Back in Stovepipe Wells village, I topped off the gas tank and paused for some strategery. Knowing the roads marked for 4×4 only were aptly rated, I reluctantly crossed many destinations off the list (sorry Racetrack Playa, another time). But fear not, Death Valley has plenty to do without a monster truck! I took a left at the junction heading north towards Ubehebe Crater, a half-mile wide volcanic crater. Hey look, my favorite type of trail signs!
Aside from being a giant hole in the ground caused by volcanic explosions, this place is unique because you hike right on the rim all the way around. I chose a counter-clockwise direction which starts by climbing up a mild grade of tiny rolling pebbles that caused you to slide back with each step. Views at the top of this short climb were already breathtaking and you could see the widest view of the main crater. [Don’t forget to click photos for a full-screen view!]
Around the first bend there is a mini-loop circling another small crater affectionately called “Little Hebe”. Not much to see up close…
…but once back on a higher point of the main loop you get a cool aerial perspective.
About 1/2 way around you get views across the crater back north.
The terrain seems to stretch infinitely between the mountains.
Back on the homestretch to the parking lot is another northern perspective without the crater. If it wasn’t for the road, this place would feel like the moon.
Overall this was a relatively easy hike. No idea why the GPS data says I was moving 15mph at the start but that would be awesome to have super speed! I didn’t hike down into the crater because frankly the view down there didn’t look too appealing compared to top-side. Definitely would put this on my “must see” list if you’ve never been to the park before.Lat = 37.009407 , Long = -117.4497147 -- Show at Google Maps