Eureka Dunes, Death Valley National Park

4.5
#7 of 11 in Parks in Death Valley National Park
The Eureka Valley Sand Dunes are located in the southern part of Eureka Valley, in northern Inyo County in eastern California, in the southwestern United States. Although covering an area of only 3 square miles (8 km²), the dunes rise approximately 680 feet (207 m) above the surrounding valley floor, making them one of the highest dune fields in North America. Eureka Valley is a basin and range structural valley oriented northwest-southeast and enclosed by the Last Chance Range to the east and the Saline Range to the west. The Eureka Dunes themselves are located in the southeastern most tip of the valley and trend north-south, parallel to Last Chance Range. According to a USGS survey map, the surrounding mountain ranges contain rocks that date back to the Mississippian and Cambrian periods while the surficial deposits on the valley floor are made up mainly of alluvium dating to the Quaternary period. They are also classified as booming sand dunes, one of only about forty worldwide.Accessed via a gravel road in Eureka Valley (which connects to a road running from Big Pine to the Grapevine section of Death Valley), the dunes became part of the Death Valley National Park as part of its expansion in 1994. Foot travel in the dunes is permitted, but vehicle access is prohibited. A primitive campground is located at the north end of the dune field.MorphologyThe Eureka Dunes are an example of a complex-linear dune- the main ridge is a static linear dune but there are active star dunes formations superimposed on the linear dune A linear dune has alternating slip faces on opposite sides of the crest. This means it both sides of the dune have similar slopes and wind must have come from both the northern and southern ends of the valley. Star dunes have "arms" radiating off of a central crest that change direction as the wind direction changes. Little is known about the past of the Eureka Dunes and its development. The sand source is unknown, although some scientists believed that it originated from an ancient lake at the northern end of the valley.
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  • I tried to get to Eureka Dunes back in Oct 2017. Leaving Big Pine and heading east . The sign as you turn into Death Valley Rd says that there is 25 miles of surfaced road before you hit the unsurface...  more »
  • The Death Valley is a fantastic place! Is a very low ground surrounded by very high mountains. In the Middle has areas below sea level (and dry), and this beautiful field of dunes. It's beautiful and intriguing. The temperature is too high, don't risk any hike without a hat and water.
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  • Get out and walk out into the sand. Beautiful thin but also really hot. Had burned almost feet us ;-)
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Where to stay in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park provides numerous developed campgrounds where you can pitch a tent. Some of these are free, and some are open year-round, while others only offer camping in the cooler, non-summer months. There are a few privately owned and operated lodges and inns in the park, most of which feature rustic accommodations. With its upscale lodging, the Furnace Creek Inn stands as an exception. The town of Beatty, on the Nevada side of the park, offers a few basic inns and motels and a couple of casinos. On the California side, Randsburg sits farther away from the park's popular Furnace Creek area, but the town offers numerous economy motels and views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.
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