Unique Places in Death Valley National Park

  • Rhyolite, the station
    Rhyolite, the station
    by Martinewezel
  • Rhyolite, ruin
    Rhyolite, ruin
    by Martinewezel
  • Rhyolite, the bank
    Rhyolite, the bank
    by Martinewezel

Most Viewed Off The Beaten Path in Death Valley National Park

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Greenwater Ghost Town

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 9, 2014

    This is difficult to call a Ghost Town because there are no structures remaining. When you arrive at the cross road where the site use to be, all that remains is a large pile of old rusted cans and a small sign that says Greenwater.

    Greenwater was a very short lived town that lasted only three years. They did have a post office from 1906 to 1908 but when the nearby mines did not yield a profit most everything and everyone left. At it's high point nearly 2000 people lived here. It is hard to believe when you see the site today.

    It is not marked on any park map but if you have the Nat Geo map, the town is easy to find.

    On the road to Dantes View at a sharp turn in the road and a dirt road branching off on the left. This is Greenwater Valley Road. The second right turn off here is a slightly over grown dirt road. Turn here. The drive is fun. High clearance vehicle is recommended.

    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Ashford Canyon Trail

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 9, 2014

    At the end of the Ashford Canyon Road is a green wilderness marker and an obvious trail. There is said to be ruins in this area of the Ashford Mine. I headed up the trail which runs along a dry wash. Eventually the trail drops into the wash and continues up canyon. After a short time there is a dirt road that runs up the left side of the canyon. This could be difficult to see but there is an obvious ramp on the left that is man made. At first I stayed in the canyon to explore. The canyon continues for a little while until you arrive at a 20 foot fall. It is climbable but the down climb would be difficult.

    I turned back to explore the dirt road I found. I reached it and started walking up hill. The road gets steep and has a large wash out rut but it is passable. I reach what I thought was the end and could not find any ruins. It is a very peaceful place and exploring these types of places is almost a guarantee you will not see any other people.

    It was very late in the day and it was still 100 degrees out. With the sun setting, I knew I did not what to negotiate the drive out so I turned back. This was so enjoyable I will definitely go back to explore more.

    Dirt road after leaving the wash
    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • National/State Park
    • Desert

    Was this review helpful?

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Ashford Canyon Road

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 9, 2014

    This is an unmarked road directly across Badwater Road from the Ashford Mill Ruins. This is my kind of adventure. Not only is a high clearance vehicle required but you should have some 4x4 driving skills. This is a seldom traveled road that crosses a dry wash several times. It is all up hill to Ashford Canyon. The end of the road is obvious. This road gives access to Ashford Canyon and Scotty Canyon.

    This is very remote. There is no cell phone service. Be prepared with plenty of water in case your vehicle breaks down.

    This was another drive at did late afternoon. The setting sun lights of the rock walls and mountains for beautiful colors. But plan your time wisely. I would not want to drive out on Ashford Canyon road in the dark.

    End of the Road View of the drive out
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Adventure Travel
    • Desert

    Was this review helpful?

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Mine Shaft on the road to Skidoo

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 9, 2014

    The first left turn off Emigrant Canyon road is Skidoo Mine road. About half way down this road, around 2 and 1/2 miles down this road you will see a mine shaft ruin on the right and a cabin on the left. I have not been able to find a name for this shaft and Cabin. At the Cabin there is an inscription in a cement step into the cabin that reads "B + B 3-25-51." I will continue to do research as I am intrigued by this.

    The mine shaft has a wood structure and ladder that descends into the mine. The mine is blocked by a steel cable mesh to allow bats to fly out but keep visitors out. Interesting to explore around.

    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • blueskyjohn's Profile Photo

    Emigrant Springs

    by blueskyjohn Updated Jul 9, 2014

    Emigrant Springs is not listed on an official park map. You can find it on the Death Valley National Geographic Map. However there is no road marked although there is one present. Its only a few miles down Emigrant Canyon Road and can be identified by two large water containers on a hill.

    There are some ruins of a cement foundation and a trail that loops around. It is interesting to explore here a little. There are many old cans and rusted out vehicle from the 30's and 40's. I always find these fascinating and wonder how they came to be here forgotten over time. A nice activity if you are interested in the mining past of Death Valley.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Desert
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Sunrise

    by goingsolo Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just watched daylight slowly break over Telescope Peak. The sun crept slowly past the thin grayish clouds, burning them into a pinkish orange color that is unlike any I have ever seen. The sky slowly turned to light, creating a new day filled with promise.

    I thank G-d for these moments. Watching something so much bigger than the sum of its parts, seeing time as a wheel in constant motion, viewed by the turning of the Earth in its seemingly endless cycle and, most of all, knowing that there's more magic yet to come. It truly is a day filled with so much promise, captured forever in a moment so small as this.

