Ubehebe Peak proved to be an awesome hike-- both physically demanding and very rewarding. The Racetrack has always been one of my favorite places in Death Valley, as I'm sure is the case for all DV regulars. So it was quite a special experience to be able to look down on The Racetrack from various elevations and vantage points along the way to Ubehebe Peak. Although the journey to the peak is only around 3 miles each way, the 2,000 foot elevation gain, the lack of trail in some places, and the steep slope during some parts, all make this an extremely difficult endeavor. The hike from The Grandstand parking lot to the divide is pretty straightforward, it's all about following the trail up the switchbacks. Once the divide was reached, we enjoyed our first view of Saline Valley. For the next part of the hike, you have to follow rock cairns for a while as the trail disappears. This is probably the hardest part of the hike, even more difficult than the final stretch. After a while, the cairns also disappear and you have to self-navigate up to the saddle between the two peaks. We stopped at the saddle to look out at The Racetrack once again before beginning our final push to the summit. There are two rough trails which you can choose from to reach Ubehebe Peak, which has an elevation that is easy to remember-- 5,678 feet. Our final obstacle in reaching the peak proved to be a rattlesnake, which gave us a stern warning to keep our distance. When we made it, we took in the spectacular 360 degreee view for quite some time.
Ubehebe Peak panoramic view of The Racetrack
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Starting point for the hike (Grandstand parking lot):
John Leidel joined us for this hike and didn't bring enough water with him:
Beautiful views of The Racetrack looking back all the way:
Looking up at the smaller peak from far below down on the trail:
You can see the intimidating switchbacks off in the distance:
Starting to get some elevation now:
John ahead of us making his way up the switchbacks:
A couple of photos along the trail:
Finally reaching the divide with first view of Saline Valley:
Following rock cairns for a while:
Looking up at Ubehebe Peak in the distance:
Relaxing on the saddle between the two peaks:
Two more views of Racetrack Valley taken from the saddle:
Looking up from the saddle we could see the final stretch:
Pushing through a boulder mine field to reach the summit:
Dodging a rattlesnake proved to be the final obstacle:
Full panoramic of The Racetrack playa as seen from Ubehebe Peak (click to enlarge):
Signing our names in the official peak registry:
What the actual peak looks like:
That's the Lippincott Road connecting with the Saline Valley Road:
A majestic view of Saline Valley:
Looking back towards the smaller peak and Racetrack Road:
Geological survey benchmark at the top:
Steve resting after a successful summit bid:
Later that day at The Racetrack with Ubehebe Peak (left peak) in the distance:
From the early part of the trail there is a good view of The Grandstand.  As you can see, there were a lot of cars parked and people in the area on this day:
John Leidel looking up at the smaller peak as he contemplates the long journey ahead:
Daria hiking up the trail on one of her first major hikes in Death Valley:
Looking back at Daria and the colorful landscape behind her:
John Leidel pressing on through some increasingly rugged terrain which was more difficult than we anticipated:
A look back at some of the difficult parts we hiked through.  We had to navigate some nasty stuff in this area: