The Racetrack, Death Valley Junction
(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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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Vandals have hit the area, but there is still plenty to enjoy here. Rocks and tracks are best found at the far end of the playa and it is an easy half mile walk. Everyone wants to know about the road....  more »
  • The Racetrack is a "must see" if you go to Death Valley. This was on the top of my list to see, and I was not disappointed. We hired a guide to take us as the roads are "questionable" getting out ther...  more »
  • The Racetrack is a Death Valley anomaly. We were facinated by the rock tracks and following them across the playa is an interesting actiity. In the winter this can be a VERY cold place as the winds bl...  more »