It rises as the tallest dunes in California and perhaps North America.
The Eureka Dunes lie in the remote Eureka Valley, an enclosed basin at 3000 foot elevation located northwest of Death Valley. They rise nearly 700 feet and stretch 3 miles long and 1 mile wide. They are magnificent in their solitude and pristine beauty. There is nothing in this valley! There are no distant lights or towns, no gas stations or convenience stores. Civilization is pretty much left behind. You are on your own! Amazing!!!! The silence is palpable. Surrounding the dunes are the limestone walls of The Last Chance Mountains rising another 4000 feet. Quite something to behold.
You will be traveling on a gravel road in Eureka Valley (which connects to a road running from Big Pine to the Grapevine section of Death Valley). This is where it helps to have your high clearance vehicle. No off-roading is permitted anywhere in the park, but the going can be tough. It is probably a good idea to travel with someone who can offer a helping hand if need be.
The parking area at the foot of the dunes is adjacent to a meager campsite with Spartan facilities. So, bring with you everything that you need for the day. And as a follow-up suggestion, when you get hiking into the dunes, bring everything that you need by way of your camera equipment, as the walking is tough and returning to your vehicle may not be the best physical or time-management choice under the circumstances.
A couple of tips: Bring and drink plenty of water; apply sun-block and wear protective gear; wear good sturdy boots or shoes; please consider the eye cup that I recommended in my previous post PREPARING FOR DEATH VALLEY (the glare makes it extremely hard to see what you are doing, otherwise); and if you are considering the use of more than one lens, I strongly recommend you attach that extra lens to a second camera body as this is the last place you want to switch lenses out. You might remember that in my post THE ROAD FROM SAN QUIRICO TO PIENZA I discussed the hazards of this exercise due to the drifting air particles and such in Tuscany. At least under those circumstances, you could make your way back to your vehicle. You probably won’t have the same luxury once on the dunes.
Be patient and wait for the light. Tonight we head to Stovepipe Wells where we will bunk for the rest of the week.
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