Skip to main content

2016 Fall Mountain Trip Part 4; Death Valley and Dante's View Road

After reaching California State Route 190 I took it east over Towne Pass to Death Valley National Park.  My end goal was to take Dante's View Road up to the top of the Black Mountains east of Death Valley to Dante's View.


This is Part 4 of the 2016 Fall Mountain Trip Series.  Part 3 on Trona-Wildrose Road and Panamint Valley can be found here:

2016 Fall Mountain Trip Part 3; Panamint Valley and Trona-Wildrose Road

I mentioned the significance of Towne Pass in Part 3 as it was the route the Death Valley 49ers used to escape into Panamint Valley.  Rather than following modern CA 190 the Death Valley 49ers turned away from Towne Pass on what is now Emigrant Canyon Road.  The drop from the 4,956 foot Towne Pass is massive in both directions, its almost surreal to think that land at -282 feet below sea level is not far away eastward.








Heading eastward on CA 190 I stopped at Stovepipe Wells to see the site where the Death Valley 49ers burned their wagons.





East of Stovepipe Wells I stopped at Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes.  The Mesquite Dunes have used in various Star Wars movies are about 140 feet high in places.  The source of the sand is thought to come from the Cottonwood Mountains which lie to the north.





Approaching Furnace Creek on CA 190 there is ruins of the Harmony Borax Works off the side of the highway.  Although Borax was discovered by evacuees of Panamint City in the 1870s it wasn't until 1881 when the mineral was found at the location of the Harmony Borax Works.  The Harmony Borax were built in 1882 Works and were mostly known for the Twenty-Mule teams which would all Borax to the rail depots in Mojave during the cool seasons from until 1889.










East of the Harmony Borax Works I continued on CA 190 east of Furnace Creek and out of Death Valley.  CA 190 east of Death Valley quickly begins to ascend towards Death Valley Junction.  I turned south on Furnace Creek Wash Road towards the gap between the Amargosa Range and Black Mountains on an approach towards the Dante's View overlook.  A couple miles south of CA 190 Furnace Creek wash Road crosses paths with the ghost town of Ryan.







Ryan is located 3,045 feet above sea level in the Amargosa Range.  Ryan originally opened up in 1907 at the Lila C Mine which is southeast of the present location.  By 1914 the current site was opened as "Devar" before being quickly renamed to "Ryan."  The original town site of Ryan today is known as "Old Ryan" and is also a ghost town.  Ryan was the western terminus of the Death Valley Railroad which ran east to Death Valley junction and operated from 1914 to 1931.  The Death Valley Railroad was used to haul borax from Death Valley until 1928 when operations ceased.  The hotel in Ryan was in use as for guest overflow at the Furnace Creek Ranch and Inn until the 1950s.

South of Ryan Furnace Creek Wash Road continues southeast as a dirt road towards CA 178.  Dante's View Road splits away as a paved roadway towards the 5,476 foot Dante's View in the Black Mountains.  Dante's View Road is about 5.5 miles long and has massive uphill grades and switchbacks that definitely would be a challenge in summer months with the heat of the Mojave Desert.





From Dante's View almost the entirety of Death Valley and the eastern face of the Panamint Range can be seen.  There isn't really a trail per se from Dantes View but the ridge southward is flat enough to be easily traversed for a couple miles.  I thought it was gentle enough to actually do a couple miles of trail running before I returned to CA 190 to head towards Nevada.





Badwater Basin in particular is easily observed from Dante's View.


I'm uncertain when Dante's View Road was built but I suspect that the Ryan Mine had something to do with it as it does appear on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Inyo County.

1935 Inyo County Highway

Part 5 of this series can be found here:

2016 Fall Mountain Trip Part 5; To Las Vegas via NV 159

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr

Driving the Watkins Glen Historic Road Course - New York

  Situated at the south end of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Watkins Glen is well known for wineries along Seneca Lake and waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park . But one thing that gives the town much renown is its connection to the world of auto racing. The raceway at Watkins Glen Internationa l holds a number of big races every year, such as Six Hours at the Glen and the NASCAR Cup Series . The history of auto racing at Watkins Glen starts during the 1940s when the race followed a course on local roads and also through the streets of downtown Watkins Glen. It's a course that you can follow today, preferably at a more moderate speed than the auto racers of yore raced at. Let's explore the history of the original course, how it came to by and why it is no more. Organized races through the village of Watkins Glen and surrounding roads were first proposed and started by Cameron R. Argetsinger in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war sports car