Death Valley Riding Condition

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by 2on2off, Dec 18, 2009.

  1. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    I have ridden the single track on Manly Pass south of the two wheel drive road and is has one difficult down down hill section that I am going to pass on this trip because one of the riders is just getting into dual sports after 10 years off of dirt bikes. But you are right about it being fun.

    Here is a video I shot of the single track we are talking about. Rode this 3.5 years ago
    Part 1:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ciZ53-147n8

    Here is part 2:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7VcLy_Fui3A
  2. YellowjacketD37

    YellowjacketD37 Been here awhile

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    Thanks for posting the videos of Manly Pass. Now I can show my dad what we missed out on from our October 5th ride. The videos show how I remember it.

    For all I know though, the trail could now be washed out some because of that July 29 storm and be a rutty mess.
  3. Michaelfish

    Michaelfish Been here awhile

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    The weather out here is PERFECT! Too bad I gotta work.:cry
  4. DesertMac

    DesertMac n00b

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    Did a ride out in the Panamints this evening and here is the latest. There is gas available in Trona, both at the T-Stop (Valero) and the Shell station. The Trona-Wildrose road is closed at the turnoff to Balarat (big dirt berm) but the Indian Ranch road is a easy alternate around the road block and the road is a dirt freeway. Wildrose is closed up into the park but Panamint Valley road toward Panamint Springs appeared to be open but I didn't ride it over to 190 to verify. The Escape Trail/Manly Pass road from the gravel pit is pretty messed up from all the rain. It was doable with a dual sport with knobbies but it would be tough on a bigger bike. Pretty much a rock fest. The single track looked OK from above but I didn't ride it down to to check out the entire trail. I am guessing the bottom section is pretty washed out base on the condition of the road. Goler Wash was also a mess with lots of rock waterfall step ups. The jeeps will love it, the dual sports can probably struggle through but it would be tough going on a loaded adventure bike.
  5. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Gas availability in Trona has been unreliable for the past three years. There was gas last weekend but I would call before heading out to make sure they will have gas if you need to top off there.

    Trona T-Stop Valero: 760-372-4761

    Trona Shell: 760-372-5300

    We talked to the Shell owner. He has owned this gas station for 22 years and had it when it was Chevron. He said they should always have gas from now on. He was building two tables for customers to sit at while taking a break.

    He said he had to replace some pipe at the top of the underground tanks and that is what had held him up for so long. California regulators to deal with.
  6. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    Did a 3 day ride with two other friends last weekend, two KTM 500 EXC's and one KTM 525 EXC, and here is what we learned:

    1. All the dirt roads we rode have been affected by this past summers three flash floods, with the exception of Indian Ranch Road (smooth, wide dirt freeway between Ballarat and Trona/Wildrose Road) and some dirt roads west of Darwin.

    2. Manly Pass (the escape route) Much rockier than last year and the rock garden at the bottom of the east end is even more of a pain than in the past. Trail almost completely disappears in the rocks at the bottom

    3. Goler Wash: The first step up is harder than last year and there are two additional steps about 50 yards east that were easier. Didn't have time to ride Mengle Pass to check out the rocks. One of our riders was exhausted by the time we finished Manly Pass, Goler Wash and got to Charlie's Cabin so we headed back down.

    4. Indian Ranch Road from Ballarat to the north is the best route to highway 190 from Trona. The closed section of pavement between the turn off to Ballarat and highway 190 has some deep sand detours around the messed up pavement.

    5. Nadeau dirt road is a "rock fest" that will beat you to death. If you like that kind of trail, go for it. It is generally flat but it is full of rocks of all shapes and sizes with some deep sand and gravel thrown in for fun.

    6. The pavement from where Indian Ranch Road connects with Trona/Wildrose Road and then Panamint Valley paved road to highway 190 is in good shape with some dirt mounds blocking part of one lane. This section of paved road is closed but we saw many cars driving it. The dirt that is on the road might be hard to see in the dark. Any new storm could dramatically change the conditions as dirt is piled up in sections along this road.

    7. Swansea steps riding west to east are more difficult than last year and the whole Swansea, Salt Tram, Cerro Gordo Loop to Cerro Gordo is torn up in sections. The lower western section of Swansea road is a rock fest in places caused by the floods.

