The drive back south from Ubehebe Crater is a fantastic scenic cruise but there aren’t many attractions until you get back near Stovepipe Wells. Daylight was fading so I made the call to check out some of the smaller areas, one of which is the Salt Creek Interpretive Trail.
This short trail covered by a boardwalk is easily accessible for visitors of all age and abilities. The path winds through a marshy saltwater creek which thus far has been the only naturally occurring water I’ve seen in the park. The area is home to an endangered pupfish species which have evolved to withstand the highly salinated conditions.
Where there is water (even salt water in a desert), there is other life. Birds are common in this area and feed off insects attracted to the vegetation. This was the only non-human animal I spotted during my time here.
Pickleweed and saltgrass blanket the marsh. The rest of the park is so arid, I could feel the salt and humidity hanging in the air.
One last photo from near the parking area. The sun was quickly falling below the horizon line and it was time to head back towards camp.
The trail is rated at 0.5 miles with no elevation change. Not sure why my data logging shows the 100ft change – did I learn how to fly? Oh well, technology in Death Valley often works how it wants to. Would suggest this to any visitors for a nice peaceful walk and the chance to see rare wildlife.
Also at the point I took photo #4 above, the map showed the trail extending but I saw no way to leave the boardwalk without risking damage to the ecosystem (this could be due to discrepancies in the OpenHikingMap data but not sure). I wanted to include this to show how important it is to know your routes and have good maps – not particularly for this area, but it becomes more life critical on those remote trips.Lat = 36.5906296 , Long = -116.9901581 -- Show at Google Maps