Other Points of Interest, Death Valley National Park

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  • Rhyolite, general store
    Rhyolite, general store
    by Martinewezel
  • Rhyolite, the station
    Rhyolite, the station
    by Martinewezel
  • Rhyolite,
    Rhyolite, "antiques"
    by Martinewezel
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    Ghost town Rhyolite

    by Martinewezel Updated Mar 21, 2012

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    Rhyolite, the station
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    The ghost town is located in the Bullfrog Hills, on the border of Death Valley National Park, and close to Beatty.
    A few ghosts (art from Belgian artists) along the road welcome the visitors.
    There is not much left, beside a a few ruins. Furthermore there is also an obligate traditional and renovated "Bottle House". The station building is still in a rather good condition.
    Difficult to imagine that this desolate, abandoned place was once a lively, flourishing town.
    However, reading a bit about the history of Rhyolite on the forehand, made our visit a lot more interesting.
    Glad I have seen it.

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    The Racetrack

    by KimberlyAnn Updated Apr 4, 2011

    The Race Track is one of the out of the way places within the park that I have read a number of articles about, and had planned to see when we were in Death Valley. Unfortunately, my husband had neck surgery a couple of years before we visited Death Valley, and we found that rough roads bothered him. To reach the Race Track you must drive 27 miles along an unpaved, high clearance road. What you will find at the end of the road is an unusual area with about a 150 roving rocks. Roving? Yes, these rocks move. No one has actually seen these rocks move, but they leave trail marks behind them. Some of these rocks are softball size, but others larger. A National Geographic article I read estimated that the largest rock weighs 700 pounds. Some of the trails are straight, some are curved, some move in one direction, then make a 180 degree turn and move off in another direction. This area receives three to four inches of rain a year. During summer cloudbursts or major winter storms part of the Racetrack floods. The land here is made of fine, slippery clay and the winds can reach 90 miles an hour. It is believed that these rocks move because of a combination of this slippery mud and high winds, combined with the slight slope of the valley floor in this location. When dry, the playa floor of the racetrack is a hard packed surface. You may walk around all you wish here, but do not move any of the stones. Not only are they here for visitors to enjoy, but scientists are also studying them. For a few photos of the Racetrack, visit the web site listed below.

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    Life in the desert

    by goingsolo Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Salt Creek

    While you won't find deer and antelope grazing here, Salt Creek does have its one unique variety of aquatic life. The desert pupfish, which is unique to this environment, lives in the creek. Unfortunately, none were around in November though.

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    Ghost towns

    by goingsolo Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Death Valley National Park

    Several ghost towns remain in and around Death Valley. Most still contain remnant of old buildings and mining operations, which were the purpose of these towns original existence.

    Of these towns Rhyolite is one of the only ones that can be reached by a paved road. It is located just west of Beatty. Panamint City, whose ruins are part of Death Valley National Park, is accessible by a five mile hike from the ghost town of Ballarat. Leadville is located on the Titus Canyon road, which is a 4X4 path only.

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    Panamint City Historical Marker

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 30, 2010

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    This is new marker and is next to the other two markers on this route. It was not here the last time we pass through here. It is neat because they put a cooper tube to act as a telescope and point where the Panamint City mine was located in the mountain.

    It reads:
    Rich silver ore was discovered in December 1872 at the head of Surprise Canyon 12 miles northeast of here. The United States Senators for Nevada, John P. Jones and William Morris Stewart, invested in and promoted the camp which drew a peak population of 2000 to the steep, mile-high canyon. Wells Fargo refused to serve the lawless camp, and bullion was shipped out in 400-pound cubes to deter thieves, to connect his Santa Monica property with the Mines Jones build a half-mile pier and began a railroad, which reached only as far as Los Angeles. Jones and Stewart floated 15 stocks on the San Francisco mining exchange with a face value of over $61 million, on July 4, 1876the camp celebrated a new 30-stamp mill, and strings of ore cars moved at full speed. The celebration ended 20 days later when hours of heavy rain flooded the Panamint Peaks and sent a wall of water down Surprise Canyon's Main Street, wiping out cabins, stores & saloons to end the boom. One of the departing miners, Isadore Daunet, crossed the summit and discovered cottonball Borax at Furnance Creek.
    Plaque Dedicated November 9 2002
    By Yerba Buena No.1 Slim Princess, Billy Holcomb & Platrix Chapters of the Ancient and Honorable Order of E Clampus Vitus in cooperation with the Death Valley 49ers.

