Valentine's Trip to Death Valley

Have an upcoming trip? Post about it here! A great place to meet people with the same interests
Post Reply
User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Valentine's Trip to Death Valley

Post by TacoLand » Wed Feb 01, 2017 4:25 pm

I'd been planning on making a pilgrimage down to Death Valley late March / early April, but the girlfriend went and got her name pulled for the Paleontology Tour so it's off to Death Valley we go.

Looking at 4 nights in the park and hoping to keep things centralized to one area after the Tour so we can cut down on the driving as the daylight won't be quite as long as I'd prefer.

I've been told the Tour wraps up around 3 or 4, so will be looking to find an easy and quiet spot to "backcountry" camp in the Sidewinder Canyon area. Thinking the best bet would be to head south, turn off onto the West Side Road, and head up a mile or two towards Warm Spring Canyon before pulling off. Anyone got some thoughts on that option, or a better one?

From there I'd really like to spend some time exploring the western slopes of the Cottonwoods. I've always wanted to scope out Dry Bone Canyon and maybe the Lost Burro Mine. Figured we'd make our way to the White Top Mountain road and explore the area. Take our time driving out there on the second day and making camp, so we're setup to leave early in the morning to explore as much of Dry Bone Canyon as we can before returning to camp.

Maybe check out and camp at Lost Burro Mine the night after? Anything else in the area we should be checking out instead?

And from there hoping to head down good ol' Lippincott and into the Saline Valley, on to Lone Pine, then blast up to Northern Nevada that with fingers crossed that we don't get caught in a blizzard around Bishop / Mammoth as I've managed to do more than once.

User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Post by TacoLand » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:53 am

As I kind of had a hunch ... looks like Saline Pass (South) is going to make for a bad exit strategy from the park. Even if the snow starts to melt off with warmer temperatures I'm even less excited about the mud -- http://forum.salinepreservation.org/pos ... 5?trail=75

Also checking temperatures and my topo maps, definitely going to be making a camp closer to Hidden Valley Road versus White Top Mountain. You can only wake up so many mornings in Death Valley with a frozen bottle before you get it through your head that checking the Weather Channel's report for Death Valley National Park is rarely relevant for where I'm actually going to be!

User avatar
Gowergulch42
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 699
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:41 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Post by Gowergulch42 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 4:49 pm

Not supposed to camp at Lost Burro; but the road that goes out toward Sand Flat is easy going and has a multitude of flat campsites, especially where it turns from north to south toward the Mule Tail Mine.

Warm Springs is pretty well trafficked, even at night, so to avoid that maybe go up toward Queen of Sheba or Galena Canyon. They recently reduced the Day Use Only to 1 mile past pavement (or major road like West Side or Racetrack) so you wouldn't have to go very far up to camp.
Check out my reports and informative ramblings at http://dvexplore.blogspot.com

User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Post by TacoLand » Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:23 pm

Gowergulch42 wrote:Not supposed to camp at Lost Burro; but the road that goes out toward Sand Flat is easy going and has a multitude of flat campsites, especially where it turns from north to south toward the Mule Tail Mine.

Warm Springs is pretty well trafficked, even at night, so to avoid that maybe go up toward Queen of Sheba or Galena Canyon. They recently reduced the Day Use Only to 1 mile past pavement (or major road like West Side or Racetrack) so you wouldn't have to go very far up to camp.
Hey Gower, MANY thanks for the warning about Warm Springs road being heavily traffic. That one and Galena/Sheba are the two canyons I haven't explored off of West Side Road and I really appreciate the heads up. Will put in the extra dozen miles or so to get away from Warm Springs.

And thankfully realized my mistake about camping at Lost Burro Mine after I did a little more research and realized it was on the NPS list. Probably won't head as far down as the road to Sand Flat as I want to explore Dry Bone and Leaning Rock, but you never know ... didn't realized have Sand Flat on my radar and now I'm curious.

User avatar
Gowergulch42
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 699
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 1:41 pm
Location: Portland, OR
Contact:

Post by Gowergulch42 » Sat Feb 04, 2017 11:25 pm

Sand Flat is beautiful. A few scattered Joshua Trees on the flats pegged against steep mountain cliffs. Fossils top of you know where to look.

There's a multitude of good campsites up White Top too, just make sure it's sheltered from the wind. Freezing mountain wind rips through at night sometimes.
Check out my reports and informative ramblings at http://dvexplore.blogspot.com

User avatar
TacoLand
Grubstaker
Posts: 201
Joined: Tue Nov 19, 2013 10:00 am
Location: Northern Nev.

Post by TacoLand » Mon Feb 06, 2017 5:22 pm

So after thinking about it some more I think I'm going to save Dry Bone / White Top / and now Sand Flat until the end of March as originally planned, with the hope that Hunter Mtn. will be passable. Going to stick to the southern end of DV this trip and take advantage of lower elevations and warmer nights.

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 1923
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Post by MojaveGeek » Tue Feb 07, 2017 6:12 pm

Seems wise. Snow levels still seem fairly low.

Post Reply