Death Valley National Park, Central and West Sections
Stove Pipe Wells is the main developed area in the Western section of the park. Stove Pipe Wells has a gas station, small store, horrible campground and motel. The Mesquite dunes are the big attraction near Stove Pipe Wells. They are usually over-run with tourists. Emigrant campground west of Stove Pipe Wells is very small (10 sites), often full, completely lacking in privacy and right next to the highway, but free if you can get a site. Emigrant Canyon Road heads North up into the mountains from Emigrant campground and highway 190 leading to several points of interest. A small abandoned mining camp (Eureka Mine pictured below) and Aguereberry Point (also below) are on Aguereberry Point Road off of Emigrant Canyon Road. Emigrant Canyon Road is fine until near the Wildrose campground. From Wildrose to the Panamint Valley the road is washed-out and bolder-strewn. Aguereberry Point Road is fine up to Eureka Mine. To Aguereberry Point from the mine, the road gets progressively worse and will likely cause damage to a 2 wheel drive vehicle or be completely impassible. The view from Aguereberry Point is spectacular (picture below). The Eureka mine is also very interesting and open to exploration. I have not been to the charcoal kilns or Skidoo but hope to go one day.
West of Towne pass on highway 190 is the Panamint Valley. The Panamint valley is much smaller and not nearly as deep as Death Valley but is beautiful in its own way. Panamint Springs resort is an odd, old development on the Western edge of the Valley. There is a small motel, gas station/store and a horrible campground at Panamint Springs. The campground is however very cheap $8. The Father Crowley viewpoint is above Panamint Springs resort on the side of highway 190. The parking area off the highway for the view point is not the view point. Many people seem to not understand this. The view point is down a short gravel road away from the parking area. It might be better to walk this stretch of road than to drive it though. It's rough. Training flights from near-by China Lake air station often fly directly underneath the Father Crowley viewpoint. Fighter jets and attack helicopters come out of nowhere and plunge into the small canyon below the viewpoint. You can look down into the cockpits of these aircraft while they're flying hundreds of miles an hour just a few hundred feet away. Father Crowley is also a good spot for night photography but only in the early morning. It gets incredibly windy at the view point in the evening and the winds don't die down until very late.
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