Dante's View is a viewpoint at an elevation of 1.669m (5,476ft) above the sea level, located in Death Valley National Park, California, in USA. It’s one of the hardest and most epic climbs you can ride on two wheels.
The road to the overlook is called Dantes View Road. It’s asphalted and pretty steep. From the Dante's View parking lot, visitors can take several paths, one of which leads to the very brink of the edge, offering a dramatic panoramic view. Beginning at -85.5m at the dry, salt-covered Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America, the first 25km of the ride up to Dante’s View is virtually flat and the next 30km of asphalt rises steadily at around four percent. But the sting in the tail is the increasing gradient the higher it gets. The final kilometre reaches 13 percent, before the road ends in a small car park overlooking the valley. Hopefully you'll be more alive than dead to enjoy the view.
The experience of using this road is very impressive. The road's winding design, providing stunning panoramic views, is very curvy and fun for a leisurely ride, so it pays to take it slow. The view from the top of the Black Mountains is considered to be one of the great photographic spots in Death Valley. Just below you is Badwater, the lowest point, at -282 feet and across the valley, barely visible in the distance is Mt. Whitney, the highest point, at 14,496 feet. America’s Death Valley is not generally known as a great place to ride. With summer temperatures routinely hitting 49°C and landmarks with names like Funeral Mountains, Devil’s Golf Course and Coffin Peak, you can see why. But where in the world could you ride from below sea level to almost 1,700m above in one hit?
The drive is definitely worth it. Don’t forget your camera! The best time to visit Dante's View is in the cooler morning hours, when the sun is in the east. Dante's View is a filming location in Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope. 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. Plan your visit in the park. Drink plenty of water. Avoid hiking in the heat. 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. 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.
Due its unique location and the climb in elevation over thousands of feet, and passing through remote areas, it is important when driving in these conditions to be prepared. Keep in mind that the elevation at Furnace Creek is sea level and Dante's View is 5,475 feet. As the sign says at the summit, there is usually a 25 degree temperature change between the valley floor and the summit. 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.
This infamous road is tightly hairpinned and bumped, an exquisite winding mountain drive with sharp and blind curves and hairpin switchbacks leading the traveler over the mountains. A trip to Dante's View is all pavement and not difficult. The total distance is 23.5 miles and it is a subtle climb until the last 5.5 miles. At this point, the road is marked "limited access" and vehicles or vehicle-trailer combinations longer than 25 feet (7.7 meters) are not allowed. This last section is very steep with sharp, hairpin corners. There is, however, an "escape" for vehicles with trailers since there is no backing up or turning around once your on Dante's View Road.