    Billy Holcomb Plaques No. 102

    It is located along Trona-Wildrose Road (Highway 178) off a dirt road off of Panamint Valley road west of Death Valley. Look for the Historical Markers

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    Ballart Historical Marker #2

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 30, 2010

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    The Marker Reads:

    3.5 miles east of this point lies Ballarat. Established in 1897 as a mining camp and supply center for gold and silver mines located on the western slope of the Panamint Mountains. It was named after a well known gold producting area in Australia boasting a population of nearly 500. It has Wells Fargo station, post office, school house, jail, morgue, 3 hotels, and 7 saloons. When the Ratcliff Mine suspended operations in 1905. Ballarat began to rapidly decline. After the post office closed in September of 1917 became a ghost town.

    Billy Holcomb Plaques No. 102

    It is located along Trona-Wildrose Road (Highway 178) off a dirt road off of Panamint Valley road west of Death Valley. Look for the Historical Markers

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    Big Pine-Death Valley roadtrip

    by oldtrailmaster Written May 22, 2009

    Hello there! My name is Steve Greene, and I have been a Death Valley regional enthusiast since 1955, and have driven nearly every road, dirt and pavement. Your adventure will be heightened by taking the DV/BP road. Pavement will take you just past the Scotty's Castle turn-off, and then the graded dirt road begins. It is wide and flat, and poses no problem whatsoever for a Jeep of any kind. The only concern, albeit a minor one, is the fact that there is a washboard surface to the road from people who drive too fast. Since the road is straight, many people do not adhere to the legal speed limit, although most folks I've seen on the road do keep the speed down. In a stock Jeep, the ride should be fairly nice, as the suspension is soft enough to absorb most of the bumps.

    At the northern end of the straight portion of road is Crankshaft Crossing, a quaint little sign post that is adorned with, yes, old rusty crankshafts. You may even notice an engine block or two, depending on the year. Stay to the left (west) at the junction, where the wide graded road heads up and over some small mountains, and keep your camera ready if you enjoy desert landscapes! On the way down the other side, you will travel through Hanging Rock Canyon, a very short but dramatic slice in the rock. Here for a bit, the road has some pavement, as workers from an old sulfur mine used to use the road years ago.

    Then it's westward through the Eureka Valley. The Eureka Valley Road cuts off here, and ten miles south brings an explorer to the Eureka Valley Dunes, over 689 feet tall, three miles long, and one mile wide, with a primitive campground on the north side (outhouse only). If you have the time, and like hiking great dunes, it may be worth the 20 mile roundtrip sidetrip to see the dunes, but the graded dirt road to them is also very washboarded. If you don't wish to see the dunes, just continue on westbound where the road takes off, and as you ascend up the western side of Eureka Valley, you can look back to the southeast and see the Eureka Dunes National Natural Landmark off in the distance.

    After the Eureka Valley, the road again rises and snakes through some picturesque mountains before dropping you on the descent towards Big Pine. Yes, this is a very cool roadtrip indeed! You can learn more by visiting my Death Valley websites if you wish:

    WildDeathValley.com and oldtrailmaster.wordpress.com

    Have a wonderful trip. -Steve

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    Ballarat - Ghost Town

    by Yaqui Updated Dec 29, 2008

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    In 1897 Radcliffe mining produced 15,000 tons of gold ore from 1898-1903. Ballarat was named after Australian gold camp and home of 400 people. It boasted a community of 7 saloons, 3 hotels, Wells Fargo station, post office, school, and a morgue. It lacked a Church, oops! Soon like others started to decline when the mine ended its operation. Businesses folded up and people moved on, except those hardy inidividuals who were determine to continue mining on their own or just because they called it home like die hard Frank "Shorty" Harris who remained till his death in 1934 and Charles "Seldom Seen Slim" Ferge in 1968. The evil Manson family even left their mark here with some graffiti behind while hiding out at the Barker ranch just south of here.

