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The Racetrack, Death Valley Junction

(4.4/5 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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • The movement of these rocks when the ground is wet or partially icy and the wind blows hard makes this area quite unique. A great photo spot and fun to explore.  more »
  • We rented a high clearance 4x4 jeep. It took us 3 hours from Furnace creek. The way there is bumpy and slow and pretty boring. But the reward of the sight is totally worth it. It's very windy. Your fi...  more »
  • unfortunately, people stole the rocks and then the summer of 2016, someone did wheelies and basically destroyed most of the area per local rangers  more »