Salty Dogs? Just Pups
Springtime is prime time for this Death Valley attraction, that is when the creek is running and the Salt Creek Pup Fish (aka Death Valley Pup Fish) are out in the thousands. The "trail" is a wooden boardwalk- please obey the signs and stay on the boardwalk, the environment is fragile. Scientists doing research are commonly seen off-trail, this doesn't mean that you should do the same. Interpretive signing is found throughout this short walk, as well as benches upon which to enjoy the scenery. Viewing of other wildlife, mostly birds is also common, especially in spring.
The Salt Creek Pup Fish are a big deal, having survived at the bottom of Death Valley for thousands of years. In the winter and into spring, Salt Creek runs full bore and the pup fish spawn and run rampant in the mild weather. Come summertime, daytime temperatures in the valley flirt with 130 degrees Fahrenheit and the spring-fed stream is reduced to mere puddles. The pup fish have managed to survive the brutal summers within the confines of these puddles until fall, and with it cooling temperatures, a lower evaporation rate and a reinvigorated stream flow. As stated above, springtime is the best time to witness the pup fish. Due to the ridiculous evaporation rate within the valley, the water of Salt Creek has a salinity that is toxic to humans, but the pup fish have developed a resistance in this highly saline environment. The water is obviously not safe to drink, so bring your own. A pit toilet is a available at the trail-head.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.