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Mobirise

Death Valley Adventures

Introduction Page

Hello, Death Valley hikers. My name is Steve. My first visit to Death Valley took place in 1997 and I have been going back ever since. This is the Introduction Page for the site and it contains several sections. The first section (just below) shares some of my non-Death Valley hikes and trip reports. Feel free to check out the links to see some of the other areas of the world which interest me such as the Arctic, South Pacific, Alaska, Hawaii, and more. The second section shares the three main site objectives, which include promoting hiker safety, protecting Death Valley, and sharing Death Valley. The third section shares some introduction photos, campground photos, and other unique photos. At the very bottom, you can see how the site has grown and developed over the years. Before continuing on and using the site, make sure you have read and accepted our Terms and Conditions. Feel free to contact me if you have any Death Valley questions about hiking or park safety. -- admin@panamintcity.com

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Non-DV Hikes and Trip Reports

DV Adventures Objectives

OBJECTIVE #1 -- PROMOTING HIKER SAFETY

My Death Valley Adventures site has three stated objectives.  Objective #1 is Promoting Hiker Safety.  This is my main objective because Death Valley can be a very dangerous place to hike for the unprepared and unaware.  My hope is that by reading and following the safety suggestions on my DV Hiking Recommendations page, your overall hiking experience in the park will be much safer.  As a long-time Death Valley hiker with great success and experience in carrying out hikes safely within the park, I want to help newer visitors to the park (as well as older visitors) to be safety conscious at all times.  One park visitor wrote to me after his trip and stated: "Thank you for sharing your experiences and love of the Park and helping us do the same, and smartly, and safely. I now have (a satellite safety device) thanks to you so I can put my dear wife at ease back home."  So that gives one small example of the main objective of my site of promoting hiker safety being fulfilled.

If you are interested in visiting a location I have covered here on my site, you will find my reports and pictures helpful as a starting point.  You will then need to check the internet for additional details, read guidebooks, and obtain the necessary maps.  Once you have completed all of your research and arrive in Death Valley, you should check in and talk with park rangers at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center.  They are an important resource and can help you determine if you are properly prepared, in good enough physical condition, and can safely hike in Death Valley.  One online article said this: "The extreme heat of Death Valley has killed people in the past. It will continue to kill those who do not honor this extreme climate.  Death Valley does not forgive those who are not careful."  The bottom line is that people die while hiking in Death Valley nearly every single year.  Many of them were not prepared for the heat or other difficulties involved in desert hiking.  As a sad example of this, a hiker died of heat-related issues in July of 2014 when he attempted to hike through a remote wash below Manly Beacon in the Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch area in the middle of summer.  In addition to heat concerns, some hikes in Death Valley contain high dry falls and exposed bypasses which should only be climbed or crossed by those with the proper ropes and safety gear.  Please hike responsibly and do not assume that you can accomplish the same hikes that we have done and show here on the site.  Remember that your personal safety is your responsibility and you should not attempt anything that makes you feel uncomfortable or is beyond your own reasonable and safe limits.  In Death Valley, most of the time you are usually hiking cross-country routes through the rugged terrain of the Mojave Desert.  Cell phone coverage outside of Furnace Creek is mostly non-existent, so help may not be available for someone who gets injured.  Without the proper maps, guidebooks, assistance of park rangers, knowledge, safety precautions, navigational abilities, heat considerations, supply of water, hiking and/or climbing ability, and other necessary preparations, you could find yourself in serious danger.  When you read any one of my reports, what you don't see is the 5-10 hours that I first invested in preparing for the hike by printing maps, studying satellite imagery, reading guidebooks, uploading GPS coordinates, scouring the internet for details, and talking with park rangers.  In summary, your hiking experience in Death Valley will be much safer and more successful if you take the time to prepare properly beforehand.  Preparing for a hike also includes preparing your vehicle.  You do not want to get a flat tire or vehicle breakdown especially during times of hot weather.

