Mojave Desert and Death Valley Ride – Day 6

Ride through Titus Canyon - Death Valley

Ride through Titus Canyon - Death Valley

I have to stop saying that today was the best motorcycle ride ever. It’s getting repetitious. But, today was an amazing day. We rode through Titus Canyon, and then to Scotty’s Castle and the Ubehebe Crater.

We had a quick breakfast at the Forty Niner Cafe. Food was quite good. We started the morning on Highway 190, then Beatty Road and Highway 374 into Beatty, Nevada. We filled up with gas and I bought an extra water to top off my hydration pack. Then we backtracked along Highway 374 to the eastern entrance to Titus Canyon.

The road through Titus Canyon was a narrow 4WD trail along cliffs, and then through the canyon. Fortunately, it’s a one-way road so you don’t have to worry about vehicles coming the other way.

 


 

Titus Canyon ranks up there with Yosemite and the Badlands as the most scenic places I’ve ever been, let alone rode a motorcycle. I knew very little about Death Valley and Titus Canyon before this trip, and I’m glad I didn’t research it. That just made the adventure even more amazing since I didn’t know what to expect.

A large part of the trail tracks along through winding hills along cliffs. It isn’t a very difficult ride, but some areas do require a bit of caution on a large adventure motorcycle. Much of the trail is a deep red due to the iron ore content of the rock. It just makes the setting even more dramatic. We stopped for a short break at a very scenic overlook. We could see much of the trail leading up to this point, and a lot of the trail ahead of us.

Shortly after we started riding again we reached the ghost town of Leadfield. It was a mining scam, like many of the other scams in the early days of Death Valley. The town of Leadfield was established in 1925 based on exaggerated claims of lead ore discoveries. It had a population of about 300 people in 1926, but by 1927 it was abandoned. You can still see the old mine entrance, but there’s not much else left but a few old shacks.

A short distance up the trail we reached the petroglyphs. These are rock carvings done by early Native Americans. I assume they are historically significant, although I know nothing about who created them.

Just past the petroglyphs we reached the most beautiful part of Titus Canyon. We entered a narrow canyon with steep rock cliffs on either side. The height of the cliffs, narrowness of the canyon, and relative smallness of the motorcycles riding in front of me on the trail made this part of the Canyon look very dramatic. The ride through Titus Canyon is only 27 miles long, but it can easily take several hours taking into account the slow pace and many interesting places to stop and view the scenery.

After leaving Titus Canyon we rode to Scotty’s Castle. A strange sight for Death Valley, with an even stranger history. This is one of the most bizarre mining scams of Death Valley. A con artist named Walter Scott lured many investors into his mining scam. One of his investors, a Chicago millionaire named Albert Johnson, came to Death Valley to check out his investment. Despite discovering it was all a scam, he funded Scott to build this castle as a home for he and his wife when they fell in love with Death Valley. He even allowed Scott to use the castle as part of his scam as a demonstration of his mine’s success.

Out last stop was Ubehebe Crater, a large volcanic crater. The Ubehebe Crater is 600 feet deep, 1/2 mile across, with a 1-1/2 mile circumference. It was created by a large steam explosion when rising hot, molten rock contacted ground water. The area around the Ubehebe Crater is largely lava rock.

After a very nice day of exploring we headed back to Furnace Creek Ranch. Like last night, we started in the Corkscrew Saloon for a few drinks. Then we had a great dinner at the Wrangler Steak House. It was very nice. We enjoyed a nice relaxing dinner, as this would be our last night in Death Valley.

 

Related Posts

Day 5: Base Camp Alpha to Ballarat, Charcoal Kilns, Aguereberry Point then Death Valley

Day 5: Furnace Creek Ranch

Day 7: Death Valley to the Trona Pinnacles, Mojave Desert then back to Raw Hyde

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