Death Valley loop in March - need help

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Destinations' started by chollie, Feb 21, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. chollie
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    chollie Silver Member

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    I'm thinking of finally getting to Death Valley next month. I'll be flying in from the northwest, so ideally I would like to do a loop. I was thinking of LAS (good flight/fare availability). I'm guessing 3-5 days, including to-from drive time. I want to sightsee and I am an avid hiker, so good trails are a big big plus. LAS has the added benefit of allowing me (maybe) to extend my trip to go see Bryce. I've been going to Zion for 30+ years, but have only been to Bryce once. If I go through LAS, I might also stop by Valley of Fire again, but the trip is primarily about Death Valley and the best route/sights.
     
  2. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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  3. chollie
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    chollie Silver Member

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    Thanks! The guidebooks can be pretty overwhelming.

    Great photo, BTW! Utah?
     
  4. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Thanks! It's actually "The Wave" in North Coyote Buttes, AZ, just across the Utah border. You cross the border on the dirt road getting there.

    Also in Death Valley, you'll have to allocate an hour or so to walking on the Badwater Salt Flats. Bring water.[​IMG] And the dunes at sunset. (Too windy the days I was there, so I missed out on that.)
     
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  5. chollie
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    chollie Silver Member

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    Whoa! Just added that to my next Utah trip! I've been going to Zion for years, only been to Bryce once, mountain biked in Canyonlands on a couple trips and rode 'the' Slickrock Trail in Moab once. Been to Antelope Canyon and a couple other places. I never get tired of those fantastic southwest landscapes, especially that red rock. Escalante/Paria is also on my wishlist.
     
  6. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    The Wave access is by permit only(strictly enforced) and it's very difficult to get a hold of one. Arizona BLM runs a lottery which you have to apply for four 4 months in advance. Poke around here and somewhere on the site, you'll find the process. The North Coyote Buttes area only allows 20 people per day in - 10 by internet lottery(4 months) and 10 by ranger station lottery(day before, I believe). I was lucky in my first lottery but unlucky in the next two. I'd love to go back and poke around more liesurely. South Coyote Buttes is also by permit only(easier to get however) and is said to have some spectacular rock formations as well. It's a bit further down the very unimproved road.
     
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  7. chollie
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    chollie Silver Member

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    Thanks! As frustrating as it is when they limit the numbers, it has to be that way. I'm sure we've all seen the alternative.

    There's a great backpacking trail on the west coast of Vancouver Island. Numbers are also carefully restricted. I got my first choice of dates, was very very lucky. Sadly, it is the type of terrain that simply can't tolerate large numbers of people without being destroyed.

    BTW, since you've obviously been 'off the track' a bit in the southwest, (although it isn't exactly far off the track), have you been to Havasupai?

    Actually, I'd be interested to hear any recommendations you have for places in southwest (AZ, NV, UT especially).
     
  8. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    No, I have haven't been to Havasupai, but I'm hoping to add it one of these days(years).

    And since you seem to be as big a fan of Zion as I am, feel free to add your suggestions/photos here.[​IMG]

    Other spots I've enjoyed are the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Grand Staircase, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, and then the spots already on your list - Bryce and Escalante: Peekaboo & Spooky Slots. Like you, I just just love the red rock area. I don't think I've ever been disappointed by any of the parks. Haven't been to Cedar Breaks yet, that's on the list. The list is getting long. LOL
     
  9. chollie
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    chollie Silver Member

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    Did you take the shuttle out to the farm and hike the Narrows from the 'top' down? One of my most memorable (long) days in Zion ever!

    Think I better finish planning Death Valley and then start thinking about southwest in September. I've been away tooooo long!
     
  10. cheepneezy
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    cheepneezy Gold Member

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    Nice! Haven't done the top down hike but I've walked up the 2-2.5 miles you can do from the bottom a couple of times, one of which was last fall. Started early in the morning and the colors were fantastic as the light reflected around the canyon. Truly breath taking.[​IMG]
     
  11. hulagrrl210
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    hulagrrl210 Gold Member

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    The Southwest can be overwhelming due to all the cool stuff there is to see and there are so many ways you could probably do this trip. My husband and I did Death Valley in 2004 as part of a loop from LAX- Sequoia, Yosemite, Bodie Ghost Town, and Death Valley. Trip took 3 days. Death Valley is a lot bigger than it looks on a map, it's weird. We had a REALLY long day 800+ mile day seeing the park and getting back to Los Angeles. We've been wanting to go back since, but there's really no good way to get to it; it's kind of in the middle of nowhere. LAS would probably be the best place to start though. We've also driven US 95 from NorCal/Reno to Las Vegas several times which takes us pretty close, but we always seem to be in a rush to either get to Vegas and play or come home and sleep. If you like ghost towns definitely check out Rhyolite. The bank building, ghost casino, and the house made out of beer and whiskey bottles make it a must-see in my opinion.
     
  12. chollie
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    chollie Silver Member

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    Well, I have settled on LAS for a week (minus transit time to-from DV). I'm still working out a tentative itinerary. I'm camping, but I still like to book campsites just in case I stay out too long and don't fancy finding a spot in the dark (park rules say 2 miles from road!). So I ended up switching campsites every night for 3 nights in Furnace Creek and 4 nights in Panamint Springs. Honestly. ghost towns weren't even on the radar when I started planning this trip, but I've seen so many postive posts that I'm planning on trying to make it to Rhylite. Don't think I'll make Bodie this trip.

    As you pointed out, the place is HUGE (much bigger than I imagined before I started seriously looking into a trip). I suspect this will just be a first trip.
     

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