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Death Valley 3 days

Lancaster...
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Death Valley 3 days

We are coming from Lancaster, were thinking about staying at furnace creek, we are in our 50's and can get around. Any suggestions and how we should see.during those 3 days Thank you so much

Henderson, Nevada
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1. Re: Death Valley 3 days

Three days can be, day 1, arrive from Landcaster... overnight at FC, day 2, expore part, overnight at FC, day 3 home... which is could really only be one day... or it can be three....

Than being said, Spend one day between Furnace Creek and Badwater... maybe up to Dante's View... Spend one day on a loop, FC to Scotty's Castle, out to Beatty, Rhyolite, then back to FC... Spend the third day at the Dunes and maybe Mosaic Canyon... alternatly somewhere in the Panamint Valley...

Randy

Edmonton, Canada
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2. Re: Death Valley 3 days

my parents (70''s) and i really enjoyed the tour at scotty's castle. very informative and our guide was very funny. if you are staying at fc ranch...i liked their pool to relax around at the end of the day. couldn't afford to stay at fc inn but went there for breakfast one day. it was good food, good service and nice view. we were there for almost 2 full days. due to the age of my parents, we mostly did car touring. 3 days would be perfect if you want to do some hiking.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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3. Re: Death Valley 3 days

Lancaster is so near Death Valley that for practical purposes, you will have most of 3 days if you start early.

More later when I get to my real computer.

Lancaster...
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4. Re: Death Valley 3 days

Thank you so much for the suggestions so far

Camp Sherman, Oregon
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5. Re: Death Valley 3 days

Karen,

I would suggest wading through the many threads people have posted recently that are similar to yours.

Check these recent ones:

tripadvisor.com/…5

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143021-i2027-k703…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143021-i2027-k696…

tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g143021-i2027-k707…

We don't know what sort of vehicle you will be driving and being able to access certain places but it will be a start. So many more recent threads that are full of information.

Corona del Mar, CA
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for San Diego, Orange County, California
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6. Re: Death Valley 3 days

What time of year?

I would be perfectly content to spend a whole day by the pool reading (assuming it isn't July or August).

I would say you've gotten good advice already and the threads linked above are great, but don't be afraid to relax either.

San Francisco
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for Death Valley Junction, Death Valley National Park
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7. Re: Death Valley 3 days

Coming from Lancaster, the logical way to enter the park is from the west, through Mojave and up 395. Ordinarily, with all roads in service, you would have several choices of ways in. You could go through Ridgecrest and then either Trona-Wildrose or Panamint Valley Road to Hwy 190. These are both scenic and interesting, and very different from each other. However, they are both out of commission because of severe flashflood damage last July. Panamint Valley Road belongs to Inyo County and we’re looking at repairs in the spring. Wildrose Road is open from the north for sightseeing within the park but there’s no through traffic after the Wildrose Campground/Charcoal Kilns turnoff.

This means you have to take Hwy 395 to either Olancha (Hwy 190) or Lone Pine (Hwy 136 to where it merges into Hwy 190). Olancha is a tiny hamlet with a few services. Lone Pine is a small but very fine town with all services and scads of things to do; going there (even if you don’t have a lot of time to spend and just want to look around) will add only about 25 miles to your overall distance. There is so much to enjoy, and Lone Pine is so near you, that you might want to put it on your short list for a future trip.

Either the Olancha or Lone Pine turnoff takes you along the erstwhile Owens Lake, where you can see the salt beds with the mineral deposits that are now mined for industrial uses. You’ll pass several refineries along the shore, and in Keeler if you go into that little town, where the salts are refined.

On Hwy 190 just inside the west side of the park is Father Crowley Vista Point, a view of a canyon that is part of the Panamint Valley (the next valley west of DV; the Panamint range is their common wall). Take the path beyond the parking lot for the best view. Father Crowley was a beloved Catholic priest who was like a 19th century frontier circuit riding parson, and his parish was much of the Eastern Sierra in the 1920s and 30s. On some Sundays, he drove 200+ miles to minister to his flock. He was a peacemaker in the “Los Angeles water wars” but his sympathies were known to lie with the small family farmers and ranchers of the Owens Valley. His huge territory and long days may have been his downfall; one night after a typically long Sunday, he was killed in a one-car wreck on a stretch of today’s 395 that even today is sparsely settled.

