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2 days in DV this April

Toronto, Canada
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2 days in DV this April

Hello everybody. This is going to be our second time in DV. We felt in love with this place 2 years ago. Coming back for more surreal beauty and to do some photography. Our plan:

April 6 - coming in the afternoon from LV straight to Bad Water to look for salt formations and photograph them at sunset. Spending night at Amargosa Opera House.

April 7 - leaving hotel really early to be for sunrise at Dantes view.

Then stop at Zabriski point on our way to Furnace Creek for lunch.

1 pm - leaving for Racetrack. Hiking, meditation, photographing sunset and night sky!!!

Camping for night near Racetrack - here birdandhike.com/Hike/…_Homestake.htm

April 8 - photographing sunrise and morning hours. Enjoying the beauty. Leaving around noon for LV.

What we can see on our way to Vegas? In Vegas we have to be by 8pm.

What do you think about whole plan? Any suggestions? Thank you.

Edited: 11:32 pm, January 22, 2013
Encinitas...
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for Zion National Park, Joshua Tree National Park
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1. Re: 2 days in DV this April

On the way back to Vegas, you can tour Scotty's Castle then take the exit of the park out back of Scotty's Castle (I think the road reopened) over to Hwy 95 and pass the ghost town of Bonnie Claire on the way.

Or head over towards Beatty and see the ghost town of Rhyolite.

Toronto, Canada
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2. Re: 2 days in DV this April

Thank you, but we've been to Scotty's Castle. Not interested in host towns so much.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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3. Re: 2 days in DV this April

What time are you leaving for Death Valley from Las Vegas? If you are going straight to Badwater and have several hours of daylight, you might consider going the "long way." At Pahrump, instead of Bell Vista and Stateline to Death Valley Junction, take NV Hwy 372, which will become CA 178 to Shoshone and the Badwater Road.

Badwater itself is about 70 miles from the town of Shoshone, and most of the southern part of the route is about fine long-range vistas of the mountains and the Valley. Being at medium to lower elevations, the wildflower season might be past its peak, but the south end around Jubilee Pass is often a good place to see them.

From Las Vegas to Badwater on this route is about 175 miles. Tha'’s almost 40 miles farther than the direct route from Pahrump to DVJ, but if you start early enough and take your time, it will be a pretty and relaxing trip. This will be a change of scenery since you are taking 190 anyway because you're staying at the Amargosa Hotel. Traffic is typically lighter on Badwater Road south of Badwater than on 190. If you didn't see the other natural wonders along Badwater before, you may have time to see them now; there's Natural Bridge, Artist's Drive, Devil's Golf Course, an Golden Canyon.

Stargazing should be fabulous at DVJ, because the "town" is tiny and the only business is the hotel-opera house complex. There are a few residences and farms, but nothing will interfere with your view. You may see some wild horses and burros. While in town, drive a bit south on Hwy 127 (signed for Shoshone) to see the graveyard, where the occupants have a grand setting with mountains and clear skies.

After your night at the Racetrack, once you return to the paved road you can go either 1) north or 2) south to get to Hwy 95 to return to Las Vegas.

1) Going north past Scotty’s Castle, as dez said, take the park road and then NV 266 to U.S. 95 (yes, the road is open again but there will be some speed zones; there may still be some road work going on). From the Racetrack/Castle Road junction to Las Vegas will be about 215 miles.

2) Or you could go south to Mud Canyon Road and turn off for Beatty. This route will be about 180 miles.

Both #1 and #2 put you on U.S. 95 for a long way, and 95 doesn't have a great deal of scenic variety. It is pretty enough, but not very diverse and dramatic, and there aren't many specific things to see. Both of them take you past ghost towns (Bonnie Claire or Rhyolite). Even if you don't think they have any appeal, stop and take a look anyway. Photographers usually find something to interest them—an architectural detail, shadow and light pattern, or stray animal (BTW, burros are common along Hwy 374, the road from the park boundary to Rhyolite and Beatty). On #1 and #2, you’ll go through Beatty and be able to stock up on candy, nuts, dates, dried fruit, and other goodies at the Death Valley Nut and Candy Company.

