Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 02-15-2009, 10:45 AM   #1
Senior Member
 
pjpvi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 869
A couple Death Valley questions

I'm planning a trip to DV with the family over the kids spring break and have a couple questions.

1. Are we in for any shocks at Saline Valley hot springs (Lower and Palm) with the family? From what I read, seems it can get a little crowded and definitely a clothing optional place. My wife isn't too thrilled with the prospect of hanging out with a bunch of nudes with the kids. I guess we can just drive past if things don't look up to our speed.

2. Is doing Eureka Dunes to Race Track via Steele Pass and Lippincott too long of a day? I know there will be some slow going in sections of Steele Pass and Lippincott, but I've never done either.

I'm contemplating SF Bay area to Eureka Dunes, Eureka Dunes to Race Track, Race Track to Striped Butte, Striped Butte to Alabama Hills (via Mengal pass), Alabama Hills back home. It may be too aggressive of a schedule with the family. I may have to scale something back.

Any thoughts on the itinerary or questions from the experienced DV people?

Phil
__________________

__________________
Phil

- 2005 EB50 6.0PSD - SMB 4x4
- 2012 JK Wrangler Rubicon - 2 door
pjpvi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2009, 11:09 AM   #2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 782
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by pjpvi
I'm planning a trip to DV with the family over the kids spring break and have a couple questions.

1. Are we in for any shocks at Saline Valley hot springs (Lower and Palm) with the family? From what I read, seems it can get a little crowded and definitely a clothing optional place. My wife isn't too thrilled with the prospect of hanging out with a bunch of nudes with the kids. I guess we can just drive past if things don't look up to our speed.

2. Is doing Eureka Dunes to Race Track via Steele Pass and Lippincott too long of a day? I know there will be some slow going in sections of Steele Pass and Lippincott, but I've never done either.

I'm contemplating SF Bay area to Eureka Dunes, Eureka Dunes to Race Track, Race Track to Striped Butte, Striped Butte to Alabama Hills (via Mengal pass), Alabama Hills back home. It may be too aggressive of a schedule with the family. I may have to scale something back.

Any thoughts on the itinerary or questions from the experienced DV people?

Phil
This is a novice opinion having only been to DV once in Jan 09. Incredible place and likely to become an annual trip for me.

Saline valley hot springs are excellent, but according to the camp host, it is not unusual to have 200 campers on a holiday weekend. I'd assume that means spring break given the time of year. Even when we visited in Jan 09, most of the other hot tubbers (only 4-6 people) were without clothes, but nothing lewd. Canyonclan and I had our kids and just grabbed an empty tub and had a great soak. So I'd encourage you to give it a try and hit the tubs early in the day with the kids. If possible, try and camp away from the tubs for a bit more solitude. And if it is a zoo with too much holiday partying and crazy stuff, just keep moving and boondock for the night somewhere in the desert.

Eureka Dunes to Race Track via Steele Pass and Lippincott would certainly be far too much for me alone in one day, impossible with the kids. We stayed off the more technical 4x4 roads and even then it was slow going. That was mainly because my suspension stinks and max speeds were limited to below 20mph on the rougher roads. Steele pass and Lippincott are clearly 4x4 only with some degree of technical difficulty so assume 20mph or less the whole way. The saline valley camp host told us that steele pass is doable in a reliable 4x4, but that there are some step-downs and sandy areas where you may need a spotter and or recovery gear. We decided to hit that on a guys only trip and not try with the kids. In general, our estimates of daily mileage were way too aggressive. Going slow and taking in the sights is also a lot of fun too.

Do a search on youtube for some videos of mengal pass. We passed on that because it was very far off our route and also because we wanted to keep it mellow with the kids. I'd probably give it a shot, but only with another vehicle. I think that mengal pass is more challenging heading towards Ballarat (but not sure about that), so again, your planned mileage may be too aggressive to make it all the way up into the Alabama hills in one day.

On the next visit, I'll have new Deavers and shocks and that will hopefully allow me to cover more ground in greater comfort.

Have fun.
Rob
__________________

__________________
2006 SMB 4x4, EB-51, 6.0psd
EMrider is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2009, 11:24 AM   #3
Senior Member
 
scatter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Blairsden, CA (when not on the road)
Posts: 1,053
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

pjpvi, I haven't done Steele Pass or Lippincott in almost two years. Based on that, I feel Steele is no problem. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. Lippincott however was something else. There is a post elsewhere on the forum re my trip. Short version is that there were several narrow spots where I had the inside wheel against the cut bank and the outside wheel partially hanging out in space. Not a good thing with a 9,000 lb rig. Scared the hell out of the wife. Lippincott, like all roads changes from time to time so maybe it's fine for full size rigs once again. I've been over it when it was a walk in the park. Also been there when it was impassable for bikes. Mengal also changes a lot. DV is a big and wonderful place. Don't bite off too much at once. Saline springs are mostly full nudity. There is an upper spring that has fencing around it to keep burros out, doesn't get many bathers up there and is fine for camping. Not a man made tub though.
You might try hitting Saline, then over Steele to the dunes and then enter DV at the north end. That way you can head over to the race track and back or Hunter Mtn. or, or, or...
Just have fun!!
__________________
Scatter
You can be anything you want on the Internet,
it amazes me that so many choose stupid....

