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Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Ubehebe Crater - Death Valley National Park

The most significant find in Death Valley this year was seeing the Ubehebe Crater.

Why after all these years of visiting Death Valley do I know know of and get to visit Ubehebe Crater?

The last few years I’ve wanted to explore the northern half of this vast National Park, but each year the sign to the road headed north says Scotty’s Castle is closed and campground is open.  Not wanting to go to this campground left me not making the 50 mile drive up to where the road is closed from being washed away, and yes the 50 mile drive back.  That’s 100 miles of driving and gas to see an open campground?  Sign didn’t list Ubehebe Crater or that it was available to be seen.

Look at the portion of the map above and That is the Northern half of Death Valley.  That is the road to Scotty’s Castle that is closed.  At the left of the end is the crater.

I was adventurous this year and decided I won’t drivevthe 100 mile round trip to the end of the road.  I then took the side road off from where the road is closed and what do I find, but the most beautiful feature in Death Valley.

From the parking lot you park at the rim of this crater in the  above picture.

You can hike around the circumference of the Crater at the parking lot or hike into the caldron.   I started up the high side of the crater and the view of the smaller craters was gorgeous.

You can see that people have hiked the rim of this crater too.  I have to say that it’s steep around the edges.  

I made it up to this spot where there were professional photographers poised for the right light I guess.

For me was this dead tree on the rim of One crater looking down at another.  

Here is a look back to the parking lot on the far side of the first crater.  I was told it was just over 3 miles around.  I was also warned that a climb insisted to the bottom was a slug.  I gather it meant tough walking.

The rim is steep and although there is an established trail if you are not careful and slide off it could be a bad day.

I stayed away from bad days but sticking to places I couldn’t get myself in trouble with.

A great reason to camp way out at the campground nearby is to hike this area around the craters and the adjacent hills to get a more aerial view of them.

The folks at the Death Valley visitor center don’t have anything to encourage people to visit this area and with no sign on a closed dead end road, I can see how I missed it in years past.

If you are going to be in Death Valley and are looking to see the sites, don’t miss out on one of the greatest sites in the Valley.  Just think this is a young crater at only about 2000 years old, not some worn down one.



  1. Thanks Brent, I'll keep this in mind for my next visit...

    1. Hi,

      It is a great place to tour. The cost of gasoline to get there and back does not make it easy on the wallet.

      There are some other things in the area that can be seen at the same time, and wandering is free.