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Old 08-11-2014, 02:36 PM   #1
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Advice on solo trip to Sequoia NF and Death Valley

Hello Friends,

The wife, dog, and I are considering a road trip September to Sequoia NF with a few days in Death Valley but I can't find any buddies to join me. (Side Note - anyone free Sept 14-21?)

I'm a new jeep owner but long time camper and offroader, spent lots of time in the desert. We'll have supplies, tools, spare parts (u-joints, TRE, serp belt, rad hoses) and I plan on renting a SAT phone. I'd also be filing trip reports with the Rangers.

For people that know the area, I'd plan on wheeling the easier trails in Sequoia such as Monache Meadow, prob not Sherman, and others that I can find that are easy/moderate level. I've read DV doesn't have much super technical stuff but is obviously very remote in some areas.

I'm trying to balance my thirst for adventure without putting my family in danger. My question is - are these areas doable for a solo jeep safely?

Thanks, I appreciate the feedback.

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Old 08-11-2014, 02:50 PM   #2
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Death Valley is still going to be hot in September average is 107 for that month
November avg is 77

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Old 08-11-2014, 04:59 PM   #3
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Stay in the higher elevations to keep out of the heat. I have done a lot off road in Death Valley. There are a lot of moderate difficulty trails. Check out Goler Wash and Mengal Pass. Maybe Lippincott Pass. Hopefully all the rains they have gotten lately have not messed up the trails too badly. DVNP are really good at updating that information on their web site. I have done them alone. No problems. That is the same time as my vacation, but we are doing Utah this year.
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Old 08-11-2014, 05:22 PM   #4
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Near menache meadows is and out of the way camp thats super remote called osa meadow lil creek flowing through the meadow has trout too. Roads akin to a fire road and it puts you right next to the eastern border of golden trout wilderness. We took the road from johnsondale bridge. Near kearnville. Very enjoyabe ride
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:21 PM   #5
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Yea, you really have to respect the heat in Death Valley. When I go in November I prefer to just stay at the Furnace Creek Inn. Nice place, reasonable prices and air conditioning. Its in the middle of the park so its a great hub. Definitely see Titus Canyon and Racetrack. Racetrack will be a full day run. Its over 20 miles on a dirt road. I did it in a Chevy avalanche so its not hard, just a must see. I also enjoy seeing.

Artists Palette
Devils Golf course
Badwater Basin
Titus Canyon
Sand Dunes
Racetrack
Scotty's Grotto
also several great hikes

And I have yet to get to the Panamint City side!!!

You also have to take into consideration how BIG the park is. It can take hours to just get to the start of a trailhead. Thats why I will be going back this November for the third time just to see all the stuff I didn't have time for the first two times.
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Old 08-11-2014, 10:15 PM   #6
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This a great thread.
I would love to see some of these trails in Death Valley and the national forest!
Can you do a day trip to DV?
One of the reasons I got the jeep!
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:30 PM   #7
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This a great thread.
I would love to see some of these trails in Death Valley and the national forest!
Can you do a day trip to DV?
One of the reasons I got the jeep!
I live in Orange County. It takes about 5 hours to get from my door to Furnace Creek Inn. It definitely would not be a day trip for me. And seriously, Death Valley is the best kept secret of National Parks that I have been too. It is never crowded and there is a TON to see and do. You would think it would be just open desert, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

I have been on two separate 3 day trips and haven't even come close to seeing it all. And the stargazing at night is unbelievable. Zabriskie Point, at night, is truly amazing. I took a blanket and laid it out with my two kids and just stared at the stars. Both my kids still remember that vividly.

