Twenty Mule Team Canyon is a small canyon that winds its way through the badlands near Zabriskie Point. You can drive through it on a 3-mile long graded dirt road that is a relatively easy drive for anyone with an SUV.
For those willing to sacrifice the shocks on their vehicle, or those willing to disregard the warnings of their rental car company, this short drive is worth the effort. I lack an affinity for driving on gravel, but I've found my rental car company to be particularly forgiving of minor and not so minor transgressions, so this decision was a no brainer for me.
The 3 mile gravel road seems to take forever to traverse, or, perhaps that was just my fear of accelerating, lest I lose my shock absorbers or my lunch in their entirety. But, all discomfort aside, the views along this spur road are some of Death Valley's finest. The barren badlands stretch endlessly and their lack of color is surprisingly beautiful.
Close to Zabriskie Point, on the way to Dante's View is the Twenty Mule Team Canyon. A one-way unpaved 2.9 miles road runs through the canyon, allowing one to enjoy the undulating muddy hills visible from Zabriskie Point. These hills where once high in borax which was mined in the early 20C.
A track that goes paralell with the main road, with amazing rock formations, soft and smooth. Not for anything larger than a pickup. The road is in good condition but it has some sharp turns where large cars will have problems.
We took the car through the unpaved, one way track, that is the twenty Mule Team Canyon.
Things were hotting up, temperature wise, and so we didn't venture too far from the car.
A 4.5 mile dirt road that meanders around picturesque, whitish mudhills. One of the areas where the mule teams hauled borax from 1882 to 1890.