2007 RB50, 6.0
K1WGB
scatter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2009, 12:23 PM   #4
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fruita, Colorado
Posts: 1,014
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

Saline springs is of course clothing optional. It is however one of the cleanest, hospitable, and respectful places you can find. On a weekend,especially holiday weekends it can get busy, but for the most part it is not bad. There is plenty of spread out camping and it's easy to have your own space. It is a little weird to see a naked dude riding a mtn bike down the road but you get used to it. Incredible area.
Saline Valley also has countless day trips/hikes and camping aside from the springs. Waterfalls...... yes waterfalls are present in many of the canyons on the west side of the valley. These make fun and easy hikes for the entire family. There are also some fairly decent sand dunes to play around on( frisbee, golf, football and dune jumping).
I have gone over Steel Pass countless times and although I have not done it in a SMB I am sure you would have no problems. There are some steps closer to Eureka in the canyon and some slightly tricky rocks just down from Steel Pass on the Saline side.
Lipincott is narrow in spots with lots of exposure but the overall condition varies greatly from year to year. I would probably give it a go but I grew up traveling all these roads.
Pm me if you'd like more info or secret cool locations to check out.
__________________
Desert Solitaire
2003 7.3L EB 4x4
Denver Fleet 4x4 conversion
saline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2009, 05:04 PM   #5
Site Team
 
Ford_6L_E350's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Washington - Ridgefield
Posts: 4,725
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

With the recent rains in Death Valley, any or all of the roads may be impassable. Best to check with the Park Rangers for up to date information.

Here is a quote from the park only 7 days ago:

Titus Canyon, Mosaic Canyon, Dantes View and the Race Track roads are still closed due to flooding.

As I recall, even the paved road to Scotty's Castle was closed.

Mike
__________________
SOLD04 EB350 Custom Floorplan
6.0 PSD 4.10 Posi
Salem Kroger coil spring 4wd
SMB Trailer w/AT Air Suspension
Alaska to Key West, Labrador and more
130685 miles 16.65 mpg average

Prostate cancer survivor. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=11099
2015 VW GTI
Leaving CA for WA
Ford_6L_E350 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-15-2009, 05:13 PM   #6
Senior Member
 
pjpvi's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: SF Bay Area, CA
Posts: 869
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

Thanks for the input everyone. I think I'll shorten the driving up a bit and just pick an area to explore in more detail. That will certainly make for a happier family and therefore a happier me!

We're not going until April, so hopefully things dry out by then.

Keep the recommendations coming though. I've only been to DV once and there looks to be so much to explore there. Too bad my trip will be a bit short on time.

Thanks -
Phil
__________________
Phil

- 2005 EB50 6.0PSD - SMB 4x4
- 2012 JK Wrangler Rubicon - 2 door
pjpvi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2009, 01:13 PM   #7
Senior Member
 
UJOINT's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: AVL NC
Posts: 947
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

From what I've seen & heard recently, Lippencott is a mess, and the racetrack is currently flooded. I did Lippencott last Feb, and it's tight for us full size guys. Steel pass may be damaged from water as well. Like you said, check road conditions once it's time to go.
__________________
Chris Steuber
02 E350 7.3 (V4)
00 E250 5.4 (V6)
05 E350 V10 (V7)
99 E36 M3
http://www.ujointoffroad.com
UJOINT is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2009, 06:58 PM   #8
Senior Member
 
charlie56's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: santa rosa ca
Posts: 991
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

I don't know if you are aware of it, but the Park has a morning report posted on their website that lists current road conditions.

http://www.nps.gov/deva/
__________________
... Charlie
EV-2 build is now complete, (yeah right).
KZ6T
charlie56 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-19-2009, 07:51 PM   #9
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Fruita, Colorado
Posts: 1,014
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

FYI,
Inyo county ALWAYS "closes" the road in the winter. Only once have I ever seen it impassable.
__________________
Desert Solitaire
2003 7.3L EB 4x4
Denver Fleet 4x4 conversion
saline is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-20-2009, 02:46 PM   #10
Senior Member
 
John and Dana's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Normandy Park, WA
Posts: 353
Re: A couple Death Valley questions

We will be heading down to Saline Valley, leaving Seattle March 20, and spending two weeks or so in the area. If anyone has any input on great spots I would love to hear it.

Phil, If you see a '08 Baja Tan EB stop and say hello.

John
__________________

__________________
'08 SMB 4X4 6.0PSD EB 50 (52K)
'98 Jeep Wrangler (330K)
'95 Chevrolet S-10 (142K)
'71 LT1 Corvette
John and Dana is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Powered by vBadvanced CMPS v3.2.3

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 08:46 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.