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1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

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1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

Hi, thanks to everyone who has helped so far with my many questions. We will be hiring a jeep for 1 day in Death Valley in late October (one day all we can afford as $$$$!!!). We are staying in a small RV 22' and will see all the main sites from that (having nearly 4 days in totoal)- checked road restrictions and our width comes under that which some roads dont allow so ok there. My problem is trying to plan a feasible route which best utilises our rather pricey jeep hire. We will be picking it up from Furnace Creek. We definitely want to include Titus Canyon (top priority) and whilst doing that will probably check out Rhyolite. I would also like to do the Devils Racetrack - is that feasible to do both in same day? I was also looking at Twenty Mule Team Canyon road... but wonder if im just going way beyond what we can accomplish in a day?? Can anyone comment on road conditions in October. I see there are 2 feasible routes into the racetrack area - is either better then the other? Is a loop feasible (from memory racetrack road from ubhebe crater and down hidden canyon road to panamint springs) looks like a long way but not much longer than doubling back on yourself! We will have two small children but they travel well so as long as frequent breaks should be happy to go with the flow. I would say we are moderate 4WD'ers - we own a Toyota Landcruiuser and lived in it for 6 months - have done a reasonable amount of sand driving. I DO NOT want to do any difficult drives as having the kids in the car makes me to nervous if there are dropoffs or any risk of us getting stranded or toppling = me freaking out. We have been to Death Valley before so know weather conditions, wildlife, water needs and all the rest of it - we have never driven off road there though and are clueless about conditions in that area. Thanks in advance.

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21. Re: 1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

Okay, I can add some info from the RVing standpoint, although I have not been to Death Valley.

A 22' motorhome is just a tick longer than a full size crew cab pickup with a full 8' bed on it. Think Ford 350.

Is the road in question suitable for that type of pickup?

Are there rocks in the road requiring higher ground clearance?

Are there sections that are gravel (and washboard) on a hill where a vehicle needs more traction?

How wide is this road?

Depending upon the answers to the above questions, a 22 footer *may* be fine. It won't handle as well as a pickup, but they aren't quite the elephants that bigger motorhomes are.

What model is this? A small Class C?

Keep in mind, Rajahs_Pillow, that if it's dusty, dust will get in *everywhere* in the motorhome - even in the drawers and cupboards - and everything will rattle if you drive at all quickly on a dirt road.

California does not allow the hidden GPS units on rental vehicles so the technology won't tattle on you for driving off-road, but I might mention that if your rental is emblazoned with your rental company, you *might* run the risk of somebody reporting it to the company. It's a slim chance, but I'm pretty much 100% sure that dirt roads are in violation of any RV rental agreement...... food for thought, that's all.

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22. Re: 1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

I have done 20 mule team canyon in a Toyota Corolla and a full size F350 longbed crewcab diesel 4x4.Personally I don't see what the big deal is.If it was wet, you would not want to do the road.But dry,it is usually graded and no big deal.Iknow ZB does not want to see anyone stuck,and you should appreciate that he has your interest in mind.

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23. Re: 1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

Hi, I/we appreciate everyones input and totally understand that every post has our interest in mind and we are very grateful that people have taken the time to help us out. Just regarding TMT Canyon road - I have read through my RV rental t & c's and I cannot find any mention of NOT taking the vehicle off the bitumen... there is a specific section that covers Death Valley and it says the following

Death Valley and other desert areas:

Vehicles are not allowed to operate in Death Valley and other desert areas during the months of May to September. At other times clients visit these areas at their own risk and are thus responsible for all recovery and other charges. During certain periods these areas are not habitable and could pose a danger to the driver and passengers.

We do not apply here as we are going in October and we fully accept that any consequence is our responsibility.

I would just say that the company we are hiring RV from is actually an Australian company with outlets in US. In Australia EVERYONE takes their RV onto dirt otherwise no-one would ever get anywhere! They probably dropped any caveats against this as they know its just not enforcable - certainly not in Aus!! Also the vehicle is a single cab Ford F350 made into an RV. - someone mentioned FordF350 - well our vehicle is one! The road in question is extremely short (2-3k's?) - I have not seen any mention of high clearance required and as others have stated our RV wont be that much longer or wider than a big car. We have driven an RV across Australia (about 22 ") with a young baby and 5 very bonkers dogs and we enjoyed it. We had to take it on the dirt some and we just took it slower. We have also driven Artists Point (?) road before which I seem to recall someone saying was similar and from memory I have no doubt that we could negotiate a small RV around that (unless wet of course). Also the road is one way which takes that concern out of it.

