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Southern Central Region

Butte Valley

SC5. Location/Access:
(35o 56.583N, 117o 04.383W) Approximately 7 miles further up the Warm Springs Canyon Road from Warm Springs. After crossing the washouts immediately up canyon from Warm Springs and the talc mines, the road improves and is a track passable to high clearance vehicles. The washouts however require four-wheel-drive. One can also get to Butte Valley from the west via Goler Wash and Mengel Pass. This route, although scenic and historic, requires four-wheel-drive much of the way and is sometimes impassable.

Best Time: Anytime in the cool half of the year.

Geology: Butte Valley is one of the more isolated parts of Death Valley National Park. There are several isolated cabins in around the valley (Including the infamous Barker Ranch, used by the Manson Family, which lies just over the hills to the south) which are used by back country park rangers and visitors. The bedrock geology of the Precambrian rocks of the Warm Springs area gives way to Jurassic quartz monzonite (a granitic rock) in the southwest part of the valley and Miocene volcanic rocks to the south. The east side of the valley is composed of Jurassic volcanics and Triassic marine sedimentary rocks. The rocks of the mountains forming the northern margin of the valley are uppermost Proterozoic in age. The dramatic butte in the center of the valley is composed of up-tilted beds of the Permian Butte Valley formation which are of marine origin. A large fault runs down the trend of the valley behind the butte (Walker, et. al., 2002). Some of these rocks outcrop nowhere else in Death Valley. The Jurassic volcanic rocks are common south of the national park but the Butte Valley formation and the Triassic sediments occur nowhere else. Butte Valley is a wonderful place, especially in mid-week to enjoy the peaceful nature of this isolated desert landscape.



ecology: wildlife - plants - geography: places - MAPS - map/sat - roads & trails: route 66 - old west - communities - weather - book store
ghost towns - gold mines - parks & public lands: wilderness - native culture - history - geology: natural features - glossary - comments
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