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Death Valley: Scotty’s Castle and Eureka Dunes

«Badwater, Artists Palette, Zabriskie Point The Racetrack and Hunter Mountain»

21 April 2006

On Friday (21 April) we woke early and left the Furnace Creek Inn to drive north. The weather was warm (in the 90’s F / 30’s C). In the distance we could see the Stovepipe Wells Sand Dunes. After about one hour and 65 miles of paved road driving, we reached Scotty’s Castle in the northeast corner of the park. Located at 3,000 feet (914 meters), this home was built in the 1920’s by a weathly couple but claimed as his own by their good friend “Death Valley Scotty”. We took a ranger-led living history tour of the interior of the house. The one hour talk was very interesting and informative.

Driving back to the main portion of the park, we joined an unpaved road and drove north to Crankshaft Junction, known for people depositing namesake items around the sign. Here the road turns west and becomes Big Pine Road, so the driving conditions improved from the initial bumpy ride to the junction. After passing though Hanging Rock Canyon, we turned left down an uneven unpaved road towards Eureka Dunes.

It was slow going to the dunes, which can be seen in the distance as we traveled down the road. Once we arrived there, we looked for a suitable place to park our 4×4 vehicle and camp. There were a few other people there, but it was mostly uncrowded so fairly easy to find a nice place with views of the dunes. After relaxing and having a late lunch, the afternoon was spent exploring the dunes which are up to 700 feet high. The view from the top was spectacular. After a nice dinner. made with our propane stove, we slept well in the back of our vehicle.

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