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Dispersed Camping December

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Dispersed Camping December

Post by brendandotcomm » Fri May 31, 2019 7:26 am

greetings all,

my brother, father and i will be in death valley the first week of december, and we will be at a nearby air bnb for the first four days while we tend to most of the paved road attractions. for the next four days, we would like to get into the back country a bit, and ideally would find a place (or two) suitable for dispersed car camping. i have read online as to the numerous restrictions outlining where we shouldn't be attempting to do such a thing, but i have hit a point in my research where i would love to solicit the opinion of someone experienced as to where we should be attempting to do such a thing. i have gathered that echo canyon is good for this; and i am also interested in lee flat. i have also read that west side road itself is prohibitive to camping, but that it is host to numerous dirt road offshoots that have campsites along them.

does anyone have any suggested roads or areas that would be good for some death valley first timers? it is of note that we will have 4wd capability, but we aren't 4wd die hards or anything like that, so while we aren't afraid of a rocky road we aren't necessarily seeking them out.

please let me know if you have any suggestions,
thank you!

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Re: Dispersed Camping December

Post by MojaveGeek » Fri May 31, 2019 6:11 pm

A lot will depend on the temps at the time of your trip. Echo Canyon is indeed very popular near the beginning for dispersed camping, and its down low, and also rather near Furnace Creek, visitor center and such. You could drive up Echo Canyon to the Inyo Mine area, which has some interesting structures, and I highly recommend driving to the end and then walking the old RR grade about 4 (?) miles to an amazing overlook into the Amargosa valley - that's an easy walk if you're a walker.

Lee Flat will be much more quiet and you will be more likely to have near solitude. I can be cold up there as it is much higher. I do like the big Joshua Trees up there. There's a few spots you could explore up there, a cabin (can't recall it's name, is in good shape), some mines, some great views into the Saline Valley if you hike up to the ridge lines.

Greenwater Canyon is fairly quite, and there's some sites you could hit with your 4WD, or walk down Greenwater Canyon to the petroglyphs. Somehow I really like that place. Not a long drive to Dante's view.

And you're right about the roads off the West Side rd. So really the answer is, depends on what you want to do with your time around where you camp!

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Re: Dispersed Camping December

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:11 pm

The Hole in the Wall area might be an option as well. Unless washed out the drive is shorter than Echo Canyon. I've never stayed overnight there but three out of the four times I've day hiked in the area there were several other campers all set up. There was still plenty of room for others.
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Re: Dispersed Camping December

Post by kayaker77 » Mon Jun 03, 2019 8:29 pm

I think the cabin that's in the Saline Valley area is Boxcar Cabin. I stopped by and visited it about 2 years ago. There were clean comforters there, nonperishable food, and plenty of good books to read. I didn't stay there, but it looks like it has some history connected to it: ... ley.32087/

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Re: Dispersed Camping December

Post by TacoLand » Tue Jun 04, 2019 7:20 am

I was just at Boxcar early April. Condition is fine compared to previous years. Log book showed frequent visitors.

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Re: Dispersed Camping December

Post by wbdeford » Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:49 am

Big question is, how warm do you want to be? December is the coldest time of year, unlike most of the country where January is. Harry Wade road gives you tons of places, including near (but not "at") Saratoga Springs, or the Ibex Dunes. Racetrack Valley Road, from 2 miles down it to before Teakettle Junction....Saline Valley Road has some nice little pulloff areas...Indian Ranch Road, also, though that is mostly outside the park. Up Lake Hill Road toward the Panamint Dunes....the dry well in the middle of the Eureka Valley is a great place to camp.

For the West Side road area, you just have to go 1 mile up one of the roads up the fan. Warm Springs camp....Johnson Canyon Road....Hanaupah Canyon Road...Trail Canyon Road.

Limitless choices.....can you further specify your interests? Dunes? Mines? Springs? etc.....

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