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

Sunshine Bridge (Donaldsonville, LA)

Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans in southern Louisiana, the Sunshine Bridge spans the lower Mississippi River near the city of Donaldsonville as part of the longer Louisiana Highway 70 corridor, which connects Interstate 10 and Airline Highway (US 61) with US 90 in Morgan City. In the years following World War II, the only bridges across the lower Mississippi River in Louisiana were located in the area of the state’s two largest cities – Baton Rouge and New Orleans. Postwar agricultural and industrial development along the river in this region led to the planning of a series of infrastructure projects in southern Louisiana that were aimed at spurring this development and modernization of the Delta region. One of these projects was known as the Acadian Thruway and was developed in the 1950s as a toll road intended to connect greater New Orleans with Lafayette and points west while providing a high-speed bypass of the Baton Rouge metro area. The Thruway, which

Old River Lock & Control Structure (Lettsworth, LA)

  The Old River Control Structure (ORCS) and its connecting satellite facilities combine to form one of the most impressive flood control complexes in North America. Located along the west bank of the Mississippi River near the confluence with the Red River and Atchafalaya River nearby, this structure system was fundamentally made possible by the Flood Control Act of 1928 that was passed by the United States Congress in the aftermath of the Great Mississippi River Flood of 1927 however a second, less obvious motivation influenced the construction here. The Mississippi River’s channel has gradually elongated and meandered in the area over the centuries, creating new oxbows and sandbars that made navigation of the river challenging and time-consuming through the steamboat era of the 1800s. This treacherous area of the river known as “Turnbull’s Bend” was where the mouth of the Red River was located that the upriver end of the bend and the Atchafalaya River, then effectively an outflow

Natchez-Vidalia Bridge (Natchez, MS)

  Located about halfway between Baton Rouge and Vicksburg near the city of Natchez, the Natchez-Vidalia Bridge crosses the lower Mississippi River between southwest Mississippi and northeastern Louisiana at the city of Vidalia. This river crossing is a dual span, which creates an interesting visual effect that is atypical on the Mississippi River in general. Construction on the original bridge took place in the late 1930s in conjunction with a much larger parallel effort by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to strengthen the area’s flood protection and levee system along the Mississippi River. One of the more ambitious aspects of this plan was to relocate the city of Vidalia to a location of higher ground about one mile downriver from the original settlement. The redirection of the river through the Natchez Gorge (which necessitated the relocation of the town) and the reconstruction of the river’s levee system in the area were undertaken in the aftermath of the Great Flood of 1927, wh