I picked a warm sunny day to head up into the Panamint Range of Death Valley. This would be an easy day to see some of the top tourist sights. My first introduction to Death Valley. I headed up the Wildrose Canyon aiming to see the charcoal kilns. My first surprise was to see broad somewhat flat valleys on top. I had created in my mind an image of steep sharp valleys. That image was so very wrong.
Along the road to the Wildrose Kilns is a historic marker with a section of spiral wound riveted steel pipe. This is a section of the pipe that conveyed water from Telegraph Peak to the Skidoo Mill, a distance of 22 miles. I read the sign with somewhat amazement knowing how far away Skidoo was. Skidoo was to be my next stop after seeing the kilns.
According the the Death Valley National Park web site, it is believes that the Wildrose Kilns are the best surviving example of charcoal kilns in the western states. Quite a statement.
They were impressive to see – quality workmanship.
The next stop was the Skidoo Mill. I was a bit uncertain about this venture and couldn’t get a clear picture of the road from the people I talked to. Did it have a scary drop off on one side? I explained my irrational fear and was just told that the road was in good shape. Off I drove to Skidoo with my fingers crossed the road wouldn’t scare me. And it didn’t scare me. The only bit I didn’t like was a two mile section that was narrow and had few places to pull over if you meet someone driving the other direction. This could require backing up for a distance, but fortunately I didn’t encounter anyone on that section of road. The view of the valley below was tremendous in a few locations. But no pictures – I was on the narrow section of road and I wasn’t stopping for photos. And as I drove there, a valley appeared and I was at the Skidoo townsite.
Onward I drove to the mill site. See the end of this post for parking etiquette at the mill site.
When I got to the mill site I just stood there and adsorb the view. It is special. You can see all the way to the valley below. The picture below doesn’t convey the emotions of being there. Go see it for yourself.
I still had one more stop to make that day – the Eureka Mine. This was a simple venture to a well visited mine.
There were other areas to explore in the area that I left for another trip. It doesn’t make sense to see everything in one trip. What would I do if I came through the area again?
Off I drove to my home for the night. Driving down the Wildrose Canyon Road, I suddenly came upon a view of velvet brown hills. It was one of those kind of sights that makes you stop to take a picture.
Skidoo Mill Parking Etiquette
I’m passing on the etiquette that was explained to me. Park next to the mine adit on the left side of the road.
You can drive .25 mile further to a gate and park, but there is only room for one vehicle to turn around and park at the end. So if you decide to drive to the end to park, you may have to backup to the parking area I mention, if someone is already parked there. Or you may cause someone else to backup to the parking are.
Park at the audit.