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[Request for feedback]: Death valley over thanksgiving

[Request for feedback]: Death valley over thanksgiving

Nov 27th, 2019, 04:55 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 313
[Request for feedback]: Death valley over thanksgiving

Hi Everyone:
We're planning to visit death valley for 2 days over the thanksgiving break (which starts today!). Apologies for the late posting on this.

About us:
  • Family of three: My daughter (9), wife and myself (both in our early 40's).
  • Driving from SF bay area and back.
  • Vegetarians (no eggs for my wife).
  • Love photography and new experiences.
  • We have a large car (Honda Pilot) but its a 2WD.
Currently planned itinerary is as follows
  • November 27: Drive from SF to Bakersfield. Spend the night in Bakersfield.
  • November 28:
    • Breakfast in Bakersfield and leave in the morning at 8:30 AM or 9 AM. (Pack lunch)
    • Drive to Charcoal Kilns and stop by the Garlock ghost town on the way.
    • Charcoal Kilns in the afternoon
    • Drive to Oasis and check in to hotel.
    • Evening: Artists drive.
  • November 29:
    • Early morning: Drive to Dante's view and take some pictures
    • Visit Zabriske point n the way back.
    • Morning/Mid-morning: Devils golf course
    • Afternoon to evening: Mustard canyon, Devils cornfield, Salt flats and Mesquite sand dunes
    • Night: Photography (hoping to shoot the milky way)
  • November 30:
    • Check out of hotel
    • Potential: Racetrack playa and Uhebebe crater (skip?)
    • Potential: Horseback ride in the AM.
    • Drive to bakersfield
    • Overnight in Bakersfield
  • December 1:
    • Drive back to SF
    • Stop by Bravo farms in Kettleman city on the way.
I'd love some feedback on
  • The overall itinerary and plan. Is it too aggressive?
  • Are there places we're missing that are a must-see?
  • For the places we're visiting, are there good hikes or must-do things?
  • We wanted to go to Uhebebe crater and racetrack playa, but the more I research, I've learned the drive is hard.
  • We were thinking of doing a horseback ride on Saturday morning, if the racetrack playa plan is scrapped. Thoughts on this? What else can we do on Saturday before driving back to Bakersfield?
  • I know food options are limited so we'll make do with whatever is available. Any suggestions are most welcome.
Thank you!
(apologies for posting this so late, I just got back from a long business trip so finally planning all of this).
rahulm is offline  
Nov 27th, 2019, 08:57 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 66,052
I'd forget the whole thing - sorry there are winter storm warnings for the entire region Wed - Friday morning. Heavy snow above 2500 feet and 50-60 mph winds in the valley itself.
janisj is online now  
Nov 27th, 2019, 09:05 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,021
It's Thanksgiving weekend! Worst travel weekend of the year...

Have you checked the weather forecast and highway conditions? The drive to DV and back to SF will be a beast, and parts of DV are under a winter storm warning through Friday afternoon. It will likely be too cloudy to see the Milky Way.

Be very alert to flash flood warnings.


Jean is offline  
Nov 27th, 2019, 09:14 AM
Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 9,167
You'll be lucky to get where you want to go let alone be able to do what you want to do. This may be a good reminder to check forecasts in advance in future as this storm & the next one beginning Saturday, have been anticipated for a while now.
MmePerdu is online now  
Nov 27th, 2019, 09:39 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 5,788
Nope, for weather reasons alone. Please check the National Weather Service, and the highway driving conditions for I5. This is not predicted to be a safe driving weekend.

Food options should be the least of your concerns.

Last edited by socaltraveler; Nov 27th, 2019 at 09:41 AM.
socaltraveler is online now  
Nov 27th, 2019, 09:54 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 9,489
Weather and traffic are terrible. It took my DH 5 hours to drive from Healdsburg to Sacramento yesterday afternoon. Usually a 3 hour drive.
MichelleY is offline  
Nov 27th, 2019, 01:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 20,021
I'm guessing the OP departed SF before the first reply. It will be interesting to see if we hear back from them.
Jean is offline  
Nov 27th, 2019, 03:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,318
In the odd chance that they check in, it is forecast to rain in Death Valley Friday. So maybe delay your outbound trip by a day and check the website for DV for alerts. Things may be closed by Saturday.
mlgb is offline  
Nov 27th, 2019, 05:19 PM
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,997
5pm news here in LA was showing it snowing through the Grapevine
jamie99 is offline  
Nov 28th, 2019, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,101
I hope you stay safe.

This huge, cold, windy, snowy/rainy/sleety storm did not spring up out of nowhere. We have been warned about it for a week.
Barbara is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10,324
Originally Posted by jamie99 View Post
5pm news here in LA was showing it snowing through the Grapevine
We went over the grapevine Wed about 3 PM. 42* in Gorman. No problems. The way from Bakersfield to DV is over the Tehatchappi Pass to Barstow and Baker.
I'll be hoping for a trip report soon.
tomfuller is offline  
Nov 30th, 2019, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Jan 2005
Posts: 18,318
From the Death Valley Park site updated on 11/28/19

Dantes View Road: CLOSED at gate just beyond junction with Greenwater Valley due to snow. It will reopen when snow melts.

Wildrose Area: Lower Wildrose Road, Upper Wildrose Road, and Emmigrant Canyon Road are CLOSED due to snow. Lower Wildrose Road and Emigrant Canyon Road will reopen when the snow melts. Upper Wildrose Road (from just above Charcoal Kilns to Mahogany Flat Campground) will likely be closed all winter due to snow.

Expect snow and ice on any road above 3,000 feet. Expect the possibility of flood conditions on any park road. Don't drive through running water. Conditions are changing quickly. Stay safe.

Apparently there were a lot of snowmen in the Antelope Valley
mlgb is offline  
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