Artist’s Drive and Palette

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Death Valley - Artist Drive

Artist’s Drive in Death Valley National Park is a one-way paved road through a canyon in the Black Mountains with multi-colored formations that will blow your mind!  It’s about a nine mile loop and is restricted to vehicles less than 25′ long.  I made this drive on January 25, 2016 and learned they had just re-opened it after  about 8,000 tons of debris was removed following a massive flood that hit the park in October.

Death Valley - Artist Drive scene

If you think I did anything to amplify these colors, you’re wrong.  If anything, the colors of the mountains were even more vivid and the sky really was that blue!  Amazing, huh?

Artist's Drive - downhill

Hilly dips …

Artist's Drive - curvy road

… and sharp curves

Artist Drive - hill

… and narrow roads with hills and sharp curves

Artist Drive - curve 3

… are some of the reasons I suppose the 25′ maximum vehicle length is a good idea.

Death Valley Artists Pallette

Artist Palette is a short drive down a cut-off from the main road that leads to this closer up view.  A sign tells us these colors are from volcanic eruptions that deposited ash and minerals that were chemically altered by heat and water.  That’s way too scientific an explanation for something this supernaturally beautiful!

Artist Drive Shadow

That’s my shadow waving at myself.

This drive is considered a must-see when you’re in Death Valley, and the other one I kept hearing about was Scotty’s Castle.  Unfortunately, that was still closed with no hope of it being open during my time here.  Such a bummer that such an iconic attraction was so heavily damaged in a flash flood by 1-4 feet of mud and debris flowing through it and the visitor center.  To make matters even worse, 10 miles of the roadway leading there was washed away. Oh well, another reason to return for more exploration here another time.


All Malia’s Miles Death Valley pages:

Death Valley Index  ♦  Artist’s Drive  ♦  Desert in Bloom 

Badwater Road sightsNatural Bridge Hike


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