If you really love Death Valley, just go back down 190 to Zabriskie, Dante’s, etc. If you missed 20 Mule Team Canyon, it is right on your way. This is also the shortest route from the north end to Las Vegas.

East of DVJ on Stateline Road is Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. It's a desert marsh, a true oasis in the hottest, driest desert in America. There is lots of water, and you'll see ponds, scads of green vegetation, and birds and reptiles galore. The endangered Devil's Hole pupfish lives at Ash Meadows in one habitat called Devil's Hole, an underwater cave of unknown depth. When scientists do their annual census, they rejoice when they find 100 individual fish, a sign that the species is thriving. Devil's Hole is not open to visitors, to protect both fish and people. In the 1960s, before there was much security, some divers went down and never came up; no trace has ever been found. This may literally be a bottomless pit, or the hole that kids used to try to dig to China. Ash Meadows has roads and trails, a visitor center with irregular hours (depends on staffing), and a few outside exhibits.

Edited: 4:44 pm, January 23, 2013
Atlanta, Georgia
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4. Re: 2 days in DV this April

Another option for coming the "bottom way" (via Shoshone) is to take Old Spanish Trail. The turnoff is to the left from 160, just before you reach Pahrump (follow the signs for Tecopa). We came into DVNP that way on our last trip there and really enjoyed the drive.

-JimG

Toronto, Canada
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5. Re: 2 days in DV this April

Thanks all of you for sharing your knowledge about DV.

. "Another option for coming the "bottom way" (via Shoshone) is to take Old Spanish Trail. The turnoff is to the left from 160, just before you reach Pahrump (follow the signs for Tecopa). We came into DVNP that way on our last trip there and really enjoyed the drive."

That is exactly the way we came from Las Vegas to DV last time in April of 2011. That is amazing route . Loved that way. Lots of flowers. Most likely we will go that way back to Vegas this time.

"If you didn't see the other natural wonders along Badwater before, you may have time to see them now; there's Natural Bridge, Artist's Drive, Devil's Golf Course, an Golden Canyon."

Done that last time.

" If you missed 20 Mule Team Canyon, it is right on your way."

Thank you for pointing in this direction. Sounds like a grate ride and a lot of opportunities for photographers. May be after sunrise at Dantes view we should go for the 20 Mule Team Canyon instead of Zabriskie ( went there for sunrise last time). Mid to late morning light should be OK for photography there. What you think? Thanks again.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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6. Re: 2 days in DV this April

You don't have to make a choice between Zabriskie and 20 Mule Team Canyon. They are just a few miles apart on 190.

20MT Canyon is one-way eastbound. You enter about a mile east of Zabriskie Point, and come back to 190 about 2 miles farther east. Taking this scenic ride adds less than 2 miles over just staying on 190. The road goes among deeply eroded rock and clay formations that look like the ones you saw toward the east side of the Zabriskie Point overlook. There are sharp dips and turns (vehicle length limit is 25') and you'll change directions a couple of times, so you'll have a variety of light and shadow conditions.

If you take the Tecopa route, you can visit the China Ranch date farm, a family enterprise not associated with Death Valley National Park. The public is welcome to see the date orchards or the museum, buy date items, or even take a hike on the ranch property.

http://www.chinaranch.com/

You may not have time, but also near Tecopa is the settlement of Tecopa Hot Springs. It has motels, campgrounds, and a county park that all have access to the hot mineral waters. Google any combination of Tecopa, hot springs, mineral baths, etc. for detailed current info.

Edited: 10:21 pm, January 23, 2013
Toronto, Canada
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7. Re: 2 days in DV this April

"You don't have to make a choice between Zabriskie and 20 Mule Team Canyon. They are just a few miles apart on 190. "

I know they are really close but we like "immersing" so if we go to 20 Mule I am afraid we will not have time for Zabriskie. After seeing some after sunrise and very early morning pictures of 20 Mule I am thinking of going there first. Explore it slowly.

And then driving to Dantes view.

8. Re: 2 days in DV this April

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