The Ibex Sand Dunes are an isolated set of beautiful sand dunes set against the backdrop of the Saddle Peak Hills at the southern end of Death Valley. Difficulties encountered on the hike include having the proper HC (high clearance) vehicle to reach the parking area, being aware of the presence of snakes, and hiking (or sliding) up and down steep sections of sand dunes. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the parking area are 35° 41.700'N, 116° 23.602'W. GPS coordinates for the highest peak at 590 feet in elevation are 35° 42.263'N, 116° 22.278'W.
My first introduction to the Ibex Dunes took place on March 16, 2006. At that time, my sister Annie, brother-in-law Jered, and friends Joe Silva, Ryan, and Robert hiked the northern half of the dunes with me and we also visited the old talc mine located near the southeastern end. However, I wasn't really focused on publishing detailed hiking reports at that time, so I took minimal photos and spent more time just enjoying the experience. Fast forward ten years to February of 2016 and I flew into Las Vegas to make a quick weekend trip to Death Valley to see the 2016 Superbloom of wildflowers. As part of that, I wanted to begin my trip at the Ibex Dunes to hopefully see them at their peak wildflower potential. Thus, after picking up my HC rental vehicle, I drove out and camped within sight of the Ibex Dunes for the night. The next morning, I woke up and continued the short drive to the parking area for a hike to the Ibex Dunes. The ideal parking area is located near the Wilderness Restoration sign which barricades drivers from attempting to use the old closed road. The closed road heads toward the central dividing area of the dunes and ends at the old talc mine ruins. While the road is no longer driveable, it has turned into a nice hiking trail leading out to the dunes. For this trip, I was taking my first solo trip to Death Valley in several years. While I prefer hiking with family and friends, nobody was able to join me this time on short notice, so I came alone. I began the hike out to the Ibex Dunes by following the closed road as it briefly curved to the northeast. Just as it started curving to the southeast, I broke away from it and hiked cross-country toward the far end of the northern ridgeline of the dunes. Keep in mind that the Ibex Dunes are broken up into two clearly definable sections -- the northern and southern halves. The northern section contains the largest expanse of high dunes, as well as at least four distinct summit points. The highest summit point of the Ibex Dunes is located here, being 590 feet high. In looking around the internet, I couldn't find any accurate information as to the true height of the highest summit, so I checked for myself. By comparing the USGS topographical map meter lines with satellite imagery elevations, I noticed that the two were in very close agreement. So I would say that my estimated height of 590 feet for the highest point is accurate within 10 feet. Upon hiking toward the northern tip of the main ridgeline of the dunes, I found abundant wildflowers. Desert Sand Verbena and Brown-eyed Evening Primrose were covering vast sections of the sand flats. It was quite beautiful to behold and proved that I had made a wise decision to start out my 2016 Superbloom trip with a visit to the Ibex Dunes. Once I reached the northern tip of the main ridgeline, I followed that up to the highest point and enjoyed some outstanding views in all directions, including into the southeastern Owlsheads. I then hiked down and up to two other high points before heading back down to the dividing point between the northern and southern sections of the dunes. The southern section has one large mountain of sand to climb up. As that was clearly beckoning, I began climbing again and reached the high point of 460 feet. Next, I dropped down to the east and checked out the old talc mine (just as I had done ten years earlier). It was in this area that there was a spectacular field of Desert Gold wildflowers to walk through. You will see some really fantastic pictures of that included within the full set of photographs linked to below. To wrap up the hike, I followed the closed road all the way back to my vehicle and then drove over to Saratoga Spring, which also has a brand new report written for it. My hiking route (as outlined on the map linked to above) turned out to be right around 5 miles in total. My hike took place on February 26, 2016.
Many more photographs taken during our visit are available for viewing for this destination. To see all of them, choose one of the two options presented below. The two options are Slideshow viewing and Trip Report viewing. The Slideshow option allows for viewing larger images with an autoplay option and a full screen option (available on most browsers). This option works very well for large computer screens and tablets. The Trip Report option allows for viewing smaller pictures in a standard scroll-down format and enlarging of any panoramic photos taken during our visit. Click on the option of your choice to view all of our photos from this destination. The Slideshow format opens in a new browser window and the Trip Report format uses the same browser window for viewing.
TRIP REPORT FORMAT