Sunset Death Valley National Park

We found our comfort limit

Not Recommended

We found our comfort limit today. It is 8!

We did a narrow winding road, 30 miles long at less than 20 mph at 8% grade, sometimes it got steeper, and we went both up and down in first gear. At one time the canyon walls narrowed the road down to one lane. We were on California Highway 168 east of Big Pine crossing the White Mountains, north of Death Valley.

There was even a campground at the top. We were just passing through though. Not going back. Pretty.

I had considered camping at this campsite and used the logic of if there is a campsite, then there must be a way to get to the campsite. This proved to be a false logic.

We saw signs warning signs that Tractor-semis over 30 ft, kingpin to axel were not advised. What we missed was the other sign which on the east to west route spells it out more clearly including the words steep, narrow, curves not recommended for heavy vehicles. Nothing mentioned the one lane, between rocks section on any sign. I guess you could say that our comfort limit would not have been found, had we saw that sign.

Mountain Directory

Ok, this is a good time to plug a book that we didn’t have, but now reference anytime we leave major roads called the Mountain Directory. If we had read that book, before taking the road, we would have known what the signs said before we arrived and could have chosen different route days before our arrival.

Ok, this is the way we went. South of Bishop is a road that cuts across the White Mountains, California 168, which goes west to east from Big Pine to Oasis, then you turn right at Oasis onto California / Nevada 266 which then connects to U.S. 95.  This is the road you would take if you wanted to go to the Bristlecone Pine Forest, which includes the 4800-year-old Methuselah tree, the oldest documented tree in the world. White Mountain Road starts up from 168 and climbs northward taking you to the forest. At one point the 168 narrows to the point of one lane, between two rocks with no turn around points – the only option is to keep going.

What we should have done was taken U.S. Highway 6 from Bishop east to Tonopah or California 120 near Mono east to intersect U.S. Highway 6. California Highway 190 east from Lone Pine would have been preferred to 168 but not as easy as Highway 6. Our choice was the worst of all the possible routes.

Here is a link to the google map for the area.

Link to our 2018 Route.

Link to our route Boise to Las Vegas.

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