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Looking for feedback on this DV itenerary

Discuss 4x4'ing, Hiking, Backpacking, Camping
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Dapper
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Looking for feedback on this DV itenerary

Post by Dapper » Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:57 pm

Howdy all – I’m hoping for some intel on an upcoming trip to DV at the end of March, which will be focused on backcountry camping, solitude, and just generally soaking up the desert space. We’ll be in a Jeep and Nissan Titan 4WD.

We’re coming from the Bay Area, and intend to come in from Big Pine, as I really want to check out Racetrack…sort of a bucket list thing. We have four nights at our disposal.

I’d like some feedback from the regular visitors on our working itinerary.

- Day 1, drive down and spend the night at Homestake or somewhere in Hidden Valley. Maybe spend the night at Eureka Dunes instead if time gets short. Any suggestions for good camping within reach of Racetrack Playa?

- Day 2, check out Racetrack, Ubehebe Peak…probably stay the night in the same area. Maybe Hunter Mountain?

- Day 3 we intend to move south, either over Lipincott or Hunter Mountain. I’m a bit leery of Lipincott, as my truck is wide with a longish wheel base (4 dr/short box). Hunter Mountain sounds doable, but now I am reading about mud pits. Head down to Panamint Springs, resupply, and head up to Wildrose Peak area. Any good backcountry camping up there?

- Day 4, Titus Canyon, and perhaps explore some of the nearby canyons in that area. Need somewhere to camp on that side of the park.

More specific questions:

- Does this sound like too much driving? We really want time outside the car for exploring.

- Is there anywhere along the way that would be suited to 2 or even 3 nights as a base camp, with stuff to do during the day?

- Any excellent backcountry camping spots you can share, or areas to avoid?

- Should we skip Wildrose for more time on the east side of the park?

Cheers, and thanks in advance!

tcknubs
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Post by tcknubs » Fri Feb 10, 2017 11:39 pm

I think if you want a lot of "outside time" you may be biting off more than you can chew.

Eureka dunes have several campsites that are great and the view is beautiful.

The race track, at the end of it, (start of lippincott) has great campsites too but can sometimes get crowded.

Hunter pass is much more drivable than lippincont.

I think you can accomplish 3 of the 4 that you want to do. either drop titus or wildrose region. Titus is fantastic to drive through but it is a one way so you have to enter from the eastern side and head west, which means you would be driving a lot out of the way. There are backpacking camp spots near the charcoal kilns but remember that the elevations is high and considering all the rains, there is probably a significant amount of snow up there. lower elevation would be pananmint springs area or ballarat.

ofcourse it all depends of where you plan to enter the park that will determine your planning.

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Gowergulch42
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Post by Gowergulch42 » Sat Feb 11, 2017 2:10 am

No shortage of campsites in the Wildrose area; pull up to the end of Nemo Canyon or Wood Canyon if Wildrose or Thorndike are full. It is impossible to car camp on the east side of the valley between Beatty Road and Ubehebe Crater, but there is a campground at Mesquite Springs, I've never been there but it seems nice. A pretty good trip, but I'd drop Titus and just be aware that flood damage or heavy snows are possible, and cold may make higher elevations challenging.
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Death Valley Dazed
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DV Itinerary

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Sun Feb 12, 2017 1:47 pm

I've almost given up on sticking to my fantasy itineraries in the park. Inevitably
I head out in one direction and get gloriously sidetracked onto another adventure swearing to myself that on the next trip I'll finish what I started. Now my unfinished list is longer than ever!

Your plans sound like heaps o' fun so just head out and size the situation hour by hour as it comes up. Spontaneity is half the fun, whether self-induced, weather-induced or vehicle-induced.

I really recommend Ubehebe Peak with an early departure to capture the sunrise or a late departure to capture the sunset. Mid-day the Racetrack will look washed out but it's still gorgeous. Here's a short vid of a sunrise on top:

https://youtu.be/N5KFEYJc9nE

And if you make it to Eureka Dunes, try to make them sing back to you.

https://youtu.be/761i2MQeda8
Life begins in Death Valley

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MojaveGeek
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Post by MojaveGeek » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:05 pm

I'll echo Dazed. By end of March, you probably have good and warm weather. But one year in April it was 98 down in the valley and another year at the same time of month we got snowed out of a campsite at about 3000 feet on Last Chance Mtn.