    There is a store here and its popular for the 4x4er's who like to use the trailer park.

    Ballarat is privately owned and the only structures left are several adobe ruins and a cemetery, which is neat to explore.

    It is located off a dirt road off of Panamint Valley road west of Death Valley Highway 178. Look for the Historical Markers

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    Charcoal kilns

    by JLBG Written Apr 25, 2005

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    Charcoal kilns

    The charcoal kilns stand in Wildrose canyon, in western Death Valley, at an elevation of 6,800 feet. They can be reached by a good dirt road where you can drive a regular car. In early April, there was still some snow remaining. When you arrive and discover the kilns, the view is stunning. What is that, is that a village ?

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    Parting of the waters

    by goingsolo Written Jan 16, 2005

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    Death Valley National Park

    Golden Canyon's light colored walls contain deposits of silt and clay which were once located at the bottom of a lake. This narrow passageway was once submerged and the area now explored as a canyon would have required scuba gear as opposed to hiking shoes. Another example of how dramatically this landscape has changed

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    Amber waves... of rock

    by goingsolo Written Jan 16, 2005

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    Death Valley National Park

    These layers of rock have been tilted upwards as a result of movement along a major fault line in the Valley, which created a large fold in the Earth. The plates beneath the Earth's surface continue to move, constantly reshaping this land and creating what appear to be waves.

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    Manly Beacon

    by goingsolo Written Jan 15, 2005

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    Death Valley National Park

    Manly Beacon is located along the Golden Canyon trail. I'm not sure how it got its name, but its one of the highest points you'll see while exploring the canyon. Much like Red Cathedral, Manly Beacon managed to elude the forces of erosion and stand tall while the canyon walls repeatedly crumble as a result of erosion.

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    Windswept

    by goingsolo Updated Dec 11, 2004

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    Death Valley National Park

    Sand in the desert is not a strange sight. But the dunes, towering as high as 120 feet, are a sight that makes people stop their cars, even for just a look. The dunes were created by windswept fragments of rock which was ground into sand and their shapes change constantly.

    Exploring the sand dunes will not be the highlight of your Death Valley experience, at least I doubt that it will be, but its something to at least see. If time permits, walking or running up and down the sand dunes is a fun form of desert aerobics. The dunes are also a popular spot to watch sunrise and sunset.

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    Closer examination

    by goingsolo Updated Dec 11, 2004

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    Death Valley National Park

    Maybe redemption has stories to tell
    Maybe forgiveness is right where you fell
    Where can you run to escape from yourself?
    Where you gonna go?
    Salvation is here.

    Switchfoot, Dare you to Move

    There's something so peaceful about driving amidst the barren landscape of the valley. You'll find no wildlife here, except for turkey vultures. There's no chance of turning the corner and spotting a cute little fawn by the side of the road, all doed eyed and Bambi-esque, prancing prettily for a throng of curious revelers.

    Instead, the road runs for hundreds of miles through this seemingly desolate wasteland. But, somehow, driving in the silent emptiness, its as if something is saying, "let it all go. Just leave it behind out here." Pretty strange thoughts, I know.

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    Colorful Canyons

    by goingsolo Updated Dec 10, 2004

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    Death Valley National Park

    Hiking in the canyons provides an oasis of color in this mostly stark region. In this particular section of Mosaic Canyon, the rock has been smoothed into marble like consistency. The rock fragments here are a patchwork of red, brown and purple hues, which is perhaps how the canyon got its name. Its a visual sensory overload, especially after driving through the stark brown valley.

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