Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

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Death Valley National Park, United States

Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes Death Valley National Park Reviews

vances vances
581 reviews
We are duned! Dec 28, 2016
In a place like Death Valley, sand dunes are likely high on anyone’s list of expectations. Despite the blistering temperatures, however, dunes have a fairly strict list of requirements. The main ingredient is sand, of course, and Death Valley generates plenty of that. The wrinkle for creating impressive dunes is that you also need wind to act as a sculptor and geographic features which either trap the sand (like here in Death Valley) or render a topography so vast this is not a concern (like the Sahara).

Mesquite Sand Dunes are an excellent spot for enjoying desert landscape in Death Valley. We visited here two times and the first was not so pleasant – it was dusk of our first day in the National Park and we had missed sunset (recommended visitation times are sunrise and sunset, which I can validate). Our views were of darkening gray blobs, still inhabited by a crushing throng of tourists. Double jeopardy did not enamor us, but fortunately we decided to return the next morning.

What a difference a day makes. Illuminated by striking sunshine, the dunes were completely different: a vivid alien terrain that extended quite a bit further than we initially suspected. And early in the morning, a lot fewer tourists! Temperatures were a bit brisk, but we were bundled up and it was enjoyably bracing to trek about the jumbo sandbox. These are not obnoxiously huge dunes, but some peak at one hundred feet and that is quite significant. Great fun to scramble up and down, gaining fresh vistas as each dune is conquered. And many of these panoramas were so surreal it seemed to be some artistic endeavor rather than Mother Nature just doing her duty.

The primary attraction was the continuing expanse of sand – it seemed to stretch on forever and I was astonished how the desert horizon never seemed to get closer as we progressed in towards it. The dunes possess different shapes if you scrutinize them (some are straight lines, some are crescents, others are round blobs). This desert used to be a lake, and the geometric allure continues at the base of the dunes. Here you find an astonishing array of polygons, cracked clay from the ancient lake bed. Not much vegetation, but it is a desert after all.

For one reason or another I dislike using the word ‘pristine’ (seems terribly overused), but that term seemed completely appropriate for the beauty we experienced here. A terrific spot for a walkabout.
Looks desolate but so many footpri…
I loved the geometric patterns whe…
Sima crests a dune
It was fascinating how you could m…
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
spocklogic says:
I like the line in Lawrence of Arabia, when the reporter (Martin Sheen) asks Lawrence (Peter O'toole) what attracts him to the desert, and he replies, "It's clean!"
Posted on: Apr 28, 2017
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Africancrab Africanc…
777 reviews
Ripples in the Sand May 14, 2013
We made a stop at the tawny sand dunes, which were a surprise to us. The sand dunes rise almost 100 ft high and create such a beautiful scenery as one approaches them. The mid morning sunlight accented the ripples in the sand and reminded me of the sand dunes in Dubai.

We walked a little further than we wanted too because our little boy got so excited about playing in the sand. Meanwhile, I was concerned about rattlesnakes and any other dangerous sand animals that might have come out to get some sand. Luckily nothing was in view. There were quite a few other visitors that joined us while we ere there. Definitely something to see.

PS: Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today!

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photo by: vances