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Death Valley CLOSED: Fall/Winter 23/24 Trip Planning
I thought I would start a thread for anyone lurking in the forum, hoping to plan a trip to DV this season, where we can all leave the gossip and bits of news articles we find to try to help inform them (and us) about what's opening when or how much.  

We've already been doing this in other threads, but I thought consolidating it here in the trip planning section would be smart. 

LATimes article on 9/4/23 stated that Caltrans crews "are aiming to reopen State Route 190 in about three months."  Other articles have also pegged early Dec as the earliest for CA190 to open.  

Damage to 190 is stated to be "Among the damaged areas is a 1,500-foot stretch of roadway near Towne Pass that “washed away,” said Christopher Andriessen, a spokesman with the California Department of Transportation, District 9.  East of Towne Pass, a 40-foot-wide Arizona crossing — a type of culvert — is gone, as are multiple swaths of pavement between Death Valley Junction and Olancha, Andriessen said, including some as long as 300 feet. As a result, hotels and campgrounds are closed for the foreseeable future."

Official word on anything beyond CA190:
"Other roads, including the one that runs from Furnace Creek to Badwater Basin, the park’s lowest point, are federally managed and also in need of repairs. There is no current estimate for its reopening."  Damage is estimated at $6mil to open 190 and a small part of 136.  

They are saying that, with 2.2" falling at Furnace, they estimate that 5-10" fell on Telescope Peak.  No reports from elsewhere in the park, other than reports that Scotty's castle is undamaged and the pupfish in Ash Meadows are alright.  

If anyone picks up any other tidbits on damage or reopening, feel free to add them here.
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Good idea. I was struck by a pic i saw somewhere of a real mess of rocks on the Wildrose road, "near the campground" - probably where the upper valley drains down the canyon. Of course if it is just debris is not a big deal I had to wonder what it was like further down the canyon.
136 reopened, but I think that was just flooding and sediment. Since the entirety of the 190 is still closed that really doesn’t help much for access! Plus Cerro Gordo road is gone at the moment, so can’t pop over that way to bypass 190.

127 took a lot of pavement loss from a separate storm last week just after they had cleared it of sediment from Hilary. Apparently that’s going to be a Caltrans District 8 repair instead, so hopefully that means District 9 can focus on getting 190 open.
I find if slightly odd I haven't heard a peep about Daylight Pass/Mud Canyon or Badwater Rd yet.  I'm sure both took damage, but that was almost all they talked about during the initial phases of recovery last year.  But 190 was opened rather quickly that time so focus could shift. 

Yesterday's Social Media Update from DVNP below.  Nothing new but good to hear they're pulling in folks to help out. 

"With a monumental amount of cleanup ahead of us, we wanted to take a moment and thank some of our many partners, including Caltrans, CHP, and other National Parks.
In fact, we have 52 staff from 47 other park sites who are here (or coming soon!) to assist us with the work that needs to be done, including clearing roads, contracting, resource advisors, finance, safety, planning, and assessments -- to name just a few!
Given the scope of the impacts from Tropical Storm Hilary, and the widespread debris on roads and areas of pavement damage, we don't yet have a timeline for when the roads will reopen. But in the meantime, we are continuing to do work, including over the holiday weekend, with help from our friends and colleagues!"

EDIT:  So this is Badwater Rd in a photo that accompanied the above yesterday:
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Here is what 127 looks like right now:


EDIT: Photo credits to Caltrans
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Wow. Just wow.
Cross posting these from another thread.  Just to give everyone an idea of not only the type of damage but the scope of it across the park.  Every road is heavily damaged.
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DVNHA Update that doesn't actually update anything:

"Death Valley NP Flood Update as of 9/10/23:
Death Valley National Park remains closed following extensive flash flood damage during Hurricane Hilary, which brought a year's worth of rain on August 20. Caltrans, contractors, and National Park Service crews are tirelessly working on road repairs, but there's no confirmed reopening date. On September 1, acting superintendent Ben Roberts noted the park's vast size and stressed the magnitude of restoration, stating, "Each day brings more progress... but this is going to take time.”"
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"Acting superintendent?" Where's Mike? He's done so much for the park and seems to like it a lot. Hope he's okay.
(2023-09-11, 04:14 PM)Bluegreen kayak Wrote: "Acting superintendent?" Where's Mike? He's done so much for the park and seems to like it a lot. Hope he's okay.

He logged an ascent of a peak in Alaska on Aug. 27th.  Maybe just on vacation?  A hell of a time to be away from the job.  Poor Ben Roberts Smile

Also just found a couple news articles that quote Mike regarding the Hilary cleanup on Aug. 23rd. So yeah probably on vacation.

The internet sure is creepy sometimes.

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