A thrill road to Red Pass in Death Valley NP

Red Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.589m (5,213ft) above the sea level, located in Inyo County, in the eastern central part of the U.S. state of California. The road is an adventure in itself: winding steep narrow cliff road, but well maintained.

Red Pass

Located to the east of Death Valley in the Mojave Desert of southeastern California, near the Nevada border, the pass is the highest point on the one-way road called Titus Canyon Road, also known as Leadfield Road. As the road reaches the foothills, it starts to climb and meander among the sagebrush and red rock outcroppings. The road becomes steeper and narrower as it approaches to the pass, aptly named for its red rocks and dirt. It can be rough at times as you go around the switchbacks. There are also steep drop offs that could make some uncomfortable. If you are scared of heights, you will probably want to skip this drive or close your eyes if you are the passenger.

A high-clearance vehicle with AWD or 4WD is highly recommended. Many sections are steep and rocky that a passenger vehicle would not be able to pass. The road is closed during the winter months when there is snow in the pass to the canyon. Plan your visit in the park. There are no facilities along this road. Drink plenty of water. Not recommended for longer vehicles such as RVs. Travel prepared to survive: Stay on paved roads in summer. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes. Carry extra drinking water in your car in case of emergency. If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or a headache, get out of the sun immediately and drink water or sports drinks. More people die in single-car accidents than by any other means. To avoid an accident, follow the speed limits, shift to a lower gear on steep downhill grades, and wear your seatbelt.

This is one of less traveled in Death Valley, very little traffic. Death Valley is one of the hottest places in the world, and climatic conditions in the park can be extreme. The world record highest air temperature of 134°F (57°C) was recorded here. Potentially dangerous animals include rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widow spiders, bees, wasps, coyotes, and mountain lions. Due its unique location it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. You must be prepared and use common sense. With an air conditioned vehicle you can safely tour many of the main sites in Death Valley. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help arrives. Never place your hands or feet where you cannot see first. Rattlesnakes, scorpions, or black widow spiders may be sheltered there. Avoid canyons during rain storms and be prepared to move to higher ground. While driving, be alert for water running in washes and across road dips. Do not enter mine tunnels or shafts. Mines may be unstable, have hidden shafts, pockets of bad air and poisonous gas. Hikers, backpackers and four-wheelers need to be self reliant and well prepared. Always plan ahead, carry detailed maps and let someone know your plans. Backpackers should obtain a free backcountry permit from any visitor center. Dial 911 from any telephone or cell phone. Cell phones may not work in many parts of the park. Do not depend on them.
Pic: rich cirminello