As regards the road south through Hunter Valley - we have certainly ditched this idea based on comments on here and the concern that it would be too far anyway and and also its remoteness. (Lets not talk about the Death by GPS thread on here - very sad and upsetting) We are very happy with our new plans and very confident they will suit our family and not pose too great a risk other than the obvious of blowing a tire-which although might pee Daddy off will not be a life or death issue! We have driven some shocking roads in australia (pilbara, kimberley - some areas of which are not dissimlar to DV) before we had kids and are certainly not green when it comes to 4WD or RV driving. At the end of the day though a plan is only a plan and if the kids are having such a ball in Titus Canyon that we end up lingering we will ditch any plans to go to the racetrack - if we havent started the dirt road from Ubhebe by 2pm i wouldnt do it. I would rather have a full day and have to ditch some than end up with time free trying to fathom out where to go next. Very appreciative for everyones help and advice - stopped us potentially getting stuck on a remote road and totally ruining our trip if not risking lives - so very, very thankful and happy with our conclusions.

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24. Re: 1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

<? if the kids are having such a ball in Titus Canyon that we end up lingering we will ditch any plans to go to the racetrack - if we havent started the dirt road from Ubhebe by 2pm i wouldnt do it ?>

We were four hours off pavement on our drive through Titus Canyon - turned off Daylight Pass Rd at almost exactly 8:00 AM and then arrived back at Scotty's Castle Rd around noon. Now granted we probably spent more time "seeing the sights" in TC than a lot of folks do, but If you all are planning to also spend some time at Rhyolite before Titus Canyon, then I seriously doubt you will make it to Racetrack Rd by 2:00 PM.

It is almost an hour to drive from TC to Ubehebe Crater. Sunset in late October will be around 6:00 PM, and that would really be pushing things to get down to the playa, have some time to look around, and then get back to pavement by nightfall. And then you will have a 90 minute drive back to Furnace Creek.

Here is my suggestion if you want to add a little more off-road adventure to the end of your Titus Canyon trip. Do Rhyolite and TC as you have planned, but then turn back south past Furnace Creek and do Twenty Mule Team Canyon. From the exit of TMT Canyon, turn left on 190 and go 3/4 of a mile to the turnoff (on the right) to Hole in the Wall. This "road" will take you up a rocky wash about 3.5 miles to a spectacular cleft in the ridge - several hundred feet high. Beyond the cleft it gets a little tricky, so I would not go past that.

Once you are back out on 190 (and if you still have some daylight left), turn right and go 3.5 miles to the turn off to Echo Canyon, which is similar to the road to Hole in the Wall. About 3.5 miles up this road you will see Eye of the Needle up on the right. At that point I doubt you will have any time left, but if so then you can head over to Zabriskie Pt (left on 190 about 1.5 miles) to watch the sunset (or you could go straight to ZP from Hole if you wanted to). That puts you back close to Furnace Creek Ranch so you do not have such a long drive in the dark.

None of these roads should give you any trouble in a Farabee's Jeep (which is what you want!), and the three short excursions after TC will allow you to micro-adjust your plans to available daylight, rather than embarking on a huge excursion to the Racetrack on the heels of a huge excursion through Titus Canyon. It will also give you more opportunities to stop, get out of the car, and look around a bit (always a good idea when you have kids along!).

Hole in the Wall and Eye of the Needle are both spectacular formations that not many park visitors ever see, so you will still have some special memories of your trip to take back to Oz.

Those are my thoughts anyway.


Uden, The...
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25. Re: 1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

The Titus Canyon drive took us 2 hours (stops but no hikes) and we were happy with it but you can spend longer of course. The trip you want to make was done by a poster in another forum and it took him 9 hours.

Stoke on Trent...
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26. Re: 1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

We did Titus in 2½ hours, lots of photo stops but no hiking. We pushed on as it was at the end of the day and we didn't want to get stuck in the Canyon at night. It was still enjoyable though.

27. Re: 1 day with hired Jeep in Death Valley - suggested routes??

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