Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

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BBQ Nut
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Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by BBQ Nut » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:05 am

The DW and I are on a National Park kick and one place we're considering is Death Valley.

We were thinking sometime in the winter, Feb or March.

We like to hike, but not into camping or doing any type of off-roading to get to spots. A graded dirt or gravel road, maybe.

Any BH recommendations for places to stay and go see/hike?

TIA!

TravelGeek
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by TravelGeek » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:21 am

We stayed at the Furnace Creek Ranch about ten years ago. We picked the motel style accommodations because we weren't there to spend a lot of time in our room. The price was reasonable for Memorial Day weekend (127 degree weather), and the location is great for exploring the valley.

Looks like it's undergoing renovations at the moment. Check out

https://www.oasisatdeathvalley.com/

Also some roads and Scotty's Castle are closed due to flash flood damage, it appears.

Death Valley is one of my favorite parks. Enjoy!

sbaywriter
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by sbaywriter » Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:27 am

No answer but a few comments from my one trip decades ago - the main thing I remember: Drink LOTS of water, even if you don't feel thirsty - the dryness sucks the moisture out of you before you realize it.

I found it interesting and enjoyed visiting - once. We were tent camping and I found it too harsh an environment for that. Yet there is a native American tribe that has been living there for centuries (saw an exhibit on that somewhere we went), so an interesting perspective on how what is desolation to one can be a beautiful homeland to another.

Damulag
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by Damulag » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:08 pm

Depending on the direction of travel to get there I would also recommend Valley of Fire, Zion National Park, or Sequoia.

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mk_obelix
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by mk_obelix » Mon Oct 08, 2018 3:12 pm

If you are into exploring night sky, plan your trip around new moon. Try to stay inside the park so that you are not driving around all the time. It is a fun place to be.
:) --SMILE-- :) increases your face value

tman9940
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by tman9940 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:12 pm

Death Valley is amazing! I was there a few years ago. We stayed at Stovepipe Wells. It is in a more central location than Furnace Creek, but from I saw, not as nice. It is very desolate...which I think it was amazing! Stovepipe Wells is within walking distance to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes--which are just amazing. Definitely need to see Badwater, Dante's View, Ubehebe (sp)Crater and Zabriskie Point. Didn't get a chance to go to the Racetrack, but you need a high clearance vehicle for that. I wish we went, but it is tough to get to from what I understand. The night sky is amazing as well, as is how quiet the whole park is, especially at night! There are also a few canyons for awesome hiking, their names are avoiding me at the moment though. I hope you have an amazing trip!

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dm200
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by dm200 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:22 pm

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m70yWel ... e=youtu.be

Used to watch this many, many years ago! :happy

retiredjg
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by retiredjg » Mon Oct 08, 2018 4:39 pm

Death Valley is one of the most fascinating places in the country in my opinion. But it seems to me that March might almost be spring. That means it may be heavily booked - don't wait to make reservations.

The hike around the Ubehebe Crater is fascinating and doable. Don't miss that for sure. I found hiking poles to be helpful, but I'm old. Also, Scotty's Castle is one of a kind. Don't miss it either.

The night sky is incredible, but you have to be away from the populated areas to get the full effect.

If you are not interested in off-road on your own....skip the Raceway.

Just accept that you will buy at least one tank of gas at a price that will almost make your heart stop. Gas is very expensive in CA and Death Valley gas is even higher because it costs a lot to get gas in there. Just pay for it and get on with enjoying your trip.

Wilderness Librarian
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by Wilderness Librarian » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:15 pm

Never been there but this is high on my to do list for desert hiking areas. Someone I knew in Alaska compared it to Denali N.P. in regards to openness and dramatic relief. Somewhere I got the impression for the valley floor anyway the hiking season was usually November - February so March might actually count as "summer". You might look into this point. I know Backpacker magazine has featured several hikes. Also REI had a hotel based geology oriented guided hiking trip (that is a drive and different day hike each day from the same hotel) Expensive but it got great customer reviews saying that you would get to remote sections with an experienced field geologist.

wakka
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by wakka » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:19 pm

I spent a day there a few weeks ago, and it was worth the price of admission -- $35 per car. (ouch!)

Badwater, Dante's View, Zabriskie Point were all terrific. I didn't go to hike, but there were a number of trailheads that would be easy to get to with a AWD rental car with a moderate amount of ground clearance.

If I were going to hike, I'd follow the signs I saw posted everywhere to a "t": hike early in the morning, and BRING/DRINK LOTS OF WATER. :sharebeer
"Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery." | -Charles Dickens

jlawrence01
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by jlawrence01 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:44 pm

If you are going to Death Valley in January or February, stop in Tecopa Hot Springs at the China Date Ranch. At that time of the year, they will be harvesting dates. Also, they have excellent baked goods. There are also quite a few good hiking trails.

https://www.chinaranch.com/

retiredjg
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by retiredjg » Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:55 pm

jlawrence01 wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 5:44 pm
If you are going to Death Valley in January or February, stop in Tecopa Hot Springs at the China Date Ranch. At that time of the year, they will be harvesting dates. Also, they have excellent baked goods. There are also quite a few good hiking trails.

https://www.chinaranch.com/
I loved my visit to this place a few years ago. And they have the best dates EVER! Many different varieties. Occasionally, I order from them even now.