A few miles east of Father Crowley Point is Panamint Springs resort, a rustic place with about 15 rooms, a campground, and a restaurant with good food and a fine view from the patio. This is too far west to be a good base for several days of exploring DVNP, but it makes a good enroute stopover, or a base for exploring the west side of the park on some future trip.

Stovepipe Wells Village is a little over 30 miles farther—a full-service resort with more amenities than Panamint Springs but smaller than Furnace Creek. It’s centrally located for Mosaic Canyon, the Sand Dunes, Devil’s Cornfield, and Salt Creek. Mosaic Canyon is a magnificent place at the end of a gravel road just west of the SPW resort. It can be a stroll, a walk, a hike, a scramble, or a climb; if you have only 30-40 minutes, you can still see some of the intriguing broken rock surfaces and the polished white marble-like walls.

Salt Creek is fascinating any time, but from about March through early May, when the creek is running, it becomes even more special. It is the habitat of the cyprinodont salinus, the Death Valley pupfish, a tiny descendant of fish that inhabited the entire Mojave Desert when it was covered by inland seas. As the Earth became warmer and dryer, isolated colonies of pupfish survived in the remaining waters, adapting to the local conditions. Today, 6 or 7 species exist. Even though they have common ancestors, their habitats vary so much in elevation, climate, water alkalinity, vegetation, etc. that each species could survive only in its own habitat. It’s exciting to see these silvery inch-long fish darting around the creek by the hundreds. Even if the creek is too low for the fish, it’s still interesting to see how much vegetation survives all year in the bottom of Death Valley. (Be sure to take a bite of the pickleweed buds that grow by the banks).

These are the major sights on the west side, which are on the first leg of your trip from Lancaster if you take Hwy 14 and 395. Scotty’s Castle is about equidistant from either SPW or FC resort. Also in the north end is Ubehebe (“you be he be”) Crater, a volcanic crater formed not by an eruption but by an underground steam explosion when molten magma and groundwater came into contact. You can walk down into the crater, which is full of loose pumice ash, so getting out will be more work. Or you can walk around the rim to other craters. The main crater is only a few hundred years old. The name is from a Timbisha Shoshone phrase for “basket in the rock.”

We can come back and talk about sights closer to Furnace Creek later. They include some of Death Valley’s unique, best-known natural wonders: Zabriskie Point, 20 Mule Team Canyon, and Dante’s View (along Hwy 190 east); and the sights along Badwater Road (Devil’s Golf Course, Badwater, Natural Bridge, Artist’s Drive, and Golden Canyon).

Planning ahead for your return to Lancaster, it seems logical to backtrack, perhaps saving some of the sights on the west side to see on the way home. OTOH, you could take Badwater Road to the end, go through Shoshone to Baker, then take I-15. From Barstow, either way to Lancaster is just under 100 miles. You could go through Victorville and Palmdale. Or, if you continue west on SR 58 for 395, you go through Boron, home of the corporate descendant to the old Death Valley borax mines. The name of the company is BORAX, formerly US Borax. It operates the world’s largest borate mine. There is a visitor center with exhibits about borax, the history of mining, and the amazing diversity of uses for borates. You can look into the open-pit mine from the visitor center.

Mentioned in this post
Mojave
Mojave
California Desert, CA
Ridgecrest
Ridgecrest
California Desert, CA
Olancha
Olancha
California Desert, CA
Lone Pine
Lone Pine
California Desert, CA
Keeler
Keeler
California Desert, CA
Los Angeles
Los Angeles
California
Shoshone
Shoshone
California Desert, CA
Lancaster...
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2 reviews
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8. Re: Death Valley 3 days

We will be driving a pickup truck and we are going the weekend on 2/14. Thanks for all the advice, it has been so very helpful.

9. Re: Death Valley 3 days

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