California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 56

R E D R O C K C A N YO N STATE PARK

In just over four hours, travel from the heart of
Los Angeles to the middle of nowhere in Death
Valley National Park, the largest national park
outside Alaska. Despite the official stature as
the world's hottest place (a sizzling 134 degrees
in 1913), this land of hellish extremes is a desert
paradise from fall into spring, with colorful
canyons to explore and a newly renovated
luxury hotel in a natural oasis.
Heading north from downtown, I-5 travels between the Los Angeles

emerges from a modest canyon, and onto barren desert flats. To the
right, 500 oddly shaped spires and towers pop up out of nowhere.
A five-mile-long dirt road (suitable for all vehicles except after
rains) leads to the bizarre mineral formations of the Trona Pinnacles.
The tallest rises 140 feet, and the surreal landscape has drawn film
crews for everything from sci-fi movies to a Rihanna music video.
Back on the highway, stop into Trona's Trails Drive In for a
chocolate-dipped soft-serve ice cream before the 44-mile stretch
through empty desert on the way to Highway 190. Heading east,
the highway twists into the Panamint Range, topping out at
4,963-foot Towne Pass, then descends dramatically into Death

River and Griffith Park before running along the Verdugo Mountains

Valley. At Stovepipe Wells, you'll find a hotel and restaurant, as

and into the San Fernando Valley. At Sylmar, look to a hillside on the

well as a gas station, with nearby hiking available in the silent,

right, and you'll see water plunging down a twisting chute. This is the

undulating hills of Mesquite Flat Dunes.

Los Angeles Aqueduct Cascades, where water imported from the
Owens Valley finally reaches the city after 233 miles.
Head north on Highway 14, your route into the Mojave Desert. After

Continue seven miles past Stovepipe Wells, then go north on
Scotty's Castle Road. About 14 miles past the junction, a three-mile
unpaved road leads to parking at the mouth of Titus Canyon. From

stretches of suburbia, the highway reaches rugged mountains; on

here, a short hike leads to Titus Canyon Narrows, where the soaring

the left near Agua Dulce, look for the tilted formations of Vasquez

cliffs close to just 20 feet apart. Another 19 miles up Scotty's

Rocks Natural Area Park, a popular filming location. The highway

Castle Road, turn off for Ubehebe Crater. Hike along the rim of this

drops into the Antelope Valley then surges into open desert, bound

volcano on a 1.5-mile trail that edges the 600-foot-deep crater,

for the town of Mojave.

gouged by an eruption more than 2,000 years ago.

About 25 miles past Mojave, Highway 14 enters Red Rock Canyon
State Park, a stunning landscape of colorful, eroded buttes and

Double back to the junction on the nearly 60-mile drive to Furnace
Creek, the park's main visitor area. Once you reach Highway 190,

gulches. Another 20 miles up, take Highway 178 to Ridgecrest,

break up the trip with a brief detour. You would probably not expect

where the surprises include authentic French cuisine at Mon Reve

to see fish in Death Valley, which averages less than two inches of

and the excellent Maturango Museum.
East from Ridgecrest, there's another surprise as Highway 178

rain annually, but walk the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail late winter into
April, and you'll see tiny pupfish spawning in the shallows.



California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures

Contents
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Cover2
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - 1
California Road Trips - 50 Life-Changing Adventures - Contents
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