Unforgettable Stops On A Death Valley Road Trip

Death Valley, perhaps the scariest place name of anywhere in the US, and one of the most beautiful landscapes in the south-west is an excellent destination for an epic road trip. The region, including the National Park, contains some of the most stunning features you’re likely to see anywhere in the country. Here’s where to stop off on your travels.

Go Past The Ubehebe Crater

The Ubehebe crater wasn’t caused by an asteroid impact (even though it looks like it was). Instead, it’s the result of volcanic activity in the area. Situated in the Death Valley National Park in California, the crater is more than half a mile wide and just over 5,000 years old. Don’t worry, it’s dormant today, but you can still imagine the power of the explosion that created it.

There are three trails near to the site. One circumnavigates the crater. Another leads off to Little Hebe, and the other one leads down right into the center.

Explore The Eureka Mine

Old mines scatter the Death Valley landscape, thanks to the rich and accessible mineral deposits found throughout the region. Prospectors flocked here during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in pursuit of precious metals, iron, copper, borax, and flint. Today, visitors can take a trip to Eureka mine and step back in time to see what life was like for those early pioneers.

Father Crowley Vista Point

Father Crowley Vista Point is a viewpoint more than 4,000 feet in elevation, accessed from HWY 190. But it’s also off the beaten track, so you’ll need to do your research according to Telle Tire. Before you attempt to reach this vantage point, check that your vehicle, including tires, is in good condition. If you do make it, you’ll enjoy some of the most stunning views over Death Valley, including the beautiful mountains in the distance, and the dunes that litter the valley floor.

The Charcoal Kiln Road

Wikimedia Commons

Back in 1877, the Modoc Consolidated mining company realized that it needed somewhere to produce a particular type of charcoal made from juniper for the local silver mine. Without facilities nearby, it decided to build its own. The result is nothing short of spectacular. The Charcoal Kiln road is nothing like you expect. It’s a series of round brick kilns, all arranged in a row and about 25 feet high. Many consider them to be the best-preserved examples of charcoal kilns in the West.

Wildrose Canyon

Flickr by Ken Lund

If you’re a film buff, you’ll love the Wildrose Canyon and nearby Mesquite dunes. George Lucas used the latter site as the set for the famous planet Tatooine, a desert world, in the film Star Wars. The Wildrose Canyon is slightly less well known, but equally stunning. Here, in the springtime, you can find beautiful desert flowers providing the perfect backdrop for an overnight camp.

There are, of course, many other places in and around Death Valley to explore, notably the Badwater Basin and Zabriskie Point, but these ideas should get you started.

About the Author

Julie Henning
Julie Henning is a freelance writer and journalist based out of Eugene, Oregon. She is a member of the Society of American Travel Writers and owner of the family-travel website RoadTripsForFamilies.com. She is a recent past member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association and the Association for Great Lakes Outdoor Writers. Julie is the Oregon Coast destination specialist for Bindu Media, an itinerary-focused website launching in Spring 2016 and featuring the work of 200+ professional, indie travel writers. Julie has been published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the Wisconsin State Journal, The Daily Journal (Kankakee, Illinois), the Rochester Post Bulletin, Wisconsin Natural Resources (DNR) Magazine, Sustainable Chicago Magazine, Group Tour Magazine, Student Group Tour Magazine, Silent Sports Magazine, Intercom Magazine, Roadtrippers.com, and FTF Geocacher Magazine. Julie has appeared on Wisconsin Public Radio, Ohio Public Radio, and KCBX FM Central Coast Radio and is an affiliate producer with the Journeys of Discovery with Tom Wilmer, a National Public Radio travel podcast. She has blogged for TravelWisconsin.com, Travel Oregon, and VISIT Milwaukee. Julie travels with her three kids and black lab as much as possible and lives by the motto, "Not all who wander are lost." Check out some of her best work at www.juliehenning.com.