    Death Valley National Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Hot enought for you?

    by goingsolo Updated Apr 4, 2011

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Then highest recorded air temperature in Death Valley is 134 degrees f. The highest recorded ground temperature is 201 degrees f, just lower than the boiling point of water. I also read that temperatures often top 120 degrees during the summer. I can't imagine driving my car through that heat, let alone a wagon train, as aspiring immigrants, miners and others did in the early 19th century.

    Death Valley National Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • oldtrailmaster's Profile Photo

    Experience nature, geology, and history!

    by oldtrailmaster Written Jun 25, 2008

    Water spread as far as the eye could see, eighty miles north to south, ten miles east to west, in a lake so vast and a mountain valley so steep that it had to be hundreds of feet in depth. Melting ice from the surrounding mountains kept it well fed for long periods of time. How many eyes were actually here to see it though is a matter of conjecture, but it is believed that small bands of early people may well have camped at its shores during different stages of its existence. Descendants of those communities still remain today, tending to life’s daily struggles in a locale that would have been at the bottom of this colossal lake in times of yore, but now is sun baked and dry.

    From 700 or more feet under water long ago, to often waterless today! Geologic transitions take eons to happen, human changes, on the other hand, occur relatively quickly. It is how the humans have interacted with the landscape here that seems to intrigue us most however.
    This is Death Valley, a land of fascination, mystery, and harsh extremes. It is a place maligned by the masses, viewed as a chasm of death, but curiously visited by many of these people nonetheless. In fact, these negative undertones that are inexorably linked with The Valley are at the very core of our collective society’s strange fascination with it. In our modern times, visitors flock here to witness firsthand the vividly unforgiving terrain, upon which thousands before them labored to live modestly, or quickly crossed to get someplace else, or came to extract the riches of Solomon. It was a countryside of opportunity, a land of dreams, and an abyss of hell. So much history has played out its drama here that a lifetime of study is needed to truly appreciate it all.

    It is believed that people have lived in this region for approximately ten thousand years, the earliest of which saw a different view than we see today. Massive tectonic forces molded the mountains along earthquake fault lines, creating deep terrestrial depressions typically referred to as valleys, although Death Valley is more scientifically termed a graben. Water from Ice Age periods later rushed in through a series of rivers and lakes, seeking the lowest of the low land, and finding it in what we now call Death Valley.

    At 282 feet below sea level at its lowest point, it becomes obvious why water will always find this special spot. Interestingly, long ago, it may have been lower, as less debris runoff from the mountains had filled in the lowlands. Today parts of the countryside are filled by the Amargosa River. Some believe that eons into the future, this entire region will be underwater again, only this next time instead of fresh water, it will be the ocean coming in from the Sea of Cortez and running as far north as Oregon, filling a relatively narrow inlet where the Earth’s plates are pulling apart according to some experts. Scientific supposition fires our imaginations of what Death Valley might one day be like.

    This trend of enthrallment for Death Valley had its roots in 1849, before the place even had an accepted name, when several small groups of loosely confederated pioneers unwisely journeyed into this unmapped void in a mistaken belief that a shortcut to the California gold fields existed through the region. In their thirst to be among the first to collect the gold nuggets that supposedly awaited them in the western Sierra Nevada Range near Sutter’s Mill, they inadvertently wrote a page in the book of Old West history that has been retold hundreds of times in as many varied ways. Their ill-advised exploits sparked an implausible stampede into the Death Valley territory in the late 1800s, which extended into the first portion of the twentieth century, and it is primarily these events upon which the modern common person is drawn to learn about Death Valley. This history, along with the unique geologic aspects of this breathtaking country, is also what led to the governmental protection of the region, first in the form of a National Monument in 1933, and then upgraded to a National Park in 1994.

    Gold was found here and successfully mined. Silver likewise. Other minerals included some considered unromantic and uninteresting by most … talc and borax. There’s something exciting about running a profitable gold or silver mine, like the allure of massive riches. Problem was though, that most of the rainbow chasers who flocked to this region to take advantage of the few gold and silver lodes, left broken by the unforgiving terrain, with little or often nothing to show for it. Only a tiny handful of savvy entrepreneurs really made any money worth shouting about. A couple of hapless prospectors found the stuff, but lacked the wisdom to hold on to it – not a problem though, for someone was always waiting to grab it from them at the first opportunity. And grab it they did!

    The largest financial jackpot came in the form of white gold from the lowest and most cursed land of the territory … the enormous salt pan of the main valley. Unlike gold and silver mines found in the surrounding high mountains, borax existed on the cracked and desiccated ground where some folks of yore swore they could hear the wails of the damned from hell. Yep, the big money was realized from the unlikeliest of sources out here, and when you visit, think about that as you stand at Badwater, nearly three-hundred feet below sea level, contemplating the Devil’s Golf Course. And then raise your head from the blinding white lowlands to gaze at the 11,049 foot Panamint Range across the valley, and consider the silver and gold mining in the pine trees on cool mountain slopes. Quite a contrast – just like the region itself.

