The Racetrack, Death Valley Junction

Categories: Deserts, Geologic Formations, Nature & Parks
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 200+ reviews on the web
The Racetrack Playa, or The Racetrack, is a scenic dry lake feature with "sailing stones" that inscribe linear "racetrack" imprints. It is located above the northwestern side of Death Valley, in Death Valley National Park, Inyo County, California, U.S..GeographyThe Racetrack Playa is 3608 feet above sea level, and 2.8mi long by 1.3mi wide . The playa is exceptionally flat and level with the northern end being only 1.5 inches higher than the southern. This occurrence is due to major influx of fine-grained sediment that accumulates at the north end. The highest point surrounding the Racetrack is the 5,678 feet high Ubehebe Peak, rising 1970 feet above the lakebed 0.85 mile to the west.The playa is in the small Racetrack Valley endorheic basin between the Cottonwood Mountains on the east and Nelson Range to the west. During periods of heavy rain, water washes down from the Racetrack mountain area draining into the playa, forming a shallow, short-lived endorheic lake. Under the hot desert sun, the thin veneer of water quickly evaporates leaving behind a surface layer of soft slick mud. As the mud dries, it shrinks and cracks into a mosaic pattern of interlocking polygons.
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  • During our planning for Death Valley, we knew we had to visit. We read all about how some idiots turfed the playa and it was beyond evident during our visit. We rented a Jeep from Farabee's and had a ...  read more »
  • It's a hell of a drive to get there! Two hours in and another two hours back out on a very rocky washboard road BUT worth it. Amazing how those stones can move and leave those tracks. If your vehicle ...  read more »
  • If you want to go to Racetrack playa I highly recommend renting a jeep at Farabee's. I've already tried to go there with a regular car and I had to turn back after 5 horrible miles. The employees ther...  read more »
Nearby Attractions
Visit for 1​h 30​m