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Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

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Vancouver, Canada
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Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

I did get some great advice from Frisco R. that helped greatly with the planning so far. Thank you!.

We are staying at the Tecopa hot springs the first night and plan to get up and dawn to check out the park. The second night will be at Stovepipe Wells Village. We will explore more DV, and then continue up 395 and maybe stay in Lone Pine.

Then we are on to a northern loop of Mt. Whitney. NEED HELP figuring out the route home:

1. 6 to 95

2. 6 to 264/66 to 95

3. 168 to 95

Should we stay in Beatty the last night?

Also, do we have time for a visit to Mt Charleston?

Thank you in advance for any and all suggestions. I hope this is my best 40th birthday ever. Wink..

I am questioning the timing of our route.

Vancouver, Canada
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1. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

It seems that I may have made a mistake. While planning with google maps, I entered Stovepipe Wells and it looked to be in the middle of the park. Stovepipe Wells VILLAGE seems to be on the Eastern edge near Panamint. Should I change to Furnace Creek Ranch to have more time in the park/avoid backtracking?

San Diego...
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2. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

I'm kind of confused by what you mean by a "loop" of Mt. Whitney. You can't drive a loop around it. Certainly you can go from Death Valley to Lone Pine on the 190 to the 136. When you get to Lone Pine, you will have a great view of Mt. Whitney there. You can drive into the Alabama Hills, a very picturesque area just west of Lone Pine, and you can also drive further up Whitney Portal Road to Whitney Portal, and be virtually at the foot of Mt. Whitney. But that's as close as you can get to Mt. Whitney without hiking. (And hiking up Mt. Whitney requires a permit, and it will also be very cold even at Whitney Portal now. But you can easily see Mt. Whitney from Lone Pine and the 395 (provided the weather is clear).

You could continue north on the 395 and see more of the eastern escarpment of the Sierras, but most of the roads going up into them are still closed by snow. If the weather is clear, you will have a grand view of the snow-covered mountains to the west as you drive north on the 395. As far as your route back to Las Vegas, I don't know, I guess that depends on how far north you want to go.

San Francisco
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3. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

I'm glad we could help with your trip planning. And you've again shown why it's always good to ask your friends at TA before taking the word of Google, Mapquest, or any software program when planning trips.

Stovepipe Wells Village will be fine. It is only about 25 miles farther on from Furnace Creek. Since you're staying the first night in Tecopa, you'll be able to see many of the major sights in the east and central parts of the park the first day.

The other place you saw on the map to the north and east of the resort is Old Stovepipe Well, east of the Sand Dunes. It was a well in the early 1900s (now dry) where prospectors stuck a length of stove pipe to mark it so they could find it when sand drifted over the opening. There is a historic marker there now and you can get to it from a turnoff on the Castle Road. Near it is a grave marker that may or may not be the last resting place of a prospector named Val Nolan. (There is a lot of lore and legend about Death Valley that isn't always verifiable by historic fact).

In the 1920s when Bob Eichbaum was planning what is now Stovepipe Wells resort, He began building a toll road from the west. His intent was to have his resort in the middle of the Sand Dunes, and charge everyone else to use the road going into DV. But he ran out of paving supplies, so he stopped at that point and built where the resort is now.

If you stay in Lone Pine the third night, Hwy 6 is not a practical return route. It means going all the way to Bishop and Tonopah, and your trip from Lone Pine to Las Vegas will be close to 400 miles. Big Pine-168 is shorter, but still very round-about. Hwy 168 is a scenic, very lightly traveled road with no services to speak of (well, there is a college way out there, Deep Springs; google it for the story of a very interesting school unlike any other). This road comes out on 95 at Lida Junction. The distance this way is around 300 miles.

In contrast, returning back through Death Valley, but taking Castle Road and Mud Canyon to Rhyolite and Beatty, then 95, would be closer to 230 miles. This would give you more time to go to Mt. Charleston. It's north of the city, so coming down 95 (whatever way you get to it) makes good sense.

For either Big Pine-168 or Lone Pine-Mud Canyon-Beatty, yes, Beatty would be a nice stopover. It's a small town with limited but all essential services. It has the boggest candy and nut store in the DV region; I'll let you decide whether that's an essential service. Whether you come back through Death Valley or 168 and down 95, you can go to Rhyolite, a ghost town about 5 miles east of Beatty.

I hope it's your best 40th birthday too! I've had a couple of good ones myself. :^)

Vancouver, Canada
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4. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

Thanks, guys. I guess I meant a big loop from Vegas through Death Valley up 395 and back to Vegas. My husband is set on getting up into those Mountains, but I imagine we will cut over on 168 instead of going up 6 and back down.

You're the best!

Ya, I forgot about your advice on Google. I guess doing research in the wee hours of the am isn't the best, either. I can't wait. Will give you an update when we get back!

Edited: 25 April 2010, 05:55
San Diego...
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5. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

If this were later in the year, like mid-June or later, there would be many possibilities for side trips into the eastern Sierras and also to the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains east of the 395. But I think that most of the roads are probably still closed at this time, considering the recent storms that have come through. I'm not even sure if Whitney Portal Road is open now. But at least you can go to the Alabama Hills which are a 5-minute drive west of Lone Pine. There are many beautiful and scenic areas in the eastern Sierras, all the way from Lone Pine up to Reno. And in general it is less crowded than the national parks on the west side of the Sierras. But even driving up the 395 is spectacular if the weather is clear and you can see the snow-capped Sierras to the left. I would recommend taking a look at these sites, although many of the areas mentioned are not accessible yet. http://395.com and http://www.thesierraweb.com/

Pecos, New Mexico
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6. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

Hi,

I can't comment on which route to take as we only visited Lone Pine once from Utah last year. However, I do want to advise that if you take the Rhyolite/Beatty route make sure you stop at the ghost town in Rhyolite. It won't be a long detour, we poked around for about an hour or so, but it was really fun. There are a few "off the wall" art installations and opportunity for some great photos. It would be a shame to bypass it if you're in that area. In Lone Pine we were really happy staying at the Dow Villa motel. Clean, non-chain and very friendly in a great location. You can't beat the price either. Some of the rooms are recently remodeled so ask. We stayed in the motel section rather than the older hotel. For food Alabama Hills Cafe & Bakery has a great breakfast and is a cool little place. Bonanza restaurant may not be much to look at but we had some of the BEST Mexican food ever there. We try to find a good Mexican restaurant wherever we travel and we travel a lot. Lone Pine is a great little town and we can't wait to visit again. The advice about Alabama Hills is right, lots of fun, lots of great photos. Drive the "movie shoot" route. We are looking for more funky little towns like Lone pine to explore. Nevada City may be next. Enjoy your trip!

San Francisco
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7. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

joivietoo is probably in Death Valley at this very moment, and the envy of all the DV enthusiasts here who can't go just yet.

We're eagerly awaiting your trip report. :)

uk
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8. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

Stovepipe wells is a great centralish location - the sand dunes are back up the road before the hotel and first thing in the morning is the best time to visit them

1 Its cooler

2 better light and shadows for photo ops

Santa Clarita...
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9. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

At Hwy 136 and Hwy 395 (Lone Pine), there is a very helpful and informative Visitor Center. The entrance is on 136. They have a picture window with an awesome view of Mt. Whitney and comfy seating to sit, look and enjoy. Of course, they are there to answer any questions you may have at that time. We enjoyed our stop there six weeks ago.

San Francisco
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10. Re: Vegas Loop through DV to Mt Whitney 4 days NEXT WEEK!

Just sticking my head in to see if there was a TR yet.

:^)