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Old 10-03-2006, 11:10 AM   #1
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Death Valley questions

For those of you who know Death Valley....

Which campground do you recomend? Boondocking is fine but I will need to run a Honda 1000 generater to recharge batteries. This is for Thanksgiving weekend. Water at the campsite or nearby would be nice.
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Old 10-03-2006, 11:52 AM   #2
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Go to Stovepipe Wells or Texas Springs (upper section). You can run generators there (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.).
No water hookups but there are a few places where there is a hose bib you could hook to with a long enough hose. But I don't think you are supposed to just hook up and stay hooked up.
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:22 PM   #3
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Great info Buttercup. Thanks. I don't need to hook up just to refill if needed.
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Old 10-03-2006, 02:39 PM   #4
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My personal favorite for camping in an RV is Furnace Creek. No hookups, but lots of trees. Reservations are possible, but probably now taken because of the holiday. Sunset is a giant parking lot, also no hookups. The upper part of Sunset is nice, named Texas Springs, I think.

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Old 10-03-2006, 06:31 PM   #5
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Stovepipe Wells has a limited number of hook up spots. Thanksgiving weekend is probably booked up. Sunset campground across the road from Furnace Creek Ranch and is a big parking lot. They have flush toilets and hose bibs. We dry camp there when we 4 wheel and use the showers at the pool across the road. Generators are allowed with night time restrictions. Texas Springs is behind Sunset but do not allow generators.

Mesquite is at the north end by Scotty's Castle. It's a bit cooler up there also.

All depends on what part of the valley you want to tour.

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Old 10-26-2006, 12:19 PM   #6
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Milo,

Here is a link to a PDF (6.5Mb) file of the official NPS DeathValley map. Shows the locations of all campsites, dump stations etc.
http://www.nps.gov/carto/PDF/DEVAmap1.pdf

Furnace Creek is nice with the trees but you will need reservations. You can try at this link but may be out of luck this late as Dave said.
http://reservations.nps.gov/parklist.cfm

I'v stayed at Texas Spring before, 1st come 1st served, and it was nice....better than Sunset. Here is a photo of Texas Spring camp and another photo showing Sunset with Furnace creek in the background(where the trees are). These 2 photos were taken from the same location.
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Old 10-26-2006, 06:11 PM   #7
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Slowolf, Yep Furnace creek is full up. We're goin anyway. Thank you.
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Old 10-27-2006, 02:43 AM   #8
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We rented a Scotsman travel trailer and camped there for our honeymoon. It was February, 1969. It rained.....and rained......I know.... we 'honeymooned' there then went to Disneyland.
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Old 10-27-2006, 09:36 AM   #9
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Also heading to DV

Quote:
Originally Posted by Goin camping
For those of you who know Death Valley....

Which campground do you recomend? Boondocking is fine but I will need to run a Honda 1000 generater to recharge batteries. This is for Thanksgiving weekend. Water at the campsite or nearby would be nice.
We are heading to DV for Thanksgiving as well - although because of the travel distance and school schedules, we will arrive at Furnace Creek on November 18th and depart on the 21st. None the less, we will celebrate Thanksgiving at DV, although in truth we will probably be in Santa Fe on Thanksgiving Day (heading east).

We have never been to DV so this will be a first for us. We are definitely psyched! While the time there will be WAY too short, it will be a great opportunity none the less.

I might add that originally our 17 year old daughter was flying to Hawaii with the high school band (all of her friends) for this holiday. Due to medical reasons, she could not make that trip, so we offered her the chance to drive 3,000 miles with her brother and family and go to Death Valley instead. Needless to say, she is REALLY excited about this trip (not). Robin Williams and RV has nothing on us!
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Old 10-27-2006, 10:54 AM   #10
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I would highly recommend Panamint Springs Resort. Its in the Panamint Valley which is west of DV but still inside the park. You would have basically the enitre valley to yourself. I mean you do not see anybody in any direction you look. Its truely awesome. The resort is so isolated that it makes its own electricity and has no wire phone. They have some special wireless phone with a huge antenna. They do have full hook-ups, which is truely amazing. Here is the website http://www.deathvalley.com/reserve/reserve.shtml
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Old 02-04-2008, 04:19 PM   #11
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Panamint sounds great. My partner was freaking out after the last week of continual rain, but rallied when we discussed taking the AS to the desert for a week in January next year. I've had several great trips to Joshua Tree in January, without trailer, and am curious to find out more about camping in Death Valley or the surrounding area.

