Four-Wheeling in Death Valley National Park
Maps and SUV guidebooks for four-wheel-drive and other backcountry roads (including the popular Cottonwood/Marble canyons, Racetrack, Eureka Dunes, Saratoga Springs, and Warm Springs Canyon) are offered at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. Remember: Never travel alone and be sure to pack plenty of water and snacks. Driving off established roads is strictly prohibited in the park.
Butte Valley. This 21-mile road in the southwest part of the park climbs from 200 feet below sea level to an elevation of 4,000 feet. The geological formations along the drive reveal the development of Death Valley. Trailhead on Warm Spring Canyon Rd., 50 miles south of Furnace Creek Visitor Center, Death Valley, CA, 92328.
Warm Springs Canyon. This route takes you past Warm Springs talc mine and through Butte Valley, over Mengel Pass and toward Geologists Cabin, a charming and cheery little cabin where you can spend the night (if nobody else beats you to it!). The cabin, which sits under a cottonwood tree, has a fireplace, table and chairs, and a sink. Farther up the road, the cabins at Mengel's Home and Russell Camp are also open for public use. Keep the historic cabins clean and restock any items that you use. Warm Springs Canyon Rd., off Hwy. 190/Badwater Rd., Death Valley, CA, 92328.
Death Valley SUV Tour. The 10-hour Death Valley SUV Tour departs from Las Vegas and takes you on a fully narrated whirl through Death Valley in a four-wheel-drive Jeep. Tours (from $212 per person) depart Monday and Wednesday at 7 am (parties should be minimum of four and maximum of seven people) and include free pickup from designated hotels. Bottled water and snacks are provided, and camera rentals, tripods, and film are available for an additional fee. Death Valley National Park, CA. 800/719–3768. www.deathvalleytours.net.
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