"No matter where you go, there you are."

RetiredInTheWest
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by RetiredInTheWest » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:21 pm

We've been going to Death Valley a bit over the past 20+ years. There is plenty of great hiking right from good roads and parking lots all over. We now like to stay at the hotel at Stovepipe Wells (no resort fee charged there, some food available across the street, restaurant/bar is a little pricey but works) and will be again next March. Mosaic Canyon can be hiked about 3 miles just up the (good) gravel road from there. The Racetrack is very interesting if the road in is in good shape (have done it once with a regular car, another time required 4WD clearance - depends on the year I guess) and it's not a cold day (that's at about 3000' elevation?). Golden Canyon has tons of places to hike (even up to Zabriskie Point and back down). Finally, there are lots of "quick stops" to walk around some too: Bad Water (walk out far enough and you'll find a plaque sitting on the ground in a plastic bag marking the lowest point), Devil's Golf Course, Artist's Palette, check out the pup fish at Salt Creek, as much of the sand dunes as you'd like to hike, etc. Scotty's Castle is fun to see too if the road is re-opened by whenever you go. Fall Canyon and Red Canyon are good for full day hikes. IMO for a long weekend, with your stated interests, you certainly won't run out of activities. Be prepared to go back!

I think I've personally spent over 30 nights in the park, and still haven't run out of places to hike. Great place to go hiking in the winter. We always buy non-perishable groceries before we get into the park, as well as fill up with gas before then too.

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climber2020
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by climber2020 » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:27 pm

BBQ Nut wrote:
Mon Oct 08, 2018 11:05 am

Any BH recommendations for places to stay and go see/hike?
I was there in May and stayed at Stovepipe Wells. Here's a review that I wrote up with some pictures.

They give you 4 free bottles of water each day per room, so no need to show up with a trunk full of water jugs.

Moon Handbooks makes a good Death Valley guide with all the highlights that you'll want to see while there. My favorite sites were Badwater Basin, Mesquite dunes, and Zabriskie point.

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BBQ Nut
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by BBQ Nut » Mon Oct 08, 2018 6:33 pm

I'll be saving and going over all the recommendations - much appreciated!

letsgobobby
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by letsgobobby » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:16 pm

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Bruce T
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by Bruce T » Mon Oct 08, 2018 7:26 pm

+1 on China Date Ranch: Get a date shake and make sure to taste test the range of dates and buy some to take home.
re: Death Valley: We booked late and had to stay outside the park ... long drives resulted.
Bring walking boots/shoes w/ very good ankle support and a big water jug for your car to refill water bottles, also lots of chap stick/lip balm and chewing gum if you get ear/altitude change issues ala airplanes.
Have fun - it's a beautiful part of the country (in its own way)... sunrise and sunsets take the cake!

Sagefemme
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by Sagefemme » Mon Oct 08, 2018 10:24 pm

DH and I spent a week in Death Valley two years ago in late March. The temperatures were perfect--in the 70s and low 80s, very dry of course, and great for hiking. However it was so windy the first night we literally could not set up our tent. It kept getting blown flat to the ground. So we slept that first night at the hotel (ranch?) in Furnace Creek. We got the last room, I think. Do make reservations now. We did a lot of great hiking including up Wildrose Peak where it was snowing a bit at the top. Extremes in weather, but overall a spectacular trip.

edvest
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by edvest » Tue Oct 09, 2018 8:43 pm

In the southwest, visitors/hikers from none arid areas of the world die from dehydration and heat all year round.
You lose water AND electrolytes even while sleeping in a hotel. (No visible sweat... ever!)

Drink water day and night and eat normal, hearty meals. It takes weeks if not months to become acclimated. Dress like a Mexican.

I attached one link but there's hundreds more.

P.S. February 2016, while hiking in Phoenix I passed out. If I had been alone, I would be dead. Just saying.

https://www.knappandroberts.com/tips-fo ... is-summer/

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JaneyLH
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Re: Death Valley Trip Recommendations?

Post by JaneyLH » Tue Oct 09, 2018 11:45 pm

My strong advice is to make plans to visit next month during the period of November 4-11. There is a wonderful event that has been held in Death Valley for the last 68 years called the "Death Valley '49ers Encampment". It's a western heritage and music festival that includes historical programs, professional western musical entertainment in the evenings, art and vendor show, talks, Chautauqua performances, gold panning, a talent show, hikes and 4x4 guided trips, pioneer costume contest, draft horse wagon rides, line dancing lessons, and (this year) learn how to yodel and how to build a canjo workshops. This has been going on ever since the California Centennial in 1849 and is Death Valley's biggest annual event.

It costs $35/person or $60/family for the whole week's worth of activities and entertainment. My husband and I have been going for the past 5 years and it's a wonderful time. We look over the week-long program of activities, and then plan our hikes and exploration around the Encampment activities. It all takes place in Furnace Creek at the national park visitor center and adjacent Fiddler's Camp run by the Oasis at Death Valley (formerly Furnace Creek Ranch). Furnace Creek campground reservations are probably full, but the Sunset and Texas Springs campgrounds are first come first serve and there's plenty of room. The weather is usually 70s and low 80s and beautiful.

See www.deathvalley49ers.org for more info.

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