OBJECTIVE #2 -- PROTECTING DEATH VALLEY

Objective #2 is Protecting Death Valley.  Protecting the park for future generations means that I encourage all to become familiar with and fully follow park regulations.  A list of current park regulations can be found on the official park web site.  Protecting the park also means that I do not disclose the locations of certain areas to the public.  There are a number of places within Death Valley which I have either purposely chosen to or been asked to leave off of my site.  At the beginning when putting together this site, I decided to never share any photographs of rock art in the park or speak about places where it could be found.  The purpose behind everything stated above is to protect the place that I love in the best way possible and not allow my site to be misused in any way.  Please respect my decisions in this regard and do not e-mail me asking for locations of rock art, because I will not provide them.  You will notice in my reports that a select few of the canyons and natural bridges do not have maps or details on how to find them.  If you do locate some of these areas on your own, please respect the wishes of the park service and help protect them by not posting directions or maps to them on the internet.  Based on past experience, there is a definite need to prevent increased visitation to certain areas to prevent overuse and potential vandalism to natural features, canyon walls, and dry falls.  It is also much more rewarding to find these places on your own, rather than being given detailed directions.

OBJECTIVE #3 -- SHARING DEATH VALLEY

Objective #3 is Sharing Death Valley.  The original purpose of my Death Valley Adventures site was simply to share pictures of my Death Valley trips with my family members and close friends.  I wanted to share the beauty of what I was seeing and experiencing with them, and having this site proved to be very effective in doing that.   Especially since many of them couldn't personally visit the park or handle long distance cross-country hikes.   I also wanted to be able to look back during future years and remember all the fun things I had done and experienced in the park.  That is why I put so much detail into my reports.  When it came to selecting a name, I wanted to use one of my favorite places in the park.  After considering some options, I decided to go with PanamintCity.com.  Two other web addresses which I own that redirect to this site are DVAdventures.com and DeathValleyHiking.com.  As a side effect of my building this site, members of the public began making use of my site to help plan their trips.  Park staff also began widely using the site to assist the public in educating them about potential hikes.  I knew that lots of people were using it when I began receiving multiple e-mails each week from people sharing kind words and thanks, and also from some who had questions.  And I'm always happy to answer any Death Valley questions when I have the time.

On the Main Page of my DVA site, you can find a link to 200 Death Valley hiking destinations.  If a link is highlighted, that means I have written a report on the destination to share information and pictures with other hikers.  If a destination listed does not have an active link, that means it is a future destination.  Much of my trip planning has been aided by the use of guidebooks, such as Hiking Death Valley and Hiking Western Death Valley written by Michel Digonnet.   I am greatly indebted to Michel for providing such excellent resources.   I am also greatly indebted to and appreciate the help provided over the past two decades by friend and park naturalist Charlie Callagan.  Without the help of these two very knowledgeable individuals, as well as others inside the park and on Death Valley forums, my trips would not have been the same.  So I wish to publicly thank everybody who has provided assistance.

Also, please note that the canyons I have listed on the Main Page are all either officially named or informally named.  An officially named canyon is recognized publicly by the park service and listed on topographical maps.   Informally named canyons were assigned names by park rangers, long-time Death Valley hikers, canyoneers, or were labeled on obscure geology maps.  Some of these include places like Grave Canyon, Sand Canyon, Palmer Canyon, Moonlight Canyon, Foundry Canyon, and Smoke Tree Canyon.   I have personally assigned names to a few canyons on here, such as Sunlight Bridge Canyon (co-named and co-discovered with Kauri), Little Arches Canyon (named after a feature found within the canyon), and Forbidden Canyon.  My personal policy is to promote informally named canyons because it makes identifying them easier.  Plus, I'm only doing this for fun and I enjoy learning about and sharing the informal names.  If you are unsure if a canyon name is official, simply look at either the 7.5 minute topographical maps, AAA Guide Map, Tom Harrison Map, or National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map.   If you don't see the canyon listed on at least one of those, it is probably an informal name.

Introduction Photos

Lowell, Steve, and Eeyore welcome you to our Death Valley in this 1999 photograph. Eeyore was our park mascot for many years before being retired.

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This was the very first picture of me ever taken in Death Valley back in 1997. The location should be easy to guess.

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Daria is pictured here at Ubehebe Crater with one of our Jeep rentals from Farabee's. If you want to visit places like The Racetrack or Eureka Dunes, renting from Farabee's in Furnace Creek might be a good idea.

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We pretty much camped in the park on every trip until late 2012 when the little one seen in this picture was born. During the first few years of his life, we then started staying in hotel rooms. In this picture, we tried camping with Stefan for the first time in 2014.

