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Death Valley geology field trip

Artist’s Drive

Artist's Pallet
Photo by Tom Bean, NPS.

Technicolor terrain

spacer image The face of the Black Mountains along Artist’s Drive is made up of the multicolored rock of the Artist Drive Formation. Aprons of pink, green, purple, brown, and black rock debris drape across the mountain front, providing some of the most scenic evidence of one of Death Valley’s most violently explosive volcanic periods.

Roller coaster ride

spacer image The curvy, one-way, one lane Artist’s Drive leads you up to the edge of the Black Mountains. Artist’s Drive rises up to the top of an alluvial fan fed by a deep canyon cut into the mountain. As you make your way up to the mountain face you'll dip up and down, roller coaster-like as the road dips into ravines carved into the fan by Death Valley's occasional, but intense flash floods. The narrow road runs high up onto the fan, with views of the strikingly white salty floor of Death Valley in the distance.
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Artist’s drive in time
geologic time scale
On to next stop If you're going... Split Cinder Cone image gallery
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This page was last updated on 6/25/00
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