The Racetrack, Death Valley Junction

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#5 of 9 in Things to do in Death Valley Junction
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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The Racetrack Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
231 reviews
TripAdvisor
  • We visited in November. The rangers in the visitor center discourage us from driving to the Racetrack as they said the road had lots of jagged rocks that were known to pierce and shred tires. They war...  more »
  • It takes about 1.5 hours to get here from Ubehebe crater. The drive requires high clearance, but not necessarily 4WD. Be very careful in the Racetrack parking area. After 27 miles on the washboard roa...  more »
  • Rocky dirt road that goes for miles. One way in and same way out unless you continue another 95miles to the end. All take effort to get to the racetracks leaves us questioning if it was indeed worth i...  more »

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