Page 1 of 1

Week in Death Valley

Posted: Nov 29 2016 3:16 pm
by AZ_Step
I’m thinking about spending a week in Death Valley (12/24-30/2016). Anybody have any suggestions on what to see/hike/climb?

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Nov 29 2016 3:35 pm
by rcorfman
I made a quick stop in Death Valley on my return trip from hiking the TRT and a quick trip into Yosemite. I had only driven through Death Valley before and really enjoyed my short time there last September.

I started out by hiking up Mosaic Canyon maybe half a mile. I would have liked to go farther but this was near the end of the day. From there I went to Mesquite Flats and ran around on the sand dunes as the sun set, then worked my way back to the truck in the dark. That was a total kick and I was really glad I had my GPSr to find my way back as it was dark and hard to figure out which way to go.

I camped in the Salt Creek picnic area (no camping but nobody was around) and checked that out at sunrise. There's a big boardwalk and it's interesting to read the signs.

I just checked things out as I drove past them from there, except I went and hiked up Golden Canyon for a bit and I drove the Artist's Palette loop. Don't miss that.

Zabriske point is spectacular but it's also a big tour bus stop so there's lots of people around. At least there was when I was there. There's a loop hike that looked fun but I was ready to head towards home by the time I reached it.

One thing I did is I stopped at all the geocaches (all virtual or earth caches so nothing physical to find) that I went by and they get you out and you learn some things that you wouldn't otherwise. That's why I stopped at all the places I did. There was several other stops than those I mentioned above.

Enjoy your trip!

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Nov 29 2016 6:04 pm
by RedRoxx44
Anything in the Panamints canyon wise-- Surprise, Jail, Pleasant, Happy canyon all good, most have some running water. Vehicle access is generally not too bad, no low riders.
Saline Valley, anything in there, multiple canyons, some require climbing, scrambling, bushwacking. You'll need most likely HC 4wd for access in case weather goes south on you. Nudist hot springs if you are into that kind of thing.
Telescope Peak the easy way from Mahogany Flats or the hard way from near Badwater. If snow the TH might be closed.
Ibex area, sand dunes to scramble up with very few people unlike the mobs near Stovepipe. Also old mines and open area hiking. Sandy, so again probably need 4wd and HC.

If regular vehicle best to stay near the paved tourist areas. Otherwise the backcountry there is spectacular.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Nov 30 2016 7:15 am
by AZ_Step
Thanks for the advice. My original plan was to do The Racetrack & Natural Bridge Trail. But Mosaic Canyon, Artist’s Palette loop, Mahogany Flats, Telescope Peak all look like they need to be added to the list. I’ll also look more into Panamints Canyon, it sounds like it could be real interesting.
If you think of anything else please let me know.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Nov 30 2016 10:40 am
by RedRoxx44
The Racetrack area is worth it, the playa itself has been recently vandalized unfortunately, but there are other things in the area too, old mines, big views etc.
There is an area called Kaleidescope canyon ( not the formal name) which has incredible colors and is off the sort of main drag. I've lost my directions there but Steve Hall puts on a comprehensive Death Valley blog and you might just ask around.

Fall canyon near the mouth of the Titus canyon drive is a nice hike but is popular.

Ash Canyon and Desert Hound Mine area. The desert hound is a pretty stiff hike but with big views and very historic.

Goler Wash was a favorite of mine to cross over into the parks southern end. Need a good 4wd HC for sure. Barker Ranch before it burned down was where Charles Manson of Helter Skelter infamy hung out and was arrested after the murders. The Striped Butte Valley with all the great back country cabins and some nice hot springs in the area.

Bible of Death Valley hiking and exploration are a couple of books by Michel Digonnet. There are two he has written and they are massive but give lots of detail.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 01 2016 7:28 am
by azbackpackr
Great info. I live not far from there throughout the cool season, in Needles. Just started this week exploring the Mojave National Preserve by Jeep, and I will get around to Death Valley later. Have never been there, so all this info is invaluable.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 01 2016 1:50 pm
by GrottoGirl
I just returned from DV. If you like to scramble I recommend Grotto Canyon. It takes 2-4 hours.

Echo canyon is an ice drive up to Inyo Mine. Lots of good scenery and history.

Another non-technical adventure is to do an out and back hike from hole-in-the-Wall up Slit Canyon. You can hike around the dry falls.

If you are into canyoneering Scorpion is a good intro canyon.

I should have all my pictures and triplogs up by the end of this weekend.

I also recommend a book: Hiking Death Valley: A Guide to its Natural Wonders and Mining Past by Michael Digonnet

If you are interested in canyoneering in DV please let me know!

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 02 2016 4:58 pm
by autumnstars
To these suggestions I could add the Eureka Valley. Way northwest part of the park, so depends where else you're going, but spectacular. A closed valley with tallest dune system in CA. Usually very few people. Primitive (aka free) camping. The road was graded within the last year, so may even still be in decent shape.

If good backroads driver, you could drive up through Dedeckera Canyon and over Steel Pass from there to the hotsprings. Lots of options!

Panamint Valley is less-visited as well, and there is remote dune system there and geoglyphs.

Get at least the basic Michael Digonnet book - best hiking (and even just driving or reading) books for Death Valley by far.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 05 2016 3:44 pm
by AZ_Step
This is getting good! I'm going to have to do some serious planning.
Thanks for the advice and suggestion and keep them coming I have a whole week to fill!

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 05 2016 3:49 pm
by Grasshopper
AZ_Step wrote:keep them coming I have a whole week to fill!
LoL.. you will learn that one should not plan a trip to DVNP unless it's a week minimum! ;-)

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 06 2016 5:25 am
by RedRoxx44
The park is huge and you could end up doing a lot of driving. If you can do a general drive thru the park, then focus on an area that has several attractions and cover that. Then move to the next section. That way you won't do so much time just driving etc. If you are car camping most rules are several miles up the secondary roads off the main drag to camp. The official camp grounds are likely to be very crowded. There is good backcountry camping but not near the main roads.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 06 2016 8:10 am
by azbackpackr
@RedRoxx44
Are the official campgrounds crowded on weekdays? I almost never go places on weekends. I prefer dispersed camping, but I'm just wondering about weekdays. Occasionally I do camp in campgrounds.

From what I heard from RVers (at my front desk job at an RV park in Needles), Death Valley was mobbed over Thanksgiving week. I would imagine the same over the traditional school holidays around Christmas. Therefore, maybe I'll head there sometime after the New Year, not on a holiday.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 06 2016 5:38 pm
by RedRoxx44
I don't know on weekdays how it would be. I would suspect somewhat less. Although people that drive quite a distance will stay longer I suppose. Some, like myself return year after year and like a comfortable campground for a base for exploration. I've never camped in a campground ( unless you count girl scouts a million years ago) so can't really comment on that.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 06 2016 7:46 pm
by azbackpackr
@RedRoxx44
Well, I'll get out there at some point on a weekday, and can report back. It'll have to be after the holidays, and before Spring Break. Spring Break is hell if you are in the popular spots in the desert and on the river.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 07 2016 6:21 am
by RedRoxx44
Copy that on spring break. That and backpacking in the Uintas in Utah during Pioneer Days.

Re: Week in Death Valley

Posted: Dec 20 2016 3:31 pm
by AZ_Step
New Years in Las Vegas? It could be the scariest part of the whole trip. Or maybe the drive home after New Years.