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Five years after the previous picture, I took Stefan (now 6 years old) to visit Mushroom Rock for the first time in 2019. Mushroom Rock was once considered to be one of the special rock formations of Death Valley. But it is now mostly forgotten.

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Many of our Trip Reports come from places which involve driving on gravel roads. This is one example, taken at the start of Racetrack Road. Here's a challenge -- try to find Eeyore in the picture.

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The good people at the Furnace Creek Stables take excellent care of their horses and offer awesome rides. This is a picture of a horse named Lolly (also known as Annie). She was about 18 years old as of 2012. Lolly has logged thousands of miles of desert and Sierra trails.

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Charlie Callagan (pictured here with me in Teddy Bear Canyon Slot #1) retired from the NPS on April 30, 2016. Charlie spent over 25 years working and living in Death Valley. He benefited the park greatly as the Wilderness Coordinator and by working with volunteer groups which would come through for short time periods to help out with anything that needed to be done within the wilderness areas. I truly miss our times hiking together and exploring the park.

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From the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, we always came to the park for the entire last week of December. At that time, John Dobson (pictured here) held a slideshow and star program at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. We always attended John Dobson's program and we also worked as volunteers with his Sidewalk Astronomers group to assist the public with telescope viewing. John passed away on January 15, 2014 and he will be missed.

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Steve with Rocky Novak pictured in May of 2012 outside of the Ballarat general store.

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My sister Tiffany volunteering with her college group from Chico State on an alternative Spring break trip in March of 2010. The group worked hard to close the old Eastern Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Road.

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Campground Photos

My favorite (informal) campgound in Death Valley can be found up Phinney Canyon Road at the spot pictured here. I like to stay at this high elevation campground in early June. During this stay in June of 2019, I awoke to a beautiful sunrise at 5:20am prior to a hike of Coyote BM. (Note: It may be too hot for most hikers to visit this area in June.)

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Camping at the Eureka Sand Dunes during cold weather in February of 2020.

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Camping in Sagenite Canyon in October of 2019 prior to a hike of Head BM in the Quail Mountains.

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Camping with my sister Tiffany during our summer hiking trip to Telescope Peak.

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We have stayed at nearby Wildrose campground during times of warmer weather to escape the heat and also when hiking the northern Panamints.

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During one of our trips to Saline Valley, we made an informal camp near the Saline Valley Sand Dunes.

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Homestake Dry Camp is a great place to stay when visiting The Racetrack, Ubehebe Peak, or Corridor Canyon.

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An informal camp on Hunter Mountain that is forested and provides nice shade on warm days.

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Caught in a flash flood at Stovepipe Wells campground. We watched as one tent was picked up by the force of the water and carried downstream with somebody still inside it.

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Also at Stovepipe Wells campground, this tent was destroyed by a windstorm. We have lost several tents on Death Valley trips to windstorms.

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Other Photos

The next three pictures show locations in the park which we have left out of our Trip Reports. There are actually a lot of special places in Death Valley which we have either been asked to or choose not to talk about publicly. This first picture shows mining ruins that are difficult to find.

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This is Dart Crash Site, one of the many secret military or aircraft wreck sites that we know about. This may be the only fully intact crashed Dart in the park.

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This next picture is the only picture on the entire site which shows some of Death Valley's famous petroglyphs. As you can see, there is beautifully preserved rock art within the park, but you will need to find it on your own through many years of hiking.

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We have spent a lot of time in Death Valley searching for major natural bridges. Be sure to check out our special page on Death Valley's Natural Bridges. This picture shows a false natural bridge we found in Eureka Valley on February 10, 2019.

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Steve's photos of Mars Hill were featured on the 2012 Mars and Mojave Festival official flyer which was given out.

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Steve's DV photos including those of his family and friends (Daria and Tiffany are pictured here) were at one time being used by the NPS in the Furnace Creek Visitor Center hiking destinations computer. Be sure to check out this computer for help in planning your hikes.

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Death Valley Superintendent Mike Reynolds referenced our site during his interview with the Wall Street Journal. Mike said he uses this site to help plan out his hikes.

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DV Adventures Site History

In the early days of the site, we mostly shared hiking reports to well-known destinations along with other places highlighted in guidebooks. This was how the site looked in the mid-to-late 2000s.

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The site gradually evolved in the 2010s as we started exploring off-the-grid places and stopped following in other people's footsteps. It was a decade of exploration and discoveries as the site gained worldwide use.

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