Eureka Dunes: Death Valley National Park

After all the excitement at Ubehebe Crater, we headed North on Big Pine Road toward Eureka Dunes, 1 of 5 dune fields in the park. And let me tell you, the 19-degree nights in Eureka Valley were considerably colder than the 40 degree lows in Death Valley proper. Good thing we brought our freezing weather gear (always a good call in the desert).

california; camping. desert; death valley national park; desert Arrakis. OK, not really. But close enough.

Arrakis. OK, not really. But close enough.

Eureka Dunes offers free primitive camping. There is a pit toilet but no toilet paper or trash collection. Considering the bitter cold, the only thing that mattered to us was the presence of a fire pit. The fire warmed our front sides while we drank our beer.

Despite the appeal of the dunes, we did not hike on them. Instead, we opted to hike out to a random canyon. Death Valley does not have many hiking trails so you need 7.5-minute topo maps and a compass to really explore. We had neither (a 15-minute map and a broken compass). Do as we say, not as we do.

california; camping. desert; death valley; death valley national park; hiking; national park This is the canyon we hiked into.

This is the canyon we hiked into.

california; camping. desert; death valley national park; desert Desert wildlife will cling on wherever it can.

Desert wildlife will cling on wherever it can.

Our canyon was great but we found nothing too interesting; I was on the lookout for Timbisha Shoshone artifacts. The Timbisha Shoshone were the original inhabitants of the area and still live in the park and surrounding areas. Artifacts can be admired but should not be moved, ever. I just wanted to see some, take a picture, and report it to the Rangers so they could investigate the area with the tribe. Despite the lack of artifacts it was a nice hike.

This was our 4th trip to Death Valley National Park but we have not even begun to scratch the surface. Our next trip will (hopefully) focus only on Saline Valley, the most undeveloped area of the park with not even a paved road. Luke is looking forward to navigating Steel Pass, I am looking forward to the quiet of the oft neglected valley.

Previous Death Valley Posts:

For more national park adventures, visit our National Park Service Guide.

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