Long story short, if you are going you need to go for several days so you can get a good feel of the park. Then additional trips to get into the nooks and crannys..
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Old 08-11-2014, 11:47 PM   #8
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Thanks friends, the advice is much appreciated.
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:25 AM   #9
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I live in Orange County. It takes about 5 hours to get from my door to Furnace Creek Inn. It definitely would not be a day trip for me. And seriously, Death Valley is the best kept secret of National Parks that I have been too. It is never crowded and there is a TON to see and do. You would think it would be just open desert, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

I have been on two separate 3 day trips and haven't even come close to seeing it all. And the stargazing at night is unbelievable. Zabriskie Point, at night, is truly amazing. I took a blanket and laid it out with my two kids and just stared at the stars. Both my kids still remember that vividly.

Long story short, if you are going you need to go for several days so you can get a good feel of the park. Then additional trips to get into the nooks and crannys..
Are you going on the Big Bear run on the 23rd?
I would like to go with someone that knows...
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:31 AM   #10
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:34 AM   #11
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[IMG][IMG][/IMG][/IMG]
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:35 AM   #12
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:36 AM   #13
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Sorry about splitting the pictures up. I just learned how to post some. Those are a couple pics from Death Valley..
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:36 AM   #14
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Are you going on the Big Bear run on the 23rd?
I would like to go with someone that knows...
No sorry I can't make that one.
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Old 08-12-2014, 06:46 AM   #15
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If you come into the park from the South, which coming from San Diego you will be and most likely entering the park via Bad water road. On the left there will be a road, dirt, West Side Road you have an option here, continue on the pavement to the heart of the park and see what SOCAL JK posted or take the dirt road and head to Striped Butte Canyon. In Striped Butte Canyon you have several cabins to stay in. But they are a drive up the canyon and you will know you are close when you see striped butte. On the right there will be a stone cabin, the geologist cabin, if that one is full, keep going past and there will be three more up on your right about mile or so down the road. Don't forget to put the flag up, lets people know its occupied. There are several mines to stop and explore along this road as well. Once done with this area continue out of striped butte over Mengal pass. Last time through there it was freshly graded so who knows what the rains have done to it. Stay on this road and it will take you to Barker Ranch, Manson's hideout. The sign has been knocked down so have it as a waypoint in your gps. Then continue down and this road will take you through goler gulch and eventually down to the Pannamint Valley. Hang a right and this will take you to Ballarat. Once at Ballarat you have a couple of choices, up to west and south park to see some other cabins, mines or cross the road and make your way to the defense mine where you can actually climb up the mine to the top of the mountain. Camping is available at Ballarat or you can stay in the hotel/jail if its not otherwise occupied. As you leave ballarat you can choose left or right. Left takes you Trona, ahhhhhhh Trona an experience you will NEVER forget, through Ridgecrest up to the 395 and on your way to Kennedy/monache meadows. Or you can go right and this will take you eventually to Olancha/Bishop area and of course you know you are just a hop, skip and leap away from Whitney if you want a diversion for a couple of hrs. If you are so inclined you can take a run up to Cerro Gordo and the Salt Tram. Guy up in cerro gordo will give an unscheduled tour for a bottle of crown. Or, so I am told. Once done with all that, you can head South on 395 and that will take you to 9mile canyon which will lead you to Kennedy/Monache Meadows. Now you can come down the back side of the Sherman pass towards the Kern, hang a left and this will take you back to Kernville and eventually Ridgecrest. If you take a right at this intersection and take a short drive you will eventually end up at the trail of the hundred giants. If you have never seen or done this before, do it. This is also a campground.

That should keep you busy enough.
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Old 08-12-2014, 12:41 PM   #16
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Thanks DaK, great info!
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Old 08-15-2014, 04:06 PM   #17
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Too many great places to go in Death Valley. Definitely not a day trip from anywhere. Unless you live in Trona or Ridgecrest. One of my favorites was Marble/Cottonwood Canyon. We set up camp in a cave. It rained that night and we were perfectly dry in our cave home.
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Old 08-15-2014, 09:53 PM   #18
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Too many great places to go in Death Valley. Definitely not a day trip from anywhere. Unless you live in Trona or Ridgecrest. One of my favorites was Marble/Cottonwood Canyon. We set up camp in a cave. It rained that night and we were perfectly dry in our cave home.
Awesome!

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