Racetrack Playa Death Valley – The Racetrack Playa is located in the central part of Death Valley National Park about 35 miles South West of Scotty’s Castle. 27 miles of this distance is on improved dirt roads – generally no deep sand, lots of small rocks but usually only a few bigger rocks you have to watch out for if you are driving a car. The Park Service recommends 4wd high clearance vehicles only, but we took a passenger sedan 2wd car over the 27 mile dirt road in merely just over 44 minutes. Timed from below the Ubehebe Crater to the parking lot on the south side of the Playa. This is a very scenic location although beware of the extreme heat in the summertime and carry plenty of water. The road hits Teakettle Junction (look for all the real tea kettles hanging from the sign) and soon thereafter the Playa comes into view.
The main feature from afar is the Grandstand – an outcrop of black rocks that towers above the flat playa floor. The best examples of the famous “moving rocks” is on the south end of the Playa – there is a parking lot from which its a 1/4 to 1/2 mile to most of the rocks. Unless you want a long walk, don’t waste your time walking from the Grandstand parking lot next to the road via the playa to its southern end. Look for the neat trails these rocks leave in the bed of the playa when they move. More about the Racetrack Playa and other Death Valley attractions here.