The Racetrack, Death Valley Junction

4.3
#5 of 9 in Things to do in Death Valley Junction
The Racetrack Playa, or The Racetrack, is a scenic dry lake feature with "sailing stones" that inscribe linear "racetrack" imprints. It is located above the northwestern side of Death Valley, in Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, U.S..GeographyThe Racetrack Playa is 3608 feet above sea level, and 2.8mi long by 1.3mi wide . The playa is exceptionally flat and level with the northern end being only 1.5 inches higher than the southern. This occurrence is due to major influx of fine-grained sediment that accumulates at the north end. The highest point surrounding the Racetrack is the 5,678 feet high Ubehebe Peak, rising 1970 feet above the lakebed 0.85 mile to the west.The playa is in the small Racetrack Valley endorheic basin between the Cottonwood Mountains on the east and Nelson Range to the west. During periods of heavy rain, water washes down from the Racetrack mountain area draining into the playa, forming a shallow, short-lived endorheic lake. Under the hot desert sun, the thin veneer of water quickly evaporates leaving behind a surface layer of soft slick mud. As the mud dries, it shrinks and cracks into a mosaic pattern of interlocking polygons.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
229 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Rocky dirt road that goes for miles. One way in and same way out unless you continue another 95miles to the end. All take effort to get to the racetracks leaves us questioning if it was indeed worth i...  more »
  • As previous reviews have stated - it's remote and you need a decent Vehicle - we had a Ford Escape - and it got us there and back no issues. Labor Weekend Sunday - nobody around for miles. Nearest toi...  more »
  • It's not easy to reach. But, it'll be an experience you will never forget!!! To start, give yourself at least a half-day for this adventure. The road is rocky and at times very rough, especially if th...  more »

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