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The Death Valley Photo Club Field Trip – March 6 – 11, 2017

Planners Kathy Houston, Charlie Schuman, Truman Holtzclaw, Les Thomas and others organized a very interesting trip. Thirty people signed up. While we anticipated wildflowers, we saw only a few wildflowers, quite a contrast with the super-bloom of 2016. But many other photographic opportunities presented themselves.

Darwin Falls by Bill Kress

A few of the interesting places we visited in Death Valley

The Racetrack Playa and The Grandstand. Just under 30 miles on the roughest road you may ever have traveled (hopefully with a rented jeep with special tires) is a flat wonderland of moving (wind-driven) rocks. Worth the trip and steep jeep rental charges.

Darwin Falls. After a 3-mile bumpy dirt road ride and a half-hour hike over some large rock formations, we found these beautiful falls. A worthwhile trip. If you’re very agile, the second falls further up may be worthwhile.

Ubehebe and Little Ubehebe Craters. Surprisingly large.

Mesquite Dunes. Good morning/afternoon low-sun photo opportunities.

Teakettle Junction. We photographed our tea kettle there and brought it back with us.

Mushroom Rock. An unusual formation near State Road 190 just south of Furnace Creek

Furnace Creek Visitor’s Center. Interesting topographic map of the entire Death Valley area.

Golden Canyon. Nice walk with beautiful stones on the walls. Interesting mud cracks in the flats on the opposite side of Rt. 190

Ballarat  An old ghost town with old buildings and some strange people. An old car and a pickup truck provided interesting photos.

Below are some of the planning materials Les Thomas provided during the two pre-trip planning meetings. 

Daily Itinerary

Food & Dining

Presentations, Geology, etc

Racetrack Agenda

Death Valley Warning

Resources and References

Safety and Security

Flowers of Death Valley

February, 2016

Death Valley National Park 2016

Super-Bloom Year

Wildflower season at Death Valley starts in January or February at the lower elevations and extends to May and June at the highest elevations. The timing and quantity of wildflowers is dependent upon the amount of rainfall received in preceding months. During the El Niño weather pattern, with rains during the previous fall and winter, wildflowers of Death Valley can be spectacular. However, this is the exception. The spring of 2016 was a El Niño year and the desert bloomed accordingly.


The DesertUSA website is a useful resource, and describes recent conditions as observed by hikers and photographers.


Beautiful vistas and landscapes can be seen from Zabriskie Point, Dantes View, the Sand Dunes near Stove Pipe Wells, and many other locations.

DesertUSA Death Valley Wildflower Reports, Click    HERE   

National Park Service Map of Death Valley

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