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I was thinking of planning a trip to death valley this fall for me and my friends and had 2 questions for so cal people. What do I need to do to my rig to cope with the weather and conditions, and are there any good trails in death valley or the surrounding area. I had trouble finding much online. If anyone knows where to look online that would also be useful.
 

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There' a crapload to do there. Just depends on what you have in mind.

Not much hardcore, especially in the park, but there is some fun stuff in the Panamint Valley. There is alot of history in the region so if that interests you give me an idea of what you want to see and I can point you in the right direction.

The weather in the fall/winter/spring is eally no different than the rest of the socal deserts. Just be sure you are prepared to cover the breakdown basics. Cel service is spotty at best and analog (Verizon offers analog service but you need a compatible phone). Service/parts can be up to 100 miles away depending on where you are. There are a few websites and forums for the area and more books than you can read. Roger Mitchell has the best one to date for vehicle touring, "Death Valley SUV Trails".

Give me some ideas on what you want and how long you want to stay...

kris.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
thanx, are there any drive in camp grounds with good 4 wheeling access. Also history wise I like just about everything, whats the most interesting/scenic.
 

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yeah, panamint valley side is my favorite area. check out ballarat, goler cyn and on into butte valley, then all the way into death valley. great trip.

wildrose cyn, charcoal kilns, mohagany campground another good trip.

saline valley another cool area to explore.

just to name a few:D
 

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What Rockr suggested on the Panamint side is a good start. There is also the Pleasant Canyon/South Park loop on that side.

Get yourself the Mitchell book. That will cover most of the Death, Panamint, Saline, and Eureka valleys. For maps, I use the "Tom Harrison" Death Valley map, and the BLM's desert access guides for "Darwin Hills (Panamint Valley) and Saline Valley...

http://www.tomharrisonmaps.com/
http://plicmapcenter.org/view.php?typ=South&st=CA&mcid=darwinhills

Both of those maps and the book (and others) are available in the park, at Jawbone Station, and many sporting goods stores with a good map/book section.

The Mitchell book is good for both finding the roads and geologic and human historys of the areas.

For campgrounds, there are the regulars around Furnace Creek and Stovepipe Wells in DVNP, and on the Panamint side there are the campgrounds up Wildrose Canyon, Ballarat, and Panamint Springs Resort. PSR is my first choice, but also the most expensive. They have sites from full hookup to tent only, a restaurant and bar for when you dont want to cook, a gas station for when your junk gets thirsty (I drive a v8), showers, and motel rooms for when you've just had enough...

More questions ?

kris.
 

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I'm starting to put thought to a trip for Panamint area in the month of November. I'd like to take my time and poke around as most trips there have been part of an organized run (PVD) or setup for that event. So I have seen the same trails over and over. I would very much like to spend some time exploring and staying in some of the cabins, or camping off the side of the trails.

-Wayne
 

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Hi Wayne.
Ive been doing PVD for years, but I dont do their runs. I do better in smaller groups. I agree that its too hard to see stuff and poke around when the trip leaders are trying to get 50 vehicles thru a run and back to camp in time for dinner.

Support C4W. Plan on PVD weekend. Pay yer fee, buy raffle tickets, eat at Chef Andy's. Do your own runs !

Id be happy to lead a tour or two of the area that weekend. Ill be arriving on Thursday.


kris.
 

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Great weather this last weekend!! September is usually early in the season and still too warm for my tastes. With this early storm, we had 70-75 degree temps in Panamint Valley both days. The Saturday night Pot Luck almost got rained out. We had the fire going, then we all had to take cover. It went from a heavy to light sprinkle for a few hours. By 9pm it started clearing up and I ended up sleeping under a magnificent clear sky. Every time I woke up I, I was able to see some shooting stars. Sunday was perfect with the cleanest air!! Great weekend.

See a bunch of you at PVD in Nov.

Wayne, let me know what you are planning. I am always seeing roads that I never have time to travel on. I'll at least give you some ideas to check out.

Steve
 

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Steve.
I hope you guys spent some time clearing brush in Pleasant.

I saw some pics from a few weeks ago. Worst Ive seen it in years.

kris.
 

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I would say any place in death valley is going to be good time, but as for more difficult trails they would be on the paniment side. My fav's are defence mine, it has a few good water falls and isham canyon, short but a good trail. I missed the pre run but i will be out at PVD.
 

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I was thinking of planning a trip to death valley this fall for me and my friends and had 2 questions for so cal people. What do I need to do to my rig to cope with the weather and conditions, and are there any good trails in death valley or the surrounding area. I had trouble finding much online. If anyone knows where to look online that would also be useful.
For good rock crawling close to SoCal try going to Johnson Valley. Panamint is over rated and it's way too HOT.:flipoff2:
 

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Hey Freq.
What ? Ya dont wanna let the big secret out ? :p


kris.
 

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Steve.
I hope you guys spent some time clearing brush in Pleasant.

I saw some pics from a few weeks ago. Worst Ive seen it in years.

kris.
Yeah, it's way overgrown before Claire's Camp. It's mostly soft fresh growth with only a few real branches. I believe the Gear Grinders are going to be doing a prerun soon. If they don't get it cleared up, I'll be bringing my tools up and working on it the Friday of PVD.

I'm leading the South Park to Pleasant run on Saturday and I wouldn't want to scratch my rig :flipoff2:

SG
 

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Wayne, let me know what you are planning. I am always seeing roads that I never have time to travel on. I'll at least give you some ideas to check out.
I'd like to take my time and poke around the hills and such. Top of the list is exploring that mine site you and I poked around in a few years back. I hear rumor that the road up is no longer drivable, so probably a big walk to get back up there. But I'd love to get into some of those tunnels and see how big they are. You don't often get to poke around a recent mine that left so much equipment behind. Then it would be great to score one of the cabins in the area for the night. I spotted some interesting trails on Google Earth that looked interesting, but no idea if they are closed routes. One of them appeared to come from an area near the Geologist's Cabin and ended up in the mountains above the mining operation near Ballarat. Looked like an interesting road if it is open.

I'd also like to poke around Cerro Gordo (sp?) some more. There appears to be many areas to explore there too.

I guess I need to visit Darwin Falls one of these days. I'm told the old Darwin road is pretty nasty trail these days. I hear rumors that it is very technical in spots and might give Isham a run as a tough trail. I have only ever seen the start of that trail, so well worth checking out. (A Darwin resident was telling me of the conditions of the trail, and he wheels at the Hammers some, so a reliable source.)

-Wayne
 

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Wayne,

If you go up Pleasant Canyon, there is a road on the right that goes to the World Beater Mine. I see mines that have no access (roads, trails, cables), so that means they must have shaft connection to the tunnel system. This is a mine that is active on and off, so I don't even know if you can get to any of the openings.

That road you are talking about, Coyote Canyon, I though was accessed from lower down on the Death Valley side. Not sure if you can get there from Striped Butte Valley. FYI the Briggs Mine is not digging anymore, they are still working, "restoring" the mine area. They will probably be gone completely in a few years.

You just described 2 weeks worth of exploring. Good luck on that!!
 
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