What's new in Death Valley: the lake, sand dunes, reopened roads

Death Valley's temporary lake, fed by a powerful summer storm, has shrunk by just a few inches in the park's Badwater Basin. But as it evaporates, other parts of the national park are reopening.

In the aftermath of an August 20 storm that caused widespread flooding and forced the closure of the park, the shallow lake stretched for four miles. When Death Valley National Park reopened in mid-October, the water became a major attraction in an area where many roads and trails were still closed for repairs.

Even at the deepest level, rangers estimate the lake's depth at only 2 to 3 feet. But for visitors standing at Badwater Basin, or 5,000 feet higher at the mountaintop Dante's View, the lake's reflective properties led to striking vistas of eerie mountain reflections, especially at sunrise and sunset.

While the vistas are still remarkable, park spokeswoman Abby Wines said Friday, the lake is “probably only a few inches in size,” even at its deepest point.

There's no telling how quickly it will evaporate, Wines said.

Badwater Basin, Death Valley National Park, in October.

(Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times)

In the meantime, rangers and repair crews have reopened several roads and parts of the park.

On Nov. 1, the park reopened Mud Canyon Road and Daylight Pass, which connects the park to Nevada Highway 374 and Beatty, Nev.

On November 20, the park announced the reopening of the southeast entrance, with Badwater Road providing direct access from Shoshone to Badwater Basin.

On Thursday, the park reopened access to two remote northern areas. One of these is the Eureka Valley, which includes Eureka Dunes, the tallest sand dunes in California, rising about 650 feet above the adjacent lake bottom. The route to Eureka Dunes begins at the town of Big Pine and covers 28 miles of paved road and 21 miles of graded sand.

The other is Saline Valley, with a primitive campsite and bathtubs Hot springs in the Saline Valley. The campground and springs are approximately 35 miles from the nearest paved road and may be inaccessible in winter conditions.

Eureka Valley and Saline Valley can only be reached via Big Pine, south of Bishop along US Route 395. From Big Pine, the Big Pine-Death Valley Road is open as far as Eureka Valley, but no further. To reach Saline Valley, the only route from Big Pine is via the north pass of Saline Valley Road.

California Highway 190, the park's main east-west artery, is open throughout the park, with delays possible at multiple locations for roadwork. Badwater Road is now open for its entire length, as is Dante's View Road.

Father Crowley/Rainbow Canyon Vista Point remains closed, as do Beatty Cutoff Road, North Highway and many other paved and unpaved park roads.

The park's website also notes that while there are some wildflowers, “the park does not experience any major flower blooms.”

The park's campsites are open except for Emigrant, Wildrose, Mesquite Springs, Thorndike Primitive, Mahogany Flat Primitive and Homestake Primitive.

Travelers must have the park website for weather conditions and updates on road closures before you head there.

Related Posts

  • Travel
  • May 25, 2024
  • 1 views
  • 2 minutes Read
Friday's pre-holiday trip breaks the record for most air travelers screened at U.S. airports

ATLANTA– Ahead of Memorial Day weekend, a record was broken for the number of air travelers screened at U.S. airports, the Transportation Security Administration said Saturday. More than 2.9 million…

  • Travel
  • May 25, 2024
  • 2 views
  • 6 minutes Read
Key West, Florida, Santorini, Greece and more locations around the world known for their sunsets

There are so many places around the world where you can enjoy the beautiful view of a colorful sunset. Santorini, Greece, and Key West, Florida, are just a few places…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Missed

Russia's last missile cruiser in the Black Sea destroyed by Ukraine

  • May 25, 2024
Russia's last missile cruiser in the Black Sea destroyed by Ukraine

Supreme Court Justice Sonia “Wise Latina” Sotomayor Reveals She's “Crying” Over the Court's Conservative Rulings (VIDEO) | The Gateway expert

  • May 25, 2024
Supreme Court Justice Sonia “Wise Latina” Sotomayor Reveals She's “Crying” Over the Court's Conservative Rulings (VIDEO) |  The Gateway expert

Friday's pre-holiday trip breaks the record for most air travelers screened at U.S. airports

  • May 25, 2024
Friday's pre-holiday trip breaks the record for most air travelers screened at U.S. airports

Man United youth stun Man City in FA Cup: goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo lead Red Devils

  • May 25, 2024
Man United youth stun Man City in FA Cup: goals from Alejandro Garnacho and Kobbie Mainoo lead Red Devils

Walmart is ending its credit card partnership with Capital One, but customers can still use their cards

  • May 25, 2024
Walmart is ending its credit card partnership with Capital One, but customers can still use their cards

Jack Smith continues Trump's false claims of FBI assassination plot

  • May 25, 2024
Jack Smith continues Trump's false claims of FBI assassination plot

Key West, Florida, Santorini, Greece and more locations around the world known for their sunsets

  • May 25, 2024
Key West, Florida, Santorini, Greece and more locations around the world known for their sunsets

Entrepreneurship, reality TV and creating success

  • May 25, 2024
Entrepreneurship, reality TV and creating success

Ohio's Republican governor is helping Biden gain access to ballots

  • May 25, 2024
Ohio's Republican governor is helping Biden gain access to ballots

South Africa's four major political parties are entering the final weekend of their pre-election campaign

  • May 25, 2024
South Africa's four major political parties are entering the final weekend of their pre-election campaign

Michigan travel guide: Discover the state's top tourist stops

  • May 25, 2024
Michigan travel guide: Discover the state's top tourist stops