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Old 03-30-2013, 05:23 PM   #1
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Thumbs up Visit to Death Valley, Beatty and Rhyolite ghost town.

After enjoying Las Vegas and especially Valley of Fire State Park it was time to head over to Southern Nevadaís other major attraction Death Valley National Park. There are two ways to go when RVing to Death Valley. You can choose to stay down in the valley at one of the campgrounds or stay up out of the park in one of the surrounding communities. We choose to stay in a little town called Beatty (pronounced BayDee) about 8 miles outside of the parks eastern entrance. We decided on Beatty for a few reasons. It was high enough at 3300 feet that it would have pleasant temperatures in the 70ís versus Death Valleyís 90ís during the day. Also it was close to a neat little ghost town called Rhyolite and had a well reviewed full hook up RV Park for $150 a week. The negative is it takes about 45 minutes of driving to get to the main sections of Death Valley NP.


Beatty RV Park

The Beatty RV Park is basically a gravel parking lot with full hookups. This is not a destination park but rather a nice place to park the rig while exploring Death Valley National Park. It is a very clean and well maintained little park with nice new electrical pedestals, friendly owners, pull-thrus, and on-site propane. The park does have some trees which attracts hundreds of small black birds and doves which create an amusing and interesting chorus of calls. There is also some BLM land next door to walk the dog or go for a desert hike.



Rhyolite Ghost Town

Around 4 miles west of Beatty is an interesting place to stop and have a walk around. The Rhyolite Ghost Town has a dozen or so buildings to take a look at and an outdoor sculpture park. We arrived an hour or so before sunset as the light was fading and an almost full moon a rising. Tucked in among the surrounding hills with a view of the nearby valley it was a little chilling walking around the dead quiet ghost town imagining life there 100 years ago.



Ghost Sculpture, Rhyolite, Nevada
Death Valley National Park

Ahh, the main attraction! Driving into Death Valley your stuck by a sense of grandeur and desolation. The bottom of the valley is covered with either sand, stone or white salts and is surrounded by rocky mountains. The place is seemingly devoid of life or anything interesting. It is not until you get a little closer that things begin to appear. Small plants and shrubs clinging to life, beautiful colored rock outcroppings, delicate and interestingly patterned salt deposits, and here and there patches of greenery where underground springs surface and life explodes.


First place we had to check out was Badwater Basin home to the lowest elevation in North America at 282 feet below sea level and an ever-changing salt flat. There is a small spring fed pool of water that gives the place itís name. Due to the surrounding salt flats the water is undrinkable. The place does make for an interesting photo-op and Anne and I walked out on to the salt flats. Itís amazing how dry and hot it was, you could feel your bodies moisture being sucked out of you. It was only around 85-90 degrees, I canít even fathom what it would be like in summer at 120 degrees or more.


Next we visited a place in the park called the Devils Golf Course. It is another mineralized salt area but has dried mud formations of a foot or two high with delicate salt crystals embedded in them. Anne spent a good hour hunkered down taking photos of the fascinating landscape.



Unfortunately for us most of the week we were visiting the weather was cloudy and very hazy so it was hard to get any great photos from some of the famous overlooks at Zabriskie Point and Dantes View but we did have one spectacular day where the sun shone and the temps were reasonable at around 85 degrees. We drove through a section of the park called Artists Drive home to a multicolored badlands environment. It is amazing the varied hues of green, purple, oranges, reds, etc. and the way the water and wind has eroded the rock and sandstone.


Finally we spent the last evening watching the sunset at Mesquite Dunes, an area of the park where grayish-brown sand dunes pile up and small Mesquite Trees sprout up around them. The Mesquite trees were in full bloom covered with small yellow flowers and buzzing bees. We walked about a mile out into the dunes and sat back and watched the sunset. The air was warm, silence greeted our ears, beauty and pure nature surrounded us and life was good.


Exploring Death Valley National Park was an interesting experience but itís huge! Itís the largest national park south of Alaska so be ready to drive a bunch when visiting. Sometimes it can take an hour to drive from one attraction to another. Make sure your vehicle is in really good condition mechanically to handle the heat and elevation changes and full of fuel. Bring lots of H2O, hat and sunglasses and extra food.


See my blog post for more photos form our visit


Thanks Ray
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Old 03-30-2013, 05:39 PM   #2
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That was a great write-up and posting Ray! Thank you.......
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:16 PM   #3
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Great pictures & information- we were there in February. Stayed at Furnace Creek Campground inside the park. Lots of area to cover. Scottie's Castle was very interesting to us.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:19 PM   #4
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Thanks, never made it to Scotties Castle, like you say a lot of ground to cover there. Maybe next time.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:25 PM   #5
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Went from furnace creek to the castle then We drove east from the Castle then South to Beatty then back into the park. With the castle & basement tour took all day.
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:29 PM   #6
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Did CA go bankrupt and sell it? Last time I looked, Death Valley was in Calif.

" Southern Nevadaís other major attraction Death Valley National Park."

Nice report, Scotty's Castle is a treet!
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgvtexan View Post
Did CA go bankrupt and sell it? Last time I looked, Death Valley was in Calif.

" Southern Nevada’s other major attraction Death Valley National Park."
Yes, your right the bulk of the park is in California.
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Old 03-31-2013, 12:16 AM   #8
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The back country gets really interesting - South Park, striped butte, telescope peak, eureka valley, saline valley, grapevine canyon, titus canyon, skidoo..........
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:14 AM   #9
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I wanted to see those sliding rocks. The way I saw that you needed to travel
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Old 03-31-2013, 08:17 AM   #10
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I wanted to see those sliding rocks. The way I saw it you had to travel 25 mile one way by 4x4 is that correct and has anyone made that trip into the back country.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:28 AM   #11
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The Racetrack looks really cool but the 25 miles each way on rough gravel road made me decide against it. My dually truck is a nightmare on washboard. The light 8 foot box bounces like crazy. Next time we visit I think we should rent a Jeep for a few days and tour some of the back country, sounds great.
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:40 AM   #12
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About the way I saw it. Maybe next time I'm out there (couple yr). I'll be towing a 4 x 4
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Old 03-31-2013, 09:58 PM   #13
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Death Valley is a huge park and when you have some sort if 4 wheel drive it makes even bigger ! So many things to see ,do and explore. We've done the lower 1/2 in our Jeep and need to go back to see the northern half.
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Old 03-31-2013, 10:37 PM   #14
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Just gotta remember to be prepared for extremes, know haw to navigate, and let someone know where you are going - and then STICK TO THE PLAN.

There's duck hunting season, deer hunting season, and in July "Dead European Hunting Season". They come out to see Death Valley, decide to walk from badwater to the base of Telescope Peak when it's 115 out......

In 09 a german family was found after 13 years!
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