I'm a planner, and my group relies on my planning, but I always go out with at least twice as many possible trips mapped out than we'll be able to take, and roll with the weather punches. Windy? Go in a canyon. Hot? Go high. Cold? Enjoy the low. Wet? Canyons with exposed smooth walls like Marble, Grotto, Cottonwood, Titus are beautiful when wet!

Yes to Ubehebe. My first DV experience was going up Ubehebe and looking down into the Saline, and I was immediately hooked. Been going back for 27 years now. Good trail. Even if you only take the trail up to the ridge with the mine (great trail btw) you will get stunning views.

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wbdeford
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Post by wbdeford » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:14 am

I haven't read the other replies, so forgive any overlap:

1) Homestake is a great place to camp and 2 miles from the Racetrack. Expect it to be quite chilly at night. You should be able to do the Racetrack and Ubehebe Peak in one day if you are in shape for it.

2) Mud on Hunter Mountain in March, especially this year will be pretty nasty. Not a good place to get stuck. Last year was a drier year than this year and there were still some tough spots in April. If you do Lippincott, make sure you check South Pass road conditions before you go so you can be sure you can get out of the Saline Valley.

3) Wildrose area....Wildrose is the least backcountry of the three campgrounds, but it is at 4000 ft, so not nearly as cold as Thorndike and Mahogany Flat, and the road may still be closed beyond the kilns due to snow, so those campgrounds may be inaccessible by vehicle. The challenge of finding good backcountry spots along Wildrose Road is that you have be 1 mile from pavement. If you aren't afraid of the Road Closed sign leading to the lower Wildrose Road, you can drive part way down there and camp pretty much anywhere, though it would be technically illegal. (If you consider doing that, get a second opinion--I have driven the closed road but never tried to camp along it.)

4) I think your itinerary may be a bit too ambitious for the time that you have. Since you live relatively close to the park (compared to living in, say, Ohio like I do), you can get back there to see stuff you miss on this trip. If it were me, I would focus on one area of the park and save remote areas for a later trip.

5) If you are going to include the Eureka Valley, it might make sense to go from there to the Racetrack (and Homestake), then back out the Racetrack road and hit Titus Canyon next. From there, it is all pavement to Panamint Springs.

6) Make sure you don't get yourself into a race. It is much harder to enjoy if you are always feeling pressed to get to the next place.

7) If you do find yourself wanting to camp in the Saline Valley, there are some nice pull-off spots that make great campsites.

Dapper
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Post by Dapper » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:55 am

Oh man, so much good intel! Thanks, and keep it coming!

Really, the kernel of what we are looking for is this: getting off the beaten track, away from people if possible, in a beautiful place, with fun stuff to hike to. Abandoned mines and townsites, yes...geological features, definitely yes...lonely peaks and anonymous slot canyons, yes.

Also, we have vehicles with off-highway capability, but are not interested in fully testing our mettle. We don't want to break stuff. But we do want some fun, mildly to moderately challenging driving conditions as part of the experience.

If there is one portion of the park that is an ideal match for this spectrum, I'd go there, even if it means coming back another time for the racetrack.

Cheers!

D.A. Wright
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Re: Looking for feedback on this DV itenerary

Post by D.A. Wright » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:02 pm

Dapper wrote: I’m a bit leery of Lipincott, as my truck is wide with a longish wheel base (4 dr/short box).
I don't forsee any issues getting your Titan down Lippencott if you have off road experience, except in one stretch about two truck lenghts long. If you haven't seen this page yet, I'd recommend:

http://www.gbr.4wdtrips.net/4x4/lippincott.html
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

Dapper
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Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 1:24 pm

Re: Looking for feedback on this DV itenerary

Post by Dapper » Tue Feb 14, 2017 1:20 pm

Thank you Mr. Wright. Yes, I have looked at that page previously (down for some reason at the moment), and it made Lipincott sound very doable. Thanks for the confirmation.
D.A. Wright wrote:
Dapper wrote: I’m a bit leery of Lipincott, as my truck is wide with a longish wheel base (4 dr/short box).
I don't forsee any issues getting your Titan down Lippencott if you have off road experience, except in one stretch about two truck lenghts long. If you haven't seen this page yet, I'd recommend:

http://www.gbr.4wdtrips.net/4x4/lippincott.html

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