Saline Valley Hot Springs Campout


DATE: May 07, 2015
END DATE: May 10, 2015

Hike/Event Location: San Diego CA

Trip Leader(s)

Meeting Time: 3:00 PM

Max # People: 10

Hike Guiding / Event Fee: No, I will not be asking participants for money

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Enjoy a primitive desert camping to enjoy the stillness of the desert, soaking in hot springs, and clothing optional camping at remote western area of Death Valley National Park.  My camping trip is at the Saline Valley Hot Springs Thursday, May 7 through Sunday May 10th. This is primitive camping and you must bring EVERYTHING including drinking, cooking and cleaning water, food, fuel, any necessary medication and everything else.  There are no services or supplies in or around the area and the nearest is Lone Pine 50+ miles away. The Park Service maintains a few pit toilets.  

Saline Valley has several hot springs with built-up tubs supplying hot thermal spring water. The first is the the Lower Springs where there are several pools, grass and the volunteer “caretaker”.  We will be camping about couple miles up at the Palm Hot Springs which features two hot soaking pools - the Wizard and Volcano. It is not “cool” to camp directly next to the hot springs tubs. Camp in areas surrounding either of the two Palm Hot Springs where camp sites have been before. There is an open air shower and a dishwashing sink, all supplied with spring water. The entire area is clothing optional, and this is one of the few National Park areas for an opportunity to camp “textile free”. The National Park Service is currently conducting an “environmental review” and alternatives analysis... which means the public may soon lose use of the pools, clothing optional and primitive camping depending on what “preferred option” is ed by the Park Service  http://parkplanning.nps.gov/projectHome.cfm?projectID=39438 .  

Expect miles of isolating desert, little vegetation, no shade (shade structure or tent is highly recommended), mountain views, hot days and isolation from from the "real" world, and likely no cell service. Clear night sky will be filled with stars and in the day an occasional buzz by Navy fighter jets on low altitude training.  

Maintenance of the pools and the cleanliness of the entire area is handled on a voluntary, cooperative basis by all the campers. BYO toilet paper, help keep the area clean and be prepared to pack out all of your trash.  All the rules of Death Valley National Park apply, which means no firearms and no fireworks.

There are no none fees and no reservations. Show up and pick a spot. Try to find a spot by the either the Volcano or Wizard pools at the upper "Palm Hot Springs".  

Directions To Trailhead Parking Lot

Saline Valley Hot Springs is a very remote part of the western Death Valley National Park and the drive to get to the hot springs is an adventure requiring you to traverse about 35-45 miles of a rough dirt roads. You don't need a Jeep or 4WD, but you will need a reliable vehicle with good ground clearance.  Make sure your spare tire is in good shape too. There are two routes into Saline Valley, the southern route off Route 190 from Hwy 395 in Olancha, CA; and the the northern route off Route 168 from Lone Pine. Both routes can be quite rough. Southern and Northern route driving directions can be provided upon signup.  AAA ‘s  Death Valley National Park Guide Map is the best map that shows the dirt roads.

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