine the disappointment when a surveyor mapping this area could not get his mule to drink from this pool. He wrote on his map that the spring had "bad water", and the name stuck
Badwater Pool is not poisonous just salty. as the presence of pickleweed, aquatic insects and larvae proves. It is also home to one of Death Valley's rarest animals, the Badwater snails. They only exist only in a few springs at the edge of Death Valley salt flats
we are now 282ft below sea level. The lowest elevation in North America
Artist Drive thank god they have paved road
of course there is Natural Bridge and Devil's Golf Course but those are unpaved road, our tiny car can't take the bumpy road better safe than sorry as we still have a long way from home. Not exactly a good idea to have our break down here in this wilderness!
this Artist Drive is quite a drive
more than 5 million years ago, repeated volcanic eruptions blanketed the landscaped , depositing ash and minerals. The volcanic minerals were chemical altered by water and heat, with variable amounts of oxygen and other introduced elements. Chemical analyses have identified a point pot of elements: iron, aluminium, magnesium and titanium but no copper. Some of the colored minerals here includes red hematite and green chloride
next driving 45 miles from Artist Palette to Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes
if only we had more time i would walked further out
maybe bring cardboard, to slide down the sand dune
Death Valley NP is also famous for it's moving rock/ Sailing stone, unfortunately they are too far away (about 85miles/ 3 hours one way from Furnace Creek). Located at the Racetrack Playa....one need to drive a 4 wheel drive, or rent a jeep or to take a tour. One whole day is needed just to visit the moving rock. Maybe next time??
overall Death Valley is a vast, going from one point to another takes a long drive, it's quite impossible to see everything in one visit unless we are spending a whole week here. But for now it enough for us.
as the sun is setting, time to hit the road to our hotel in Mojave
from Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes it take another hour just to reach Panamint Springs and there is a section where the road is quite steep and winding it's best to leave Death Valley NP (if you are not staying there) before it gets dark. It take a total or 3-4 hours to reached Mojave
By the time we reach our inn we were so hungry and McDonald to the rescue....McDonald has never tasted so good. For some reason many restaurants were closed on Sunday
Checked in to a very shabby Red roof inn and continue another 5 hours drive back to San Francisco Bay Area the next morning
And that's the end of our 8 days amazing adventurous road trip, visiting 3 totally different and unique on it's own National Parks and Las Vegas of course. I'm not sure if i'll ever want drive so far again....maybe next time it's a good idea to fly to Las Vegas and rent a car there
oh well we won't be doing any long roadtrip anytime soon.... who knows we might forgot and go crazy again ;)
~ till our next adventure ~