    Also consider what kind of determined people would even come here in the first place to find their fortunes, and you’ll quickly realize that it took a distinctively special breed. If you think this is remote and rugged territory today, ponder what getting here would have been like before roads, automobiles, and nearby conveniences! Now, you have painted a real picture of what went on out here. How many folks do you know who would have even contemplated such a life course?

    Welcome to legendary country like no other! The one and only Death Valley …

    Teakettle Junction in the Racetrack Valley Prospector Shorty Harris Mahogany Flat Sunrise Mahogany Flat elevation 8133 feet Echo Canyon Sunrise
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • Photography
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • HasTowelWillTravel's Profile Photo

    Rhyolite, ghost town

    by HasTowelWillTravel Updated May 23, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Just outside of the park to the northwest lies Rhyolite, an old mining ghost town. It is chocked full of abandoned buildings reminiscent of a mining town that went bankrupt decades ago. The jail, brothel, and train depot are also there, with a few short train cars, all for your perusal. It is a great place to wander around, and most of the buildings have plates describing what they were back in the heyday.

    Just head up Hwy 374 beyond the park boundary, but a bit before the town of Beatty.

    The lone phonebooth outside Rhyolite Old bank building in Rhyolite
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Hiking and Walking

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    Amargosa Opera House

    by mikelisaanna Updated May 7, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Amargosa Opera House is located in Death Valley Junction, a tiny town that is about 10 miles east of the park entrance on the drive in from Las Vegas (and about 30 miles east of Furnace Creek). The building was originally built in the 1920s as a community center by the Pacific Coast Borax Company, which owned the town of Death Valley Junction. It was bought and restored beginning in the late 1960s by Marta Becket, a dancer from New York, who still puts on performances there three nights per week from October through May. The building's interior features murals painted by Marta over a period of years.

    While stopping by to photograph the opera house, we saw a beautiful peacock, which was completely unexpected given the remote desert location.

    In addition to the opera house, the complex also includes a motel which has rooms with air conditioning, but no restaurant or televisions or telephones.

    The Amargosa Opera House A peacock at the Amargosa Opera House
    Related to:
    • Road Trip
    • National/State Park
    • Arts and Culture

    Was this review helpful?

  • mikelisaanna's Profile Photo

    Panamint Valley

    by mikelisaanna Written Oct 16, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Panamint Valley is a desolate valley that is west of and parallel to Death Valley. The scenery is similar to that offered by Death Valley, but there are far fewer people. In an hour of driving on Route 178, the north/south road (it is paved) in Panamint Valley, we only passed three cars. It can be reached by taking Route 190 west from Stovepipe Wells up and over the Panamint Mountains.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Desert
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • JLBG's Profile Photo

    Close up on a Charcoal kiln

    by JLBG Written Apr 25, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Of course, if you have driven this dirt road, you know what to expect, however, it makes quite a shock when you all of a sudden discover them after the bend of the road. They were built at the end of the XIXth century and were used only a few years, which explains why they are in such a good condition. They are almost 10 meters high and have a 10 meters diameter. Large amounts of coal could be prepared each time they were light. Each process lasted about 2 month.

    Charcoal kilns
    Related to:
    • Desert
    • National/State Park
    • Road Trip

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Those bad badlands

    by goingsolo Written Jan 15, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The extreme heat is not the only reason why Death Valley is a virtually lifeless zone. This land was once covered with water. When the lakes evaporated, clay deposits were left behind. These hardened over the years and made the ground incapable of saturation. As a result, when it rains, the water simply flows downhill. Over time, a series of gullies and ravines formed in the badlands' surface, allowing water to move at a rapid pace.

    Death Valley National Park
    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Adventure Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Ubehebe Crater

    by goingsolo Written Jan 9, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Ubehebe crater symbolizes the otherworldly nature of Death Valley's landscape. The crater, which is the product of a volcanic explosion, is located near Scotty's Castle. A trail leads around the steep and irregularly shaped crater and its a pretty tough walk.

    Since its far from Death Valley's "main" attractions, Ubehebe Crater is not a sight you'll see on a brief park visit. But, if you have an extra day, you can easily drive out and combine a visit to the crater with a tour of Scotty's Castle.

    Death Valley National Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • goingsolo's Profile Photo

    Twilight

    by goingsolo Updated Dec 8, 2004

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Twilight and sunrise are the best times to view the park. While I generally prefer sunrises, there's something special about sitting on the ledge after a long day of hiking and watching the sun fade into the horizon, creating a glorious golden sheen on rock and earth and mountain.

    Death Valley National Park

    Was this review helpful?

Death Valley National Park Hotels

Latest Death Valley National Park Hotel Reviews

Stovepipe Wells Village
502 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 3, 2014
Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort
1818 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jul 8, 2014
Furnace Creek Campground
37 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jun 12, 2014
Sunset Campground
3 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 8, 2012
Mesquite Springs Campground
4 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 16, 2013

Instant Answers: Death Valley National Park

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

111 travelers online now

Comments

Death Valley National Park Off The Beaten Path

Travel tips and advice posted by real travelers and Death Valley National Park locals.
Map of Death Valley National Park