Zabriskie Point to Badwater

Death Valley Trip 2013 | Day 3
Monday, February 11, 2013

My alarm woke me up a few hours before sunrise on Monday morning. I quickly got my camp loaded back in the Jeep and started the short drive over to the popular Zabriskie Point. As usual, I was the first to arrive with plenty of time to scout the location in the dark. I guess I should mention that it was my birthday. I had purposely planned this trip to coincide with my birthday, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend the day.

Looking over the badlands from Zabriskie Point shortly before the sun would rise for the day.

8509013640_084cfd1f8a_z.jpg
Zabriskie Badlands by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The prominent Manly Beacon, the Panamint Range and the Earth’s shadow come together for this scene.

8510666883_1366a0da04_z.jpg
Manly Dawn by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

First light on the Panamint Range on the other side of Death Valley.

8509239095_7cd2e07a81_z.jpg
Zabriskie Point Morning by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

There were even a few clouds if you looked further south. I love the light on the Panamints in this image.

8516594863_dd8fee2b69_z.jpg
Morning Light by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look at Manly Beacon while the Panamint Range in the distance is lit up by the early morning sunlight.

8506143494_1f4845824f_z.jpg
Manly Beacon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

One last view of Manly Beacon right after it is struck by direct sunlight.

8507910609_0c3464eb41_z.jpg
Zabriskie Point Sunrise by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I like the play of shadows and light in this view towards the Red Cathedral.

8511776308_83daefccaa_z.jpg
Red Cathedral Shadows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

When the sun was high enough in the sky I packed up my gear and drove the short distance to Furnace Creek. Since it was my birthday, I decided to stop in at the 49’er Cafe for a good hearty breakfast. Before long, my plate was empty and I was back on the road. This time I was headed back into Nevada so I could drive the Titus Canyon Road back into the park. Since Beatty, Nevada was only a few miles further, I continued into town to top off my gas tank. Gas was much cheaper in Beatty.

Following the well-maintained road through the Grapevine Mountains towards Titus Canyon.

8507907007_a405c35ecd_z.jpg
Titus Canyon Road by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I stopped for a quick photo here because I liked the unusual striations in the layers of rock that make up the canyon wall.

8507907519_bb2975bf77_z.jpg
Bent Rock by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After a nice drive through the mountains and canyon, I soon reached Klare Spring where there are a few petroglyphs to be found.

8507906569_0ba6b7ef24_z.jpg
Titus Petroglyphs by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

I’m guessing this represents a bighorn sheep.

8511776726_a81e7aa7d3_z.jpg
Klare Spring Sheep by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Soon I entered the Titus Canyon Narrows. There were a few bends with nice light reflecting off the canyon walls.

8511777918_158f29ff28_z.jpg
Titus Canyon Narrows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Another stop to capture the reflected light. Of course, after I rounded the next bend I started running into photographers standing in the middle of the road with their tripods setup…

8507911081_0678ed3b99_z.jpg
In the Narrows by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After exiting the canyon I drove south through Furnace Creek again and then followed the West Side Road to Trail Canyon. I drove up this 4×4 road a little way and setup my camp for the evening. This is the closest to sea level that I have camped in a long time.

8507906041_e3f0cbd801_z.jpg
Trail Canyon Camp by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Once my camp was setup I drove over to Badwater so I could photograph the interesting salt polygons that make up the floor of the basin.

8507907995_b29938ceae_z.jpg
Badwater Shadow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The last light of the day strikes the top of the mountains while the Badwater basin is in the shadows.

8511780038_55f1ea1004_z.jpg
Badwater Sunset by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

The shape and textures found in the salt are very unique. I spent a lot of time hiking around the area looking for different compositions. I thoroughly enjoyed the blue and magenta colors reflecting off the salt flat during twilight.

8509019906_de6d0461a4_z.jpg
Badwater Twilight by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After hiking back to my Jeep I noticed the sliver of a crescent moon over the Panamint Range and thought it might make a nice simple image. I switched over to my long lens for this shot.

8505031063_66ebe4c970_z.jpg
Crescent by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Since it was still my birthday I thought it would be nice to drive back to Furnace Creek and grab a burger at the 49’er Cafe. I ended up having to wait about 30 minutes to be seated, but they did have a pretty decent burger. After the meal, I drove back to my camp along the Trail Canyon Road and fell asleep very quickly after a long day exploring Death Valley.

>> Zabriskie Point to Badwater Photo Gallery


1 comment

  1. Steve Garufi March 1, 2013 11:22 am  Reply

    I love the desert so much. Great photos!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *