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A Change in Elevation; Another Camping Trip to Death Valley

Updated: Dec 27, 2022

Saturday marked another relatively early weekend morning, not for brunch or a lazy morning, but for another road trip and venture to Death Valley National Park for an overnight camping trip and plenty of exploring.

For the weekend, we had two main objectives for sightseeing and hiking undertakings; Ubehebe Crater and Mosaic Canyon.

Starting our trip, we took just short of a four-hour drive, checked in with the rangers for our park pass and headed to our first location of Ubehebe Crater. Removed from the majority of the park the long drive out to the crater was scenic and removed from any presence of a maintained park. It felt isolated and was a beautiful route before approaching the incredible sight that is Ubehebe Crater.

After a brief hiking setback of starting up the trail only to realize I forgot to switch into my hiking boots, turning around and then reclimbing the incline, we proceeded to trek along the edge of the crater. Through some short endurance testing inclines, the grandness of the crater to our left, and the vastness of horizons in the distance made this a breathtaking experience I couldn’t get enough of. Along with the surrounding cinder fields and fanglomerate and sandstone deposits, regardless of how many photos I had already taken at this point, I couldn’t stop snapping away in the hopes to capture not only the views, but the feeling of awe that the crater presented.

Looking out across the desert and imagining this setting over 2,000 years ago as a volcano was something I couldn’t fully wrap my mind around. We explored the other smaller craters nearby, hiking around Little Hebe and finally continuing around the rim of Ubehebe, hiking approximately three miles and gaining 595 feet in elevation before returning to Roxie and heading back to Furnace Creek Campground for the evening to enjoy some food, a cold beer and a bit of relaxation and a good night's sleep, in preparation for the next day. We even got to enjoy the view of a shooting star while we sat by our campfire.

The following morning brought colder weather than I fully anticipated which lead to a bit of a slower start but after some hot tea, coffee and camping meal of biscuits and gravy we packed up and drove over to Mosaic Canyon, our first stop of the day.

With each Death Valley trip we plan, we find more and more trails and canyons we want to explore, so there’s no doubt we’ll be returning it’s just a matter of finding camping space and narrowing down our list of places to explore. Through the water-polished narrow, the canyon soon opened to an expansive wash which we continued to hike until we reached a large pour-over before turning around and heading back. While the hike in had us warmed up and shedding our sweatshirts, the canyon back was headed into an icy canyon breeze that provided us and a ranger a quick cool down.

Having our two goal hikes completed, we decided to enjoy more of a scenic route the rest of the day before bringing the trip to a close with a nice drive to Zabriskie Point where we enjoyed the undulating landscape of gullies and hills and put together a tailgate lunch stop, a much-needed nutrition break after the canyon hike and lighter breakfast.

In my opinion, no Death Valley trip is complete without enjoying a nice dirt road, so our next visit was driving the Twenty Mule Team Canyon, which, despite being a dirt road was honestly a smoother drive than some roads in back home in Vegas.

Back on the road and heading to the next lookout, we were set on seeing Dante’s View, but thinking we’d already seen the grandest view at Zabriskie Point, we had no idea to expect something even more breathtaking.

Peripheral vision losing all sight of ground on either side, we made our final approach up the narrow drive to the top of Dante’s View, the last stop of our weekend journey.

There’s something to be said about pulling into a parking lot and not seeing any ground in front of you. The views did not disappoint and we were in awe overlooking the swirling white salt flats below. In addition to the stunning landscape below and mountains on the horizon, the icy wind added to the sensational experience and provided the perfect finale to our trip.

With each Death Valley trip planned we find more and more trails and canyons we want to explore, so there’s no doubt we’ll be returning it’s just a matter of finding camping space and narrowing down our list of places to explore.

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