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Hiking Death Valley: A Guide to Its Natural Wonders and Mining Past Paperback – January 15, 2004

4.6 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 542 pages
  • Publisher: Wilderness Press; 1 edition (January 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0965917800
  • ISBN-13: 978-0965917803
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By CJB on September 8, 2005
Format: Paperback
The author, Mr Digonnet (or do you say "Doggonit" or "Dagnabit") is a great lover of the Death Valley region of the Mojave Desert, and seems to have dedicated a good portion of his life to studying it.

Just about all the information is there to plan a lifetime of hiking in this region. After a few brief chapters dealing with natural (e.g., geography) and human history, plant and animal life, desert hiking tips, and NPS and other services, we get into the meat of the text--the various regions, which are divided as such:

Grapevine Mountains

Funeral Mountains

Black Mountains

Valley Floor and Alluvial Fans

Last Chance Range

Cottonwood Mountains

Panamint Mountains

Eureka, Saline, and Panamint Valleys

After a brief overview of each region (which includes a list of suggested hikes lasting between a few hours and two days), there are sub-chapters exploring significant areas within these larger regions. For instance, under the section called Last Chance Range, there is a piece about the Racetrack Valley. There is some general information about Racetrack Valley, such as road access, shortest and longest hikes, and main attractions. This is followed with five pages of more specific text, two black and white photos, elevations of various sites, and a map. This more or less repeats for every area of Death Valley. (I counted 69 total.) Understandably, with Death Valley being by far the largest national park in the lower 48, the book is quite comprehensive.
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Format: Paperback
This is a superb book that provides a large amount of exceptionally useful information about Death Valley. Having visited the park multiple times over the last 2 years, I had become familiar with most of the general areas and some of the less-known gems.
This book takes it to the next level for me. It is excellently laid out, totally comprehensive regarding the hikes it discusses and has well-chosen photos, genuinely useful maps and lots of interesting illustrations. I particularly liked the sections on the Last Chance Range and the Panamints.
Most importantly the author exactly captures the appeal of the place - the space, the astonishing world of rock, the light and the solitude - and does a nice job of emphasizing the need for us desert users to practice the "minimum impact" approach without ramming it down our throats.
Finally, he has wisely left out a few "secrets" - it'd be tough to explore if *everything* was already in a book!
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Format: Paperback
This book is a staggering achievement, the crystallization of one person's adventuring on foot in one of the harshest terrains in the USA. The breadth of the book is amazing; the author travelled many routes that have been little-explored and some that appear nowhere else but here. I remain in awe of his knowledge and perseverence. The writing is clear, witty, and most importantly for foot travellers he doesn't give away all the secrets of the places he highlights. Containing detailed maps, the variety of one day and multi-day excursions allow for all experience levels from novice to superjock. His advice on hiking in hot conditions is the best anywhere. A must-have book for any desert rat.
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Format: Paperback
A very important piece of your Death Valley information package. It has everything you need to know or want to learn.However - PLEASE - have more than just this one source! This guide may instruct you to go to "the foot of the conical shaped mountain". Then the canyon mouth is "to the left". BELIVE ME - when you get to these places, ALL mountains are 'conical' shaped. The canyon mouth forks and there is a right side with 2 canyons and a left side with one. An hour and a half up the left side will finally tell you that you wanted the right side canyon and the left opening on that side! Just be sure you are in the right place. Get help from a ranger or another camper. Don't expect the guide to be the end all and be all. The book is great. It will give you all kinds of interesting information and history.It will tell you everything you want to about the area you are in. Just be sure you are in the RIGHT area FIRST. There's lots of interpretation here. You don't want to be guessing about a two hour struggle up a long, winding canyon when you want to be on the next grand wash over in the next valley!!
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Format: Paperback
I have been visiting Death Valley for 35 years, and I have been there more times than I can remember. This includes many back-country and dirt road trips throughout the region. I love the place. I have also been an avid hiker, backpacker, mountain climber and general wilderness enthusiast for 40 years.

I got this book a few years ago, and it was a revelation of new opportunities and information about Death Valley backcountry. It was also one of the best hiking guides I have ever read. I cannot recommend it higher for someone interested in taking their exploration of Death Valley to a new level. It also has enough easy hikes that someone interested in dipping their toe into the world of desert wilderness exploration can still get a good taste of it, and also know that the particular hike will not expose them to dangers beyond their skill level.

It is not an ideal guide for a beginner, nor is it sufficient in and of itself to enjoy Death Valley. You would need a good overall map of the park -- the NPS topo map of the whole park is ideal for that purpose. You should also have some familiarity with the rigors of exploring desert wilderness -- the book seems to assume that the reader already has some of this background, though it does have a useful discussion of this subject. But for the enthusiast who already has this info or is already familiar with it, the book is incredible.

If you are a neophyte, don't be intimidated and not buy this book. It will serve as a wonderful portal to a world that you have heard about -- just be careful since desert wilderness exploration can be daunting.
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