The Panamint Sand Dunes are a rarely visited sand dunes system located in the far northern part of Panamint Valley which have some of the most beautiful dunes in Death Valley. The only minor difficulty in carrying out the hike can be reaching the parking area if there have been recent floods or wash-outs and the dirt road is in poor condition. A Google Earth map of the hiking route can be found by clicking on the button above. GPS coordinates for the parking area are 36° 25.249'N, 117° 24.727'W. GPS coordinates for the highest sand dune are 36° 27.673'N, 117° 27.331'W.
The Panamint Sand Dunes are my personal favorite sand dunes in all of Death Valley. They are spectacular to visit and without equal, in my opinion. The Panamint Dunes are a particular favorite of photographers because of the scenic shadows cast by late afternoon light. My second favorite sand dunes in the park (as of 2014) are now the Buckwheat Dunes in Buckwheat Wash. To reach the Panamint Dunes, we turned off on the Big Four Mine Road (also known as Lake Hill Road) and drove about 5 1/2 miles and parked where the road turned to the east. Then we hiked out for about 1 1/2 hours (or about 3 1/2 miles) to reach the dunes and all four of us went to different peaks. I was amazed at how isolated and beautiful these dunes were. We were only buzzed by one military jet and didn't see any other people all day. And even as I was resting on the highest peak (the eastern-most peak), I was watching the tracks I had just placed being erased by a light wind. It was such a beautiful day and our pictures turned out very well. And to think, at the same time when we were enjoying the prettiest dunes in the park all by ourselves, dozens of people or more were just over the mountain at the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes following in the footsteps of the hundreds of other tourists. I'm so glad that the park service installed a new parking lot there, to keep the tourists corralled there and away from majestic places like the Panamint Dunes. I don't mind sharing the Panamint Dunes with others, otherwise I wouldn't be promoting them so heavily here on this site. It's just that there is something special about photographing and walking on pure, untouched sand. Our hike took place on January 8, 2007. I returned to the Panamint Dunes for my second visit on March 12, 2010 on my way back to the Big Four Mine Road from the mouth of Mill Canyon.
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