Furnace Creek, CA
We headed out this morning with a number of stops on our itinerary. The first was a visit to Mosaic Canyon, one of the most popular hikes in Death Valley NP. Its about a 25 mile drive from Furnace Creek to a small oasis called Stovetop Wells Village, then three miles up a dusty dirt road to the trailhead.
The canyon walls are filled with impressive colors.
While this is a fairly easy hike, there are a few places that require a bit of climbing.
About half way up the canyon we came upon this “little” guy crossing the wash. It is mating season for the tarantula. He’s on the prowl!
After a bit the canyon opened up to a wide area in the wash. We climbed up on a ridge to get better footing than the loose rocks in the wash.
The last quarter mile of the canyon presents some fairly challenging pour-overs that required a bit of scrambling.
The canyon ends at a steep, high wall so we climbed up to a spot along the side wall to enjoy a bite to eat.
Then it was back down through the narrow pour-overs.
Once back down that last quarter mile, the hike is again a nice walk through the canyon filled with beautiful dolomite, a granite like rock.
After hiking Mosaic Canyon, we stopped for a short visit at the Mesquite Flats Sand Dunes. We walked out a short distance on the dunes but found it to be like a walk on the beach without the sound of water hitting the shore, so we returned to the Jeep.
The next stop for the day was to Salt Creek. It is unusual to see water in Death Valley so this is an interesting spot. The water rises up from a spring and flows for about a half mile before sinking back into the ground. The water has a high salt content so not many animals drink from it and few fish can survive there. It does support a rare fish called a Pupfish, but we walked the boardwalk trail that loops around the creek and didn’t see any life in the water.
The final stop for the day was at the historic Harmony Borax Works. During the 1880s borax was gathered from the nearby salt flat and processed here before being transported out of Death Valley in the famous twenty mule team wagons.
Next to the borax plant is a one mile loop road through the yellow badlands of Mustard Canyon.
This was a great day with cool temperatures (70 degrees), beautiful sunshine, and great sights to visit. But there are many more great spots to see in Death Valley so stay tuned!