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dsidwell 11-04-2003 04:12 AM

Death Valley?
Now that it's winter, I'd be interested in a trek to Death Valley, California (or any other desert place in the general region). I've been meaning to go there for some time.

Mid-December would be best for me.

ronners 11-04-2003 10:29 PM

Re: Death Valley?
I'm not sure if I could make it David, but I believe that December is a reasonable time to visit. February/March is a period with rain and/or dust storms, and late April through about October is probably too hot (<A HREF="">weather info.</a>). You should also note that 80% of the roads in Death Valley are unpaved, so to see the best of the place you need a high clearance vehicle. For example, to see those sliding stones you need to travel about 20-30 miles off road.

As an alternative, you could also consider King's Canyon or Sequoia. These are, however, pretty much inaccessible by a vehicle, though are good for a back-country trip. Further north you have Highway 395 which runs along the eastern side of the Sierras, and has a number of great photography locations. It's at altitude (up to 9000ft) though, but they keep it pretty clear during the winter so that skiiers can get to Badger Pass.

A bit further north (on 395), you have Mono Lake (fabulous) and Yosemite. Mono Lake is in the 'high desert' which doesn't mean sand dunes, but rather a lot of scrub like the Navajo areas in Arizona. The lake itself is wonderful though (I took a photo workshop there last January). Again, because it's at altitude it can be very cold (10-20F max during the day at that time of year).

You can only access Yosemite Valley (i.e. not the whole park) by car in December. Highway 120, which runs east/west (with Mono Lake at the eastern end) is closed from about October through to May because of snow.

Please let me know if you need any more information. I'll keep this one in mind.


nmess 11-08-2003 01:42 AM

Re: Death Valley?
I've made several visits to DV over the years and will vouch for Ron's remarks, but you can make it to the Race Track (sliding stones Ron referred to) with the average SUV, but you'll need to be sure to have good spares and a full tank of gas. You might like to check out some of the abandoed mines here too such as the Lost Burro Mine.

I would highly recommend Titus Canyon, though it's about a 40 or so mile trip. The road starts near Ryholite and is one way and a high ground clearance vehicle is definitely required there. As with many of the mountain roads it's not well maintained and can vary by the day.

If you have a true 4X4 you might want to check some of the moutanin trails, at higher elevations the weather can be very comfortable even in the summer.

I won't be able to make a trip there with you, but encourage such a trip for anyone interested.

dsidwell 11-09-2003 07:54 PM

Re: Death Valley?
I grew up visiting King's Canyon and Sequoia. It would be fun to go back there again! Mono lake is inspiring, especially after seeing your shots of it. It's amazing that it used to be so much larger (until the water was diverted to L.A.!).

dsidwell 11-23-2003 05:04 PM

Re: Death Valley?
I'm still planning on going somewhere around the Las Vegas area (but not Las Vegas) around Christmas time. Probably the week before or the week between Christmas and New Years.

Death Valley is to the west, but to the east are Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and to the north is Valley of Fire and to the north west are the White Hills (I think that's their name) where is found the oldest bristlecone pine forest in the world.

Heck, I'll go anywhere. It would be fun to do it with some fellow TE friends!

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