A Guide To Some Death Valley Landmarks
MESQUITE FLAT DUNES
22 MILES NW OF FURNACE CREEK ON 190.
The Dunes are beautiful and photogenic, especially at sunset – but they are much harder to hike than they look, and those big dunes are not just over the next hillock!Hike with extreme care, take plenty of water, and plan for at least two hours if you intend to get to the biggest dunes.
Running Safety: 0/10 – just don’t.
18 MILES SOUTH OF FURNACE CREEK ON BADWATER RD.
Home to the lowest point in the United States, at 282 feet below sea level. After half a mile of well-trodden pathway, the true nature of the salt pan reveals itself – brittle salt formations that perch atop scalding water. As always, bring water and a vigilant crew member! You will not be visible, so carry flares and a walkie-talkie.
Remember that heat exhaustion happens in minutes. Don’t run five miles out – you might not make it back. Allow yourself a mile if you must, to experience the heat and solitude!
Running Safety: 1/10 – you’re on your own, buddy.
HARMONY BORAX WORKS
2 MILES NORTH OF FURNACE CREEK
Borax mining was never glamorous, seldom successful, and probably didn’t make the 20-mule teams very happy.But at Harmony you can see some of the remnants of an 1883 mine and its equipment – an easy 2-mile jaunt down the street from Furnace Creek, on a paved footpath if you happen to be in the mood.
Running Safety: 9/10 – hot, but on a well-traveled and paved trail. Crew can meet you at the Harmony parking lot.
4 MILES EAST OF FURNACE CREEK ON 190.
Zabriskie Point is the bustling tourist center of Death Valley – but it’s worth the crowds for the view.Colorful rock formations leap from the ground, glowing in vibrant hues at sunrise and sunset (although they can be lost in full sun). Below is Gower Gulch, leading to Golden Canyon – a wonderful run if you can read a map properly.
Running Safety: 4/10 – Short but steep, and don’t turn an ankle on loose rock.
5 MILES S. OF FURNACE CK – BADWATER RD
This stunning 9-miler climbs approximately 1,100 feet in the first mile-and-a-half… making it a pretty tough run in 120F heat! A further 400 foot climb awaits at 5 miles or so. Spectacular views across the salt plain await you, followed by a roller-coaster through the foothills.
Take time to stop and enjoy the greens, reds and even blues that emerge when the sun is low. Note that the road is one-way and can be slow at times.
Running Safety: 7/10 – A well-supported runner who survives the climb will love this adventure.