Pleasant Canyon Road is a difficult drive in the Death Valley NP
Pleasant Canyon Road/South Park 4x4 Loop is a very challenging trail located in the Death Valley National Park, in California, USA. Rough 4WD vehicle needed. Washouts and large boulders. Narrow, rocky road for experienced 4WD drivers only. It’s one of the challenging Backcountry roads in the Death Valley National Park.
The trail, also known as South Park Canyon - Pleasant Canyon loop is only for 4x4. The drive is 23/30 mile long and starts at the intersection of Ballarat Road and Wingate Road just southeast of the ghost town of Ballarat, at an elevation of 1200' and rises to 7100' at the top of Roger's Pass. Most of this trail is easy to moderate; however, the steepest, narrowest sections of both Pleasant Canyon and South Park Canyon are susceptible to water damage and rock movement, sometimes creating difficult conditions. Stock SUVs would have had difficulty negotiating these stretches. South Park Canyon is quite steep and is always difficult going up from west to east.
After rain, even a single rainfall, conditions of the road can be challenging. Adverse weather conditions can prompt closure of the road. The trail is safe, wide enough yet the angles make you think you are climbing to the top of Everest. For the most up-to-date information on road conditions, visit Death Valley’s website at nps.gov/deva. 4WD road off Indian Ranch Road into west side of Panamints. South Park Canyon Road is very rough, but allows a loop from South Park back down into Panamint Valley.
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. 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: B Spec
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