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What road is this?
#1
During my backpacking trip last week, I crossed this road a couple of times. It doesn't look like it's been used in a while, but it would definitely provide a shortcut to getting to the Cottonwoods assuming I drive on that road and park my car there as a stepping off point.

Anyone know if this is a legal street or merely a historical one??


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#2
The 1955 auto club desert quad map and the 1970 auto club Death Valley map show the sea level line in the same area as the yellow high lighted dash marks.

PDF 1955 Auto Club Desert Quad Map

But it sounds like you saw an actual old two track there.

Hum, the track you saw goes out farther north so I don't that what I saw on the map is it.

This looks like a better match for what you saw...

Death Valley 1948 Map
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#3
Yes there's an old road there, but it's closed to vehicles. I don't think it has been drivable for a very long time. Where it used to connect with the Scotty's Castle Road is a good place to park for Red Wall Canyon, because then you can sight on the old road and hike directly back to your vehicle.

On page 70 of Digonnet's Hiking Death Valley book, he refers to it as "the west side trail to the Niter Beds and Stovepipe Wells, which has been closed off to motor vehicles for decades."

As with the old road that's now closed which used to connect Salt Creek and the West Side Road, I'd like to know more about that old road and how long ago it was closed.
Link to my DV trip reports, and map of named places in DV (official and unofficial): http://kaurijacobphotography.yolasite.com
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#4
Hmmm.I'm wondering then if this would be a nice hike, perhaps smoother then just hiking cross country? I've been to Red Wall so should be easy to find I would think.
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#5
Thanks, all.

I flipped back through my photos and think I grabbed a shot of it previously.

There is a good bit of the old road that is on the sandy portion of the valley floor so it might very much make a good hike, jesportland.


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#6
Well since I've been going to the area, since 1990, I've seen various roads closed, like to old road to the former sand dunes picnic area (and on to the real Stovepipe Well) but this, the former north part of the west side road, had been closed quite a while before I showed up.

Yes, as Kauri says, the road goes straight as an arrow away from about where you park for Redwall.  It is intentionally obscured for just a bit, to hide it from off-roaders, but then goes clear across.  I have not walked that section.

I walked some of the section that goes on the west side of the Niter Beds this spring.  I can testify that the road is there and easy to follow visually. although a tad obscured in places from windblown debris.  In fact the road shows on the 7.5 topo as "old road grade" and is marked true to the real location.

Another nice road that we walked this spring (after we'd been kicked out of our lodging due to covid, on our last day in the park) goes south from 190, starting on the west side of Devil's Cornfield, and down to the MacLean Spring area.  There is actually still a bridge in place down there, some old timbers, but crossing the creek area over to the spring (on the east side) was a touch muddy (I got one boot mucked up).   This road is harder to find - I took a bunch of waypoints from looking at sat images so I could pick it up in areas where it had washed out.  And it's not obvious from driving by on 190 - you need to know where to head out before you can actually find it on the ground.  But once you are on it, for the most part you are clearly following old road.

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