Some friends and us are planning a spring break trip to Death Valley NP and are wondering if anyone might have some suggestions for us for camping and Jeep trails. We are looking for possible remote-type camping locations and day Jeep trips. We are not rock crawlers but we are both comfortable doing some wheeling.
Our group is two couples with popup TC's that flat tow Jeeps. The picture is last year's spring break when we went to the Monument Valley area.
I read the 2008 Death Valley trip report posted by C. Traveler2 and got some good info; thanks for that. We will be entering DVNP from Hwy 95 out of Las Vegas. Our friends want to visit the Race Track and drive the Lippencott Rd. We also are interested in day hikes.
What we would like to do is find a good spot to park the TC's and then go Jeep around for a few days returning to the campers in the evening.
Any suggestions off the beaten path will be greatly appreciated.
Rob & Sara
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You don't really need a jeep for Titus Canyon, just high clearance, but it is a beutiful drive, over red pass and then down into the canyon. Take lunch and stop at Leadfield, the old town site and explore. It is a one way road and you enter from the highway 374 out of Beaty Nv. I have done it in my CRV. I don't know of any dispersed camping spots but am sure others will chime in.
Here is a link to a map showing number 4, Titus Canyon. The map should come up and scrol up and then you can expand it by clicking on the + at the bottom of the map. Titus canyon
Mosiac canyon is a great hike, it is near Stovepipe wells
* This post was
edited 03/06/12 08:53pm by othertonka *
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No great suggestions on camping away from the campgrounds....thou it is allowed. As you most likly know, you have to get about 3 miles up a road to be able to camp...and finding a place to pull off is a bit of challenge since most roads seem to follow washes. Though, I suspect you are up to it.
There "may" be a couple nice spots up Hole-in-the-Wall road....real close to the "Hole-in-the-Wall" for a small group like yours.
There are lots of great hikes and the Park Service has the standard, short tourist hikes pretty well mapped out for visitors. For trail-less hiking, we really enjoyed the hike up Fall Canyon, which is the next canyon north of Titus canyon. I suggest you get the hiking guidebook early on as there are so many places to go.
If (when) you get tired of Death Valley, I can't recommond enough the Alabama Hills, just west of Lone Pine. Wonderful scenery, great hiking and, from the looks of it, nice OHV riding. Very clean, lots of places to camp and best of all, no National Park service rules... (you may even get to watch a movie being filmed...Google it and you will see what I mean)
I second the Titus canyon drive, but wouldn't take anything in-tow on the drive. I did it with my pop-up a couple weeks ago. Mesquite Springs was the best official campground we stayed at. I thought Stovepipe and Sunset (at Furnace Creek) were primarily big gravel parking lots. But they offer flush toilets, potable water and a dumb station.
Found my book and back with some more info for you. The book I would recommend for hiking is "Hiking Death Valley" by Michel Diconnet. Note though that the author isn't a leisurely hiker, so keep that under consideration when looking at his distance and time estimates.
The Inyo mine townsite was interesting and there is a "true" 4x4 road that takes off near by that heads back into Nevada.
Also, near Inyo mine is Echo Canyon. We were only able to hike a short distance up the canyon because we had hiked to the mouth of the canyon from Inyo mine (we were looking for some picto's that are reported to be in that area). However our short trip up Echo Canyon proper was nice and sure wish we had more time for that hike.
For an easy, popular hike, Mosaic Canyon is very nice. Just don't go anywhere near it if it has rained.....
It really isn't hiking and it sure isn't jeep riding, but Scotty's Castle should not be missed. Bring a lunch and plan to spend a day (take both tours)
Fuel is expensive in the park. (It was over $5.00/ gallon at Panamint Springs in January.) So bring as much as you can. The gas station at Stovepipe Wells is (was) less expensive than Furnace Creek.
Eureka Sand Dunes is a great place to camp. There is a pit toilet there and that is about it. But the views are amazing and it has never been crowded the times I have been there. From there you can head south over steel pass into Saline Valley. That is a fun road with a couple of rough sections but no problem in your jeep. If you go that way you will pass by the Marble Bath too. There are great hot springs in Saline Valley but be ready cause it is also a clothing optional area.
I liked the dispersed camping at Hole in the Wall. Just about the limit for a TC but good Jeeping past there.
Also took the TC up Trail Canyon a ways. Lots of Truck and Jeeps came out after we camped.
Download the "Backcountry Roads" brochure from the Park Website. Very helpful.
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"Leave the trail a little better than you found it."
If you want the more remote locations to camp, consider outside of Death Valley. Although there are some possibilities in Deva, they are limited. Outside the park the possibilities are endless. The dunes to the south of the park attract people wanting dispersed camping and the opportunity to run over everything in sight with jeeps and/or ATVs. Joshua Tree is also a national park and opportunites are limited. Mojave is a "preserve" and is virtually empty with lots and lots of options.
You have certainly picked one of my favorite parks to visit. One thing you will see, is an increase of people visiting the park, during March, as this is one of the destinations for Spring Breakers, too.
Hiking and Photography is one of my favorite parts, of the park. I would suggest checking out these various hikes;
Telescope Peak (snow and cold could interfere)
Keane Wonder Mine (Some areas are closed)
Willow Canyon (one of my favorites)
Golden Canyon to the Gower Gulch Loop (you can hike to Zabriskie Point, in the loop)
Red Wall Canyon
(These were all hikes I did this February and more, but this gives you a good start in planning some hikes)
For boondocking, be aware that the park’s Rangers enforce the rules and camp only where permitted. Also, the park being so big, you are going to do a LOT of driving to get to many locations. Basically an hour’s drive to any place. So, you might want to rethink about primitive camping and try to locate in the middle of the park, Sunset Campground (I dislike this type of TC Camping, but who stays in the campground when there is so much to see!!). I would recommend taking your group up to Marble Canyon (where I took my (as it has been called) huge Lance Camper and use the dispersed camping there. Also I would recommend camping in and around the “Racetrack Playa.” As there is many places for primitive camping, but again, it is a long way to basecamp from here and you will have a lot of traffic, to deal with, on the road between 10 am and 2 pm.
I agree, Titus Canyon is a must see, as well as Ryolyte (almost a Ghost Town). You will find groceries and cheaper gas, in nearby Beaty, NV too.
There is lots of information for going Jeeping (Check with the NPS for current conditions and closures), in the park and I would recommend that you visit the following areas, for Jeep excursions;
The Racetrack (road is in pretty good shape, this season)
Saline Valley Dunes
Ballarat Ghost Town
Skidoo Townsite (no camping permitted)
Big Pine Road
Keane Wonder Mine
West Side Road
Warm Springs Canyon
I have been to the park, three times now and each time I have spent weeks exploring the park and have only begun to scratch the surface. I spent 4 weeks there, last month, and had a fantastic time, as I am sure you will too. Have fun and report back about your trip!