Death Valley, Racetrack and Eureka Dunes

May 20th 2022


Note: this moved from February due to snow in the passes.

Friday morning, we meet at our favorite Chevron station in Norco at 7am. Last gas is in Olancha. We exit pavement on the old Saline Valley Road (before the usual alternate SVR), and detour to the Santa Rosa mine (Mikkel and I were there this summer). Then we go down South Pass into Saline Valley, and up Lippincot Grade to Homestake Dry camp, where we will camp for one night. There is usually a porta potty stationed there, for those who like that sort of thing. This is just south of Racetrack Playa. If there's not enough daylight for a proper walkabout on the Playa, we can leave time to visit again in the morning.

Saturday, we will go back down Lippincot Grade into Saline Valley, and travel to Warm Springs. This is probably a good lunch location. Bring whatever you want to wear if you dip into the warm springs, which could be nothing. From there, we will go over Steele pass, and down Dedeckera Canyon. This is a bit of a squeeze down rock steps, where body damage could happen if you're not careful, but I've taken my Tacoma up and down without incident. About a mile before the Eureka Dunes dry campground, there's a big open flat area I hope to camp in. That puts a few minutes drive from some nice vault toiltets, but away from other visitors.

Sunday, we will drive north the Death Valley Road, turn left on Death Valley - Big Pine road, and make our way back to pavement through Deadman Canyon. This should be a well graded easy drive. There is an option trail to a mine that Bruce told me about, but I haven't found the road he's talking about on a map yet.

This trip is 183 miles between Olanch and Big Pine. Everyone should bring extra gas. My Tacoma goes a long way on a tank, but I will bring 2 5-gallon tanks, just in case, or to share. Bruce has a tank or two he can loan anyone that doesn't have gas tanks.


Run Checklist

Always Required

  • HAM Radio on 146.550 MHz
  • Full-Sized Spare Tire
  • Seat Belts
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Battery Tiedown
  • Working Brakes
  • Tow Straps
  • Tow Points

Run Requirements

  • 33+ Sized Tire
  • 2+ Suspension Lift
  • 4LO Transfer Case
  • Roll Cage
  • Gas Cans
  • Camping Supplies

Run Recommendations

  • Rear Axle Locker

Trail Rating

Trail Rating 2

Difficulty Level: 2

Trail Rating 1 Graded road; Any 4x4 vehicle or higher clearance 2x4 vehicle with no other modifications
Trail Rating 2 Road rarely maintained; 4x4 with no low bumpers. Anti-sway bar disconnects recommended. Minimum 30" tires and some off-road experience is helpful
Trail Rating 3 Difficult terrain and road rarely maintained; 33" tires, Suspension lift, Off-road driving experience, body armor and Rear locker recommended. Stock vehicles will likely take damage
Trail Rating 4 Very difficult terrain, road never maintained; 33" tires, sway-bar disconnects, Rear locker, and Rock sliders required. 35" tires, front locker, Full cage, and 4:1 transfer-case recommended. Chance of mechanical failure and body damage
Trail Rating 5 Extremely difficult terrain with large obstacles and roll over potential; Full cage required, 37" tires strongly recommended. Good chance of mechanical failure and strong chance of body damage


Rendezvous @ 6th Street Chevron in Norco

Start on 91 fwy east.

Exit to 15 fwy north in Corona

Exit 6th street in Norco.

look for Chevron on NE corner of the interchange.

You can also meet us in Olancha, time TBD.

Breakfast in Kramer Junction?


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