Artist’s Drive (Death Valley National Park, CA)

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Artist’s Drive, Death Valley National Park, January 2020

Artist’s Drive is a popular, 9-mile one-way scenic road in the heart of California’s Death Valley National Park that weaves through craggy badlands and skirts colorful hillsides in the shadow of the Black Mountains. The drive bears east from Badwater Road, roughly 10 miles south of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center, in Death Valley. Climbing up out of the salt flats, the drive offers views of the western flank of the Black Mountains (most illuminated in the evening) and the Panamint Range across the valley. Gray and brown hues give way to more diverse colors at Artist’s Palette, a beautiful landscape of greens, oranges, and purples caused by the oxidation of iron, manganese, and mica. Beyond Artist’s Palette, the drive descends through narrow canyons in the Artist’s Drive Formation, finally leaving the yellow badlands at the end of the 9-mile journey, returning to Badwater Road.

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Toward the start of Artist’s Drive, looking down at Death Valley and the Panamint Range

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Telescope Peak and the Panamint Range from Artist’s Drive

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Artist’s Drive

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Approaching Artist’s Palette

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Artist’s Palette

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Artist’s Drive through the badlands

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