Death Valley
June 10, 2011

On Friday, May 27, we set off from Emeryville around 3:45pm to start our Memorial Day weekend trip to Death Valley. We’d only decided this just over a week before and were lucky to still find accommodation in Death Valley Nat’l Park. Or maybe luck had nothing to do with it and not too many people visit during this time; it does get rather hot in May in the desert.

That first evening we drove to Bakersfield from where we set off early the next morning, we were on the road by about 7am, to make the most of the day.

We took the 178 via Lake Isabella to Ridgecrest and onto to Trona Pinnacles, through Trona to the dirt road to Ballarat (one of the ghost towns, although Trona is just about a ghost town as well). On that dirt road Stephen notices a hissing sound coming form one of the back tires so back to Ridgecrest we went. We had a new tire put on and back to Ballarat we drove.

We entered Death Valley Nat’l Park proper around 3:30pm and did several stops before arriving at our accommodation in Furnace Creek Ranch.

The next morning was ‘7lows’ Day. We got up at 4:30am, were on the road at 5am and reached the car park at Badwater around 5:20am. For more on our hike towards the low point, go to and click on ‘North America: Badwater’.

Around 8am we were back at Furnace Creek for breakfast.

We then set off to see more of the natural wonders in the Park. We visited the ghost town of Rhyolite, Scotty’s Castle, Ubehebe Crater, The Grandstand and The Racetrack, and drove the Salina Valley 4WD road, before returning to Furnace Creek.

The next morning we had a quick look around the outdoor museum at Furnace Creek Ranch. Before leaving the Park we stopped at Mosaic Canyon and Father Crowley look out.
We continued on the 190, past Owens Lake with views of Mt Whitney, to the 395, back on the 178 past Lake Isabella before hitting the I-5 North for the drive home.

We were very lucky with the traffic and did not encounter any delays whatsoever.

Death Valley is part of the Mojave and Colorado Deserts Biosphere Reserve and is as such part of that Unesco Biosphere Reserve.

Death Valley Photos