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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It was a pretty isolated drive along the Wildrose Canyon Road, with the ultimate goal being to make it to Mahogany Flat. The road, although paved, kept climbing to higher elevations, eventually becoming steep and winding and with a lot of hairpin curves. My least favorite kind of driving. But the mountains, becoming ever closer, compelled me to drive on, curve after curve, in order to see their broad silhouettes in the not so distant horizon. But for those curves, it was mesmerizing.
For some people, hearing the call of the open road means driving as fast as the vehicle's transmission will allow down any given stretch of road. Death Valley is not a drive through destination; not for those who want to experience it. Take the gas pedal off the floor of the car and slow it down a bit. You never know when you'll want to pull over in a certain spot that just looks perfect. Even if you've been here 100 times before, there's probably something that you've missed. If you've always driven through at 80 mph, that probability is a virtual certainty.
If you look closely, you can see tracks in the ground, which were supposedly made by wagons crossing this part of the desert in the 19th century. It seems unusual that they would still be here, but that's what the sign says.
In some ways, it is the desolate areas of Death Valley that are the most beautiful. It is easy to see beauty in dazzling rock formations, golden sand dunes or snow spotted mountains rising gracefully towards the sky. By contrast, flat brown land which stretches endlessly in desolate morbidity without a hint of green doesn't sound like anything you'd drive hundreds of miles to see. But driving these long stretches of road where nothing ever grows is surprisingly peaceful, surprisingly serene, and, most surprising of all, beautiful.
Because of the cloudless sky and bright midday sunlight, the best time for taking pictures is in the early morning or late afternoon. The light is most favorable during those times and pictures will come out better.
Furnace Creek Inn and Ranch Resort Death Valley National Park
22 Reviews and 1226 Opinions If you have no trailer there are motels/inns located at Stovepipe Wells Village and two at Furnace...
Stovepipe Wells Village Death Valley National Park
17 Reviews and 611 Opinions Stayed at stovepipe wells, Death Valley in march 2012. It was amazing. After a long drive through...
Furnace Creek Campground Death Valley National Park
1 Review and 23 Opinions There are campgrounds near Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek. There are also camping areas in...