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Hi Desert Warrior

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 #1 
I don't know about camping in that area.  My frequent areas to camp is in Panamint valley at Ballerat ghost town camp site and Lookout ghost town in the Argus Mountains on the west side of the valley.  To get to Lookout you need 4X4 and in one spot for about 30 feet you need to go in low range.  Ballerat road is a graded hard packed road with a few washboard area.  Trucks for the Briggs gold mine use this road a lot day and night.  If you go to Ballerat don't miss the graveyard next to the camp ground and visit seldom seen slim's grave.  They say he walks the grounds around 3 AM on a moonless night.  Your AAA map of Death Valley shows the locations and how to get there.  Make sure you have a full tank of gas when you leave Big Pine.  In the National Park gas is very high.  Panamint Springs is Shell at over a dollar a gallon than what it is going for in Owens Valley.  The price goes up at Stovepipe Wells and gets higher at the Furnace Creek Chevron station.  Cheepest gas in Owens Valley is the Native American Gas station north of Independence about 4 miles.  Its 15 to 20 cents cheeper from other stations in the valley.  When going to the springs I fill up there and top off in Big Pine.
TemboTusk

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 #2 
Desert Warrior,

In my research, Furnace Creek has come up a few times about how bad it is.  Might have to adjust those plans a bit.  We don't need an established campground like Furnace Creek, it was just handy distance wise.  Any suggestions an an alternate camp site to Furnace Creek?  


Good idea about the springs for camping, don't know yet how much time we want to spend hiking the dunes.   
Hi Desert Warrior

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 #3 
I like your plans, but...  I suggest instead of camping at the dunes, go on to the springs and camp at the middle springs, known as palm springs.  To camp at Furnace Creek, I believe you have to have reservations in advance.  At least I did to camp there.  Your in a corralled camp site just big enough for your car, a tent, fire pit, and table.  The camp was crowded with rowdy people who left their trash at their site.  I for one would never return there to camp, again.  Other than that, enjoy! :-)
TemboTusk

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 #4 
dmac,

From what I've heard on other forums, as of beginning of November, the road is still rough, but with 33" tires and a modest lift, it was passable without too much trouble.   
dmac

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 #5 
You might want to check the forums about the conditions from Steel pass to the springs, had some serious water come through earlier this year and the road is not like it was if you traveled it a couple of years ago. It well could be far more time consuming and difficult if you and your vehicles are not prepared, though there has been traffic through the last month I don't think the road is back to the previous condition when you traveled it.  
TemboTusk

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 #6 
Thanks Paul,

I have been through Steel Pass  a few years ago and other than the gate keeper at Eureka it was not too bad.  Although it did take a long time to get through to the hot springs.   It is my one worry that it will be a long day to go from Eureka Dunes all the way to the Racetrack. 
paul belanger

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 #7 
Couple thoughts on this.

Both Steel Pass and the Lippincott Mine Road are difficult 4x4 journeys. Be sure you know what you're getting into. To do both in a day AND have enough time to spend at the springs seems a stretch, IMHO. I might suggest after camping at Eureka Dunes, come down Steel Pass, camp at upper or lower warm springs for a night, leave early morning for Racetrack via Lippincott journey.

You're going have a great time.

TemboTusk

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 #8 
OK, I have been looking at maps and yes the AAA Death Valley map is very good!  

Do you think the route below is too ambitious for five days.   


Day 1: leave Big Pine and drive to the Eureka Dunes and camp.
Day 2: Leave Eureka Dunes via Steel Pass, Saline Valley Road and camp at the Homestake Camp near the Race Track/Lippincott Mine.
Day 3: Leave Homestake camp via Ubehebe Crater, asphalt to Furnace Creek campground.
Day 4: Leave Furnace Creek via Badwater Road or West Side Road to the Narrows and camp at the Dumont Dunes.
Day 5: Leave Dumont Dunes via Baker, I-15 to Calico's Mule Canyon Road and camp/go home.

Total mileage from Big Pine to Calico is about 380 miles.  

Thanks!   
TemboTusk

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 #9 
Salt Peter, 

Thanks for the additional info.  Lots of Map scanning to do! 
Salt Peter

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 #10 
AAA map, Nat Geo DV map, Benchmark CA atlas.

I could post numerous books too which discuss trails and history. You can take pavement to Eureka Valley too if you choose not to venture into Saline Valley.
If you do Saline and go north to south you can stop/stay at Panamint Springs Resort which has cheap camping/lodging. They also have a great restaurant for all three meals of the day and lots of beers.

From PSR you can travel east to Stovepipe Wells and Furnace Creek or continue south through Panamint Valley and give Goler Wash and Mengel Pass a try and out to Badwater then south to the 15.

So many options.
TemboTusk

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 #11 
We will go prepared.  It is a hostile environment.  Thanks for you help! 
Hi Desert Warrior

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 #12 
Big Pine, California.  Have a fun and safe trip.  Don't forget to have more than enough water, even in the winter time.
TemboTusk

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 #13 
Thanks for some great info!  I will work it out on the maps.  It give me a starting point. 
Hi Desert Warrior

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 #14 
I suggest topping of the gas tank and getting ice at Big Pine before heading to Death Valley.  You will be on black top until you reach Saline Valley turn off, then its dirt road from then on in.  You can by pass the turn off and continue to Eureka Valley and enter Saline Valley via Steele Pass.  You will have a great view of the Eureka sand dunes.  Spend a little time soaking at the springs then head West toward the Inyo Mountains to Saline Valley Road and turn left going south.  Follow your map to the race track and the Crater.  From there your on your own to go anywhere in Death Valley.  If you have never been to Scotty's Castle, it's worth the trip to visit.  Furnace Creek has a visitor center with a very good movie about Death Valley.  On the way to Calico go through Shoshone and visit the museum.  Just out side and south of the general store is the pioneer cemetery and behind it is the ghost town of Dublin City, a must see.  Try to take the side trip to Chinese Date ranch for a date shake.  Its the best in the west.  The rest of the way from there work it out on your map.
TemboTusk

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 #15 
Thanks Hi Desert Warrior,

I am a member of AAA and will look at what they offer.  

I will be leading a group of friends and I don't know the surrounding areas of DV very well and I want to make sure I choose my routes in and out wisely while sticking to dirt trails as opposed to pavement.    There is always more than one route and I figure the experience available on this forum will be a good start! 


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