Death Valley Camp2

After a morning hike at Ubehebe, I made my way down the valley to Furnace Creek stopping along the road at various points to take pictures of the wildflowers growing everywhere. I also spent some time at the visitor center. Furnace Creek was a zoo. There were cars and RVs everywhere, hundreds of people milling about on foot.

I decided that my only chance of finding a little bit of remote camping was to take the Western Dirt Road south thru the valley, rather than the paved road which was very busy with constant traffic. It's about 26 miles long. It was really neat crossing the valley here. Particularly interesting was the standing water at Lake Manley, which is usually a dry, and to see Salt Creek running briskly. It was fascinating to realize that all of the water soluble salts for thousands of square miles end up in this pool here at 200 feet below sea level! It was very salty.

The park considers the West Road a protected area, and you are not allowed to boondock on it, so as I drove south on it, I checked out each of the intersecting dirt roads that led up into the western foothills. Each road had a few people dispersed on it, and I finally chose the road up Johnson Canyon. I took the Roadtrek about 8 miles up the hill before the road became too rough, then pulled off the spur road a few yards and camped there. My nearest neighbor was about 3 miles closer to the main dirt road then I was.

Throughout the remaining daylight about 5 vehicles passed my camp spot coming in or out of Johnson Canyon (which I learned later is a favorite traverse of the western mountains). However, at night, no-one came by and it was a beautiful place to camp with a sweeping view of the valley and interesting side canyons to explore.

Continue onto the next page of my Death Valley Trip ..