    I would now rate this a "black diamond" trail. It was easier last year. The steep downhill section a few miles east of the Salt Tram is looser and more rocky than last year.

    8. Cerro Gordo Road from highway 136 to Cerro Gordo is smooth and graded.

    The most difficult part of all of this for me was the step at Goler Wash. Nadeau Road was the most tiring because of all the rocks that seemed to go on and on and on and on. Did I mention is was also hot and my radiator fan seemed to stay on the whole time.

    Overall a good three day ride but the dirt road conditions in and around the Death Valley area seem to be getting worse each year. I'm glad I was on a light dual sport this weekend.
  7. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    As of October 18, 2013:

    West side of Trona Road:
    [​IMG]

    Manly Pass
    [​IMG]

    Goler Wash Steps
    [​IMG]

    Trona/Wildrose Road between Ballarat Turn off and Indian Ranch Road intersection
    [​IMG]

    Fun Dirt Roads west of Darwin
    [​IMG]

    Olancha Dunes
    [​IMG]

    The easy section of the road to the Salt Tram
    [​IMG]

    The turnoff to Nadeau Road from highway 190 heading south
    [​IMG]

    What Nadeau becomes
    [​IMG]

    Trona/Wildrose Road at the Ballarat Turnoff
    [​IMG]

    Looking north at the Trona/Wildrose Road at the Ballarat Turnoff
    [​IMG]
  8. dyvking

    dyvking ahead of his flamin star

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    Great intel and pix, Jim
  9. roamtheglobe

    roamtheglobe Been here awhile

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    Ill be heading to DV next week, leaving this saturday (10/26), Bishop first and the White mountains, then south. Looking for lots of adventure riding. Will be on big bikes with knobbies... Any route advice is appreciated! If anyone wants to join for a day or few- hit me up.
  10. Odiegreen73

    Odiegreen73 Marginal Adventurer

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    Roamtheglobe, Looking to head out that way this weekend. Will head into DV via Baker -- I'll keep my eyes out for you or if your looking for someone to ride with let me know.

    Trying to head up that way early Friday and camp out there Sat.

    Odie
  11. roamtheglobe

    roamtheglobe Been here awhile

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    Cool- I'll be with 2 buddies. Probably won't be down towards DV until Monday or Tues. Will try to check in on here though...
  12. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    The dirt roads west of Darwin were the roads in the best condition we rode last weekend.
    [​IMG][​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  13. pcvance

    pcvance Walk Verplank

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    Cactus flats:nod
  14. rider914

    rider914 Agnostic Adventurer

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    Thanks for all the great pics and info Jim :thumb

    :nono
    Centennial Flats :thumb
    Cactus Flats is south of Olancha, east of Hwy395.
    Both areas offer some great desert riding :ricky

    -M
  15. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

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    thanks jim for the update. nice RR too.

    the road from gold point to death valley road is in good shape and sandy in many sections.

    inside the park, saw this road closure signs on dv road, some sections were rough but we didn't see any damaged road except for 1 little section.
    [​IMG]

    the rest of the conditions here.....gold point rally
  16. Odiegreen73

    Odiegreen73 Marginal Adventurer

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    Heading out to Death Valley this weekend. Heading up Friday Afternoon then camping over at Panamint Springs. I'll be out on my 990 and a friend from work on his KLR.

    Been reading the ride reports as of late, over here at Fort Irwin we got hit with the same Storms that plagued Death Valley.

    Any-who if your out keep your eye out for us

    Odie
  17. johngil

    johngil Reseda, CA

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    Heading out for a long weekend. We'll see what's what and report back.

    [​IMG]
  18. notmybikemodelname

    notmybikemodelname KOTW is a myth!

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    That's a good story, have another one?

    But, by "best condition" you mean no fun, Right?

    Because Goler looks more fun to me.

    [​IMG]
  19. 2on2off

    2on2off Head'n somewhere new

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    If you really want to have some fun, ride all of Nadeau Road and have someone follow you with a helmet cam. You would have fun and we would have fun watching the video. Go for it and get back to us.
  20. notmybikemodelname

    notmybikemodelname KOTW is a myth!

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    That's a good story, have another one?
    Hope to be out there in December with some ill reputes. Ridden it many, many times. Can't be any harder than the shit I've been riding lately in the Piutes and Greenhorns. Rougher = Better. :clap