Death Valley is a huge park. It is larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite combined! Its breadth and depth are impressive. This was the first trip where I used an SUV to travel through the backroads of a park, and Death Valley was a great place to do so. It opened up a vast amount of territory and expanded my horizons, so much that I spent about four weeks there! There is so much to see. What a place! An early description of just one area called it “One of the most unusual and grotesquely beautiful scenic wonders of the world.”
I know you won’t be as impressed as I was, but perhaps you’ll see why I like it.
Palm trees at the Ibex spring. Many abandoned building hint at the past.
An abandoned borax mine
In addition to some cool scenery, this picture conains a puzzle. How did that yellow dump truck get there? The nearest road is at least 100 yards uphill. The terrain around it is very rocky; even a jeep might find it hard to navigate.
Here, the sand seems to flow down the hillsides and valleys as if it were water.
The Ibex dunes sit below black mountains. I like the contrast.
I didn’t know there were this many shades of brown
The locals in places like the Owlshead Mountains are are very skittish. They don’t see visitors very often, so they don’t know what to expect from them. But what kind of creatures are they? Hint: They’re not in the deer family. BTW, I bet you never expected to see so much green here.
This is Owl Lake. Here, many lakes contain water only rarely. The signpost doesn’t say anything any more, which is not unusual in Death Valley.
The bighorn sheep in the Owlshead region don’t encounter humans very often, so they’re extra skittish.
You won’t believe what these White-Lined Sphinx caterpillars will become. For the answer, see my 2017 trip.
Would you be tempted to walk through the door into the mine?
Bright green trees announce the presence of a spring
Would you walk down this hill?
There’s water here, but would you drink it?
Salt Creek flows through this part of Death Valley. It is the home to the Death Valley pupfish, which lives only here. This area is not far from the infamous Badwater Basin. Would you believe that there is plenty of water beneath Badwater Basin?
The many colors indicate the mineral deposits in the mountains. It’s easy to see why this area was a hotbed for mining activities.
Yellow flowers seem to flow down the wash
A sidewinder greets a visitor with a quiet rattling sound
On cold nights, a local tradition is to warm up by brewing a kettle of tea. Get yours here. Wanna hear about Crankshaft Junction?
Two of the famous Sailing Stones of the Racetrack. These two were having a race when I was there. But they make a tortoise seem like a torpedo. P.S. I found the mountains surrounding the Racetrack to be as interesting as the sailing stones.
Death Valley is hardly the only place in the world with interesting skies, but that did not affect my enjoyment of this sunset.
Hole-in-the-Wall is an oddity. Imagine a skinny wall stretching for miles to the left and right. Here, in the middle is the “hole.” It’s wide enough that they could build a road through it.
In the desert, rain may fall from the sky, but that does not necessarily mean it will reach the ground.
Early morning light makes these mountains brown, but during the full light of day, they take on multiple shades of color, mostly grays.
Two mountain ranges with a salt pan below and blue skies above. What’s not to enjoy? And no trail will take you here.
Lone Joshua trees are hard to find. This one is in Last Chance Canyon.
How can a heavy tree maintain a hold in that rock at that angle?
The Eureka Dunes are the highest in Death Valley. In person, they are quite imposing.
Trees line a dirt road. But is this what you expect from the infamous Death Valley?
Yet another fascinating mountainside. I am forever impressed by the many different kinds of mountains here.
Saline Valley Warm Springs stand out in the dry desert. The “Chicken Strip” aka airport sits nearby.
For me, Salt Lake was a highlight of Saline Valley. But you can’t get this view from a road.
Another view of Salt Lake. The peach color is part of the water, not the shore. I could not determine its cause, but it was sure odd.
Ho hum. More wetlands.
Wait a minute here. Cows grazing in a national park? Wait another minute! I bet this was shot along a section of the road which briefly enters Inyo National Forest. OK; don’t look at this picture.
This is just part of a Joshua tree forest in Lee Flat. It extends for miles.
Each section of this composite hillside has its own color.
A wash cuts through a shallow valley, which leads to a large flat with Salt Lake at the far end – all beneath the watchful eyes of the black, snow-capped Inyo Mountains.
Death Valley is a place of many curiosities. Here is one. What causes the rings of grass around these ant hills?
Despite its name, Death Valley had plenty of residents in the past. There are many types of ruins throughout much of the part. This is one of the best examples from the ruins around Ibex Springs.
Successfully driving Death Valley’s backroads requires a properly selected vehicle and a well-trained, experienced driver. Or a poor decision and good luck.
If you liked these photos, see those from my
2017 and 2018 trips. I tried to avoid having similar photos from the three trips.