Death Valley Planning - What not to miss thread for the Adventure traveler

Kofoed

 
 
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I was thinking/looking at coming in the back via the Race track area. Every gone in from that direction?
Yep. I don't know the condition of the road east of Gordo. The slope is shaded and the snow takes a long time to melt. I was once rejected about 400 yards from the crest coming up from the east side. If you are going east from the top, you should know right away if it is a no go

If you have time on the way to Echo, see if you can work in a side trip to Dante's View. It is all paved, but great view
 
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I was thinking/looking at coming in the back via the Race track area. Every gone in from that direction?
Yes the trail on the East side is fine and you finish by Lee's flat; from Lee's flat you can go South Path, Hunter Mountain or back to 190. But do not expect to do it now in March as it is going to have a lot of snow. The first week of January (see attached photo; just before the summit arriving at Cerro Gordo the snow layer was bigger) there was already snow and it was fine to go up and down. But with all the snow that DV got in the last 2 months I'm guessing there will be too much snow. And also you might be able to go up Swansea which has a great rock step, but on the plateau on the top you will not be able to go south to Cerro Gordo as already in January it was like 3 to 4 feet of snow.
1917634
 

LandCruiserPhil

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Yes the trail on the East side is fine and you finish by Lee's flat; from Lee's flat you can go South Path, Hunter Mountain or back to 190. But do not expect to do it now in March as it is going to have a lot of snow. The first week of January (see attached photo; just before the summit arriving at Cerro Gordo the snow layer was bigger) there was already snow and it was fine to go up and down. But with all the snow that DV got in the last 2 months I'm guessing there will be too much snow. And also you might be able to go up Swansea which has a great rock step, but on the plateau on the top you will not be able to go south to Cerro Gordo as already in January it was like 3 to 4 feet of snow.
View attachment 1917634
Death Valley high temp today is 79° and will be in that range for the next week. With South Pass at 6000' do you think still think too much snow later next week?
 
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Death Valley high temp today is 79° and will be in that range for the next week. With South Pass at 6000' do you think still think too much snow later next week?
That is the temp of Furnace Creek which is always hotter and as no snow issue. When looking at the North of DV you need to take a look at Panamint Springs or Big Pine forecast. Even though Panamint is also going to be in the upper 60's that trail is in the shadow and start at the summit at 8800' to 6900'. This is the part with all the snow and it is going to be deep. Below, for the rest of the trail, it is going to be fine. But coming from Keeler, once you're done visiting the few open buildings you can continue East (go slightly up; do not go right or left towards the antennas) and you will immediately see the snow layer. The beginning of the trail going down is the worth; so you can immediately judge.
But even with the warmer weather, that spot is super shady in winter with the low sun and it is not going to melt that fast. I would say do not count on it; but if you are already at Cerro Gordo then definitely take a look at the trail.
 
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Any logic why gas is $1 per gal more in Furnace Creek($4.49) than Stovepipe Village($3.50)
Furnace Creek has a big fancy resort. Better to get gas at Beaty in NV (and you can visit the weird Rhyolite site). In that case, do Echo canyon and then go down and all across the flat along 95 to finish at Beatty. You can also do the same by wheeling over Chloride Cliff.
At the end of the week Titus canyon might re-open to come back to DV (but I doubt it); you will need to check with the rangers at Furnace creek.
 

LandCruiserPhil

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My plan (always subject to change) was to go in State line road to Dantes view through Echo Canyon and go counter clockwise around the Park finishing up on Mengal Pass exiting Harry Wades Road. Refueling in Stovepipe if needed (400-500 mile range). It looks like Panamint Springs has fuel but I cant find an info or price to confirm?

Want to leave on Tuesday putting me in the Valley on Wed/Thursday.

Thoughts?
 

Kofoed

 
 
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Furnace Creek is a private in-holding, therefore they charge what they want for gas. Stovepipe is a concession operation, and the prices are set by the .gov.

Panamint has gas (subject to periodic outages) and will be very costly. They have a website, call them. It is a handy place to splash 5 gallons just in case. Shakes are good too at teh gas station. Decent food at teh retaraunt if you are so inclined. HAving a beer on the patio looking across Panamint Valley is not a bad way to spend an hour.

While on Harry Wade, take a side trip to Ibex Mine and Saratoga Springs
 
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Cruiserdrew

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My plan (always subject to change) was to go in State line road to Dantes view through Echo Canyon and go counter clockwise around the Park finishing up on Mengal Pass exiting Harry Wades Road. Refueling in Stovepipe if needed (400-500 mile range). It looks like Panamint Springs has fuel but I cant find an info or price to confirm?

Thoughts?
Gas at Panamint Springs will be expensive. At least $1 more per gallon than Furnace Creek. I have paid up to $8 per gallon there. The trick is to buy just enough to get out to Lone Pine.

Your route sounds fine. You'll be going uphill in ECHO which is slightly more challenging.. There is some confusing route finding coming in but just remember it's basically 2 parallel tracks that all end up at the Echo Waterfall and Inyo mine. Either way will take you out through Amorgosa. I assume you'll come back into the park via Titus Canyon? Thats fun, not challenging.

My guess is there will be too much snow for Cerro Gordo or the Swansea Grade. If you go to the far north of the park, you'll end up back in the Eureka Valley, and from there the Dunes , Dedeckera Cyn, Steel Pass and Saline. South Pass out of saline will be a mud fest I think.

But then circling back down Panimint Valley, over Mengel/Butte Valley (hike to the top of the Butte-awesome) and out to the south Death Valley Road. Harry wade can take you out to the south. You may actually have to cross a flowing Amorgosa River.

Have fun
 
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Cruiserdrew

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And @LandCruiserPhil I may be mis-understanding your exact route. Echo Canyon is uphill from the valley side, down hill from the Beatty/Amorgosa side.

If you go to the far north end of the valley the last 30 miles or so is hard pack gravel. Then up and over the summit at Crankshaft Junctin and down to the Eureka Valley. That road can and does wash out near the top so check with the rangers that it is open.

Just realize, the rangers are rarely up to date on actual real time conditions. They sign roads as "closed" if they don't know, and "impassable" if they do. Most of the time with a closed sign, it's just a sign and the road beyond is standard conditions.

An alternative would be to hang a left at Ubehebe, go to the Racetrack and then down Lippincott Grade to Saline. But then you'd miss Dedeckera Canyon which is pretty cool.

The higher areas like Cerro Gordo and Hunter Mountain are likely to be extremely muddy and impassable. We hit a 14 foot wall of snow on the Sawansea Grade down from Cerro Gordo one March and had to turn around and retrace our steps for a day, and went out through South Saline Valley road and Panamint.
 
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Hunter mountain is no problem with less than a foot of snow on the trail as-of last week. Just another option if you don’t want to have fun on Lippincot 😏
 

LandCruiserPhil

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