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Author Topic: Traveling to Eureka Dunes  (Read 5361 times)

bellimages

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Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« on: September 11, 2013, 10:46:38 PM »

I'm heading to Death Valley again. I've photographed the Mesquite Dines several times, and would like to shoot the Eureka Dunes on this visit. Any tips for traveling there? I'm guessing that the roads can't be any worse than the trip to the Racetrack (been there twice). I'm thinking that it might be better to drive in from Bishop, rather than make the trek from within the park.

Suggestions for shooting the dunes? What's it like hiking to the crest -- it's 700 feet of sand -- I'm guessing that it's not an easy hike for an old guy! Are the dunes at a higher elevation in Death Valley? If so, it might be cooler than the current 110 degree heat in the valley (where the Mesquite Dunes are located).

Can I camp at the Eureka Dunes? I hate to make such a long trek for a one-day shoot.
« Last Edit: September 12, 2013, 10:59:02 AM by bellimages »
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Jan Bell, Owner/Photographer, Bell Images
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B-Ark

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Re: Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2013, 07:44:19 AM »

Compared to the racetrack road, this one is a super highway. It can develop the dreaded washboard effect - just keep your speed on the high side or the low side, depending on your vehicle. Coming in from the Bishop side, its mostly paved, so driving is more effortless.

Yes, there is camping there - there's even picnic tables and an outhouse.
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langier

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Re: Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« Reply #2 on: September 12, 2013, 03:15:54 PM »

Good tires and a full gas tank from either direction is a must. Make sure you're prepared with the normal supplies and water. Plan on some walking and being there both late and early for the good light!
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« Reply #3 on: September 12, 2013, 04:49:31 PM »

Enter from Big Pine, for sure.  The inside-the-park road ("Death Valley Road" I believe) is long, rough and boring. There are zero services of any kind once you leave Big Pine.

The last 15 miles are gravel.  Those miles took me over an hour, but my vehicle hates washboard and so do all of its contents.

I'm 67 and I hiked in the dunes with relative ease.  I didn't climb to the very top on my last visit, though.  Shoes with wide soles will stop you sinking into the sand.  You soon learn where the soft bits are in the dune structure.


Eureka Dunes is challenging for humans and cameras alike.  I've been there several times, so that should tell you how much I love it.  It's FAR more fun to shoot than Mesquite Dunes and the location next to the Last Chance Range is spectacular.

Arriving and leaving mid day gives you a sunset and a sunrise and leaves the driving to the poor light hours.
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wittsend2

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Re: Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2013, 05:54:32 PM »

The road that goes to Death Valley out of Big Pine (junction about two miles east of Big Pine) was closed when I went to the White Mountains to shoot the Perseid Meteor Showers last month. I don't know the reason for or the length of the closure, but you might want to call the Bishop Ranger Station before you plan that route. Enjoy the trip!
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pluton

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Re: Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2013, 12:58:29 AM »

Late August thunderstorms did severe damage to Death Valley Road and Saline Valley road.  This may impact your approach from Big Pine.  Intrepid 4WD folks have made it through and the more that accomplish this, the better the path will be for those that may follow in HC/4WD vehicles.  Be sure and check the Death Valley Morning Report online.  Sometimes the report says "road closed" and it may be completely passable. Also, Inyo County will eventually repair the roads.  As for hiking around on the dunes, I recommend the inexpensive REI Desert Gaiters(http://www.rei.com/product/803452/rei-desert-gaiters).  Even with low top shoes, they'll prevent your shoes from filling with sand.  You can circumnavigate the dunes in a brisk 4 hour hike.
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Scott O.

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Re: Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2013, 11:44:30 PM »

I visited the dunes from the NP side last spring and the road was in excellent condition, having just been graded. Mostly flat and straight, except for the section near the border of the park. One hour 15 minutes out and 45 minutes back. But that was about a 70mph+ average, really much too fast. But in a properly equipped vehicle really a lot of fun. I think the park service says it should be about a two hour drive. Nothing at all like the Racetrack, which is rocky, rough and slow. When you get there it is a pretty good hike to the top...I didn't try it.

Roman Racela

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Re: Traveling to Eureka Dunes
« Reply #7 on: September 25, 2013, 05:15:10 AM »

Valuable tip: bring lots of toilet paper or a shovel if you're camping there for a few days :)
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