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 232

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 232 in Ventura County. CA 232 is an approximately 4 miles State Highway aligned on Vineland Avenye which begins near Saticoy at CA 118 and traverses southwest to US Route 101 in Oxnard.  The alignment of CA 232 was first adopted into the State Highway System in 1933 as Legislative Route Number 154 according to CAhighways.org. CAhighways.org on LRN 154 As originally defined LRN 154 was aligned from LRN 9 (future CA 118) southwest to LRN 2/US 101 in El Rio.  This configuration of LRN 154 between CA 118/LRN 9 and US 101/LRN 2 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Ventura County. 1935 Ventura County Highway Map According to CAhighways.org the route of LRN 154 was extended west from US 101/LRN 2 to US 101A/LRN 60 in 1951.  Unfortunately State Highway Maps do not show this extension due to it being extremely small. During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering LRN 154 was assigned CA 232.  Of n

Interstate 40 and the H-Bomb

Interstate 40 within California is entirely contained to San Bernandio County over a course of 155 miles from Interstate 15 in Barstow east to the Arizona State Line at the Colorado River.  Interstate 40 is aligned entirely in the Mojave Desert over the same general corridor established by US Route 66 and the National Old Trails Road.   Interstate 40 is known as the Needles Freeway and has an interesting backstory which included the prospect of the Bristol Mountains being excavated by way of nuclear blasts as part of Operation Carryall.   Part 1; the history of Interstate 40 in California The focus on this blog will be primarily centered around the construction of Interstate 40 ("I-40") within California.  That being said the corridor of automotive travel east of Barstow to the Arizona State Line was largely pioneered by the National Old Trails Road ("NOTR")   In April of 1912 the NOTR was organized with the goal of signing a trans-continental highway between Baltim

Interstate 15 Exit 239 to Zzyzx Road; intersecting the Mojave Road and Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad

    Interstate 15 Exit 239 in the Mojave Desert of northern San Bernardino County, California accesses the well known oddity of Zzyzx Road.  Zzyzx Road connects 4.5 miles from Interstate 15 to a small community of the same name which is located on the shore of the dry Soda Lake.  "Zzyzx" was coined in 1944 by Curtis Howe Springer as what he promoted as to be last word in the English Language.  On the surface Zzyzx appears to be something of a modern invention but the area has significant overall historical importance as part of a transportation corridor through the Mojave Desert.  Zzyzx lies at a point which was the intersection of the Mojave Road of the 19th Century the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad of the early 20th Century.   The backstory of Soda Springs, the Mojave Road, Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad and Zzyzx The present site of Zzyzx is located upon a natural spring along the western shore of Soda Dry Lake.  This spring has historically been known as "Soda S