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Old 02-05-2008, 08:23 AM   #12
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I'll be heading to DV in early April, but staying in Beatty for a photo workshop. Last year stayed the same time of year in Furnace Creek and was plenty of space. Sunset was closed by then because traffic starts to decline and there are fewer visitors.

The NPS has a "resident photographer" (he's a volunteer) and his one or two hour talk and tour at the sand dunes was good. You'll learn a lot. Check at park HQ for times and schedule.

Still thinking about getting an Airstream. Anybody want to buy a 15-year old HRC Navigator?

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Old 02-05-2008, 10:56 AM   #13
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Don't miss Darwin and other sites

The area between Owens Lake and Panamint is also fascinating. Darwin, a near ghost town (maybe 40 residents) is an interesting place worth a couple hours (at least). There's a 1947 model Airstream (about 18') and another more recent vintage Airstream in town. It's also one of the locations where cave homes were carved into the clay. Many of the current residents live in earth-protected homes, some of which are quite attractive. If you've ever been there in the summer you appreciate why they are underground--hot hot hot.

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The "dry" stream bed to the east of Darwin contains the Darwin Falls, a stream that emerges from underground to pass over several bedrock falls. The dirt road is mostly passable by car, but no guarantees. It's especially "interesting" up on the side of the mountain from point A to point B. My last time there was 6 years ago, but back then there were historic campsites in the sandy river bottom. I think the bottoms are always dry, exept for flash floods. You may find the goldfish pond still exists and full of fish, near foundation ruins from the old mining days.

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If you're game, the "Perfect Campsite" at the top of Grapevine Canyon will take you by surprise. It's just above 6,000 feet, so relatively cool even in summer and the view down and across the Panamint Valley is stunning. The road used to be maintained and accessible by car, but I'd still recommend a shovel in case of small local washouts. This "campsite" is one of those historic campgrounds inside the Park that the rules allow for continued camping, but the rangers don't like this fact. If you come in from Olancha and turn north off of state road 190, the dirt road doesn't seem to climb steeply anywhere along its length.

The Grapevine Canyon road is another story. The Park Service decided to stop maintaining this Saline Valley access a few years ago and I don't know what the current status is. I actually got my Caravel into the Saline via this road--only broke one wheel and cracked the battery (it wasn't tied down adequately). You can get into the Saline Valley from the north (from Big Pine), but it can be a maddening washboard. It might be worth it--I believe the clothing optional hot springs are still maintained by a loose collection of volunteers. You might even find a pilot or two whose landed at Chicken Strip nearby.

One of the fascinating features in the Saline is the old cable bucket system that carried salt/minerals/silver over the ridge to the west and into the Owens Valley The salt then went by steamship (!) across the Owens Lake, then by mule train down to LA. Some of the cable and cable towers are still up and a few buckets can be seen hanging around the crest and down the west side.

The Owens River is slowly being recovered after many years of lawsuits against LA and the city's rapacious "theft" of water early in the 1900s. If you've got a kayak, it would be worth a look.

And I never miss taking a look at the deep space antennas north of Big Pine and the bristlecones in the White Mountains east of Big Pine.

OK, while I'm at it, I can't fail to mention the Alabama Hills near Lone Pine, where lots of 50s westerns were filmed and Cero Gordo, an old mine/ghost town that is accessible from Keeler on the east side of the Owens Lake.

I don't recommend July and August, but spring and fall are wonderful here.

Zep
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Old 02-05-2008, 11:06 AM   #14
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Dave,

Thanks for the info.

Get an Airstream and be prepared to have a constant urge to leave home and see new places and things.

The Airstream is also a rolling introduction to people so you'll meet lots of folks.
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