00:16 Highway 178
02:47 Ashford Mill Ruins
06:18 Lake Manly
This video features picturesque scenery and points of interest in the south end of Death Valley National Park. Highway 178 is a paved road that starts near Shoshone, California and it turns into Badwater Road inside the national park. The Ashford Mill Ruins are located along this travel route and this historic site is pictured in this modern imaging video. From the old borax mill ruins it is just a few miles north to the Lake Manly wetlands and the main body of water in Badwater Basin. For those who only wish to see the newly formed Lake Manly, entering the park via Highway 178 is the best way to go, because this road will take you directly to the primary destination.
Lake Manly first made the news in 2023 after the runoff from the torrential summer monsoon season storms started filling Death Valley with water. The flash floods caused extensive damage in Death Valley National Park and repairs are still underway. The heavy summer rainstorms made amends for many years of severe drought and as a bonus, the rebirth of the ancient Lake Manly occurred.
Death Valley has been a large lake a few times during the last 200,000 years and this lake has completely dried out on a regular basis. The last time that Lake Manly had a substantial amount of water was about 10,000 years ago after the ice age. Badwater Basin is over 280 feet below sea level and it is the lowest elevation on the continent, so there literally is nowhere else for the water to go. This big low level basin is where the water collects in Death Valley and currently there is a moderate size sprawling shallow lake.
Lake Manly first hit the news in November 2023 and it got a lot of publicity. The rebirth of the ancient lake in Death Valley truly is a rare event to witness, so the number of visitors naturally started going up. Badwater Basin has always been a prime attraction, but when full of water it certainly captures even more attention.
After the summer monsoon season ended, the Lake Manly waters receded and the south end of the lake turned into a lush green wetlands area. As can be imagined, this looks totally out of place in what is usually a barren inhospitable environment. Many square miles of flat deep impassible mud now covers the valley, but the body of lake water is still large. Recent winter rainstorms have started filling up the lake again, which greatly increases the odds of Lake Manly surviving its first full year back in existence.
After doing video editing projects for over one month I needed a break and checking out Lake Manly was on the list. The images in this video were captured on February 2, 2024 after a passing winter storm. As can be seen, there is still plenty of water in the big pond. I also switched from using a fast crop sensor DSLR camera to a Nikon Z6II full frame mirrorless camera for this content gathering mission. The difference in image quality is noticeable.
The wet Death Valley visuals in this video can cause sensory confusion, because lake water and wetlands are not normally associated with this very inhospitable arid environment. The recent winter storm capped the surrounding mountain peaks with snow and this furthers the illusion. The views of the lush wetlands with snow capped peaks in the background is more like a typical scene found in Idaho or Montana, but definitely not Death Valley. When the large thick patches of pure white salt crust come into view around Badwater Basin, Lake Manly actually starts to look like somewhere in Alaska where polar bears roam. Alternatively the visitors wearing summertime clothing while wading in the water are a dead giveaway.
When the lake water is seen for the first time, that is when the jaw is guaranteed to drop in awe, because Lake Manly certainly is one of the most picturesque lakes in the entire west. The reflections of clouds and mountains on the water are mesmerizing to see. Hours can be spent gazing upon this marvelous sight. All the while, something in the back of the mind keeps saying that this cannot possibly be real.
I highly suggest packing a camera for the Lake Manly trip, in order to prove that the big lake in Death Valley was not an imaginary desert mirage. Saying that you saw lush green wetlands with snow capped mountain peaks while touring Death Valley may sound crazy to some. Do not be surprised if a captive listener starts slowly backing away when you mention the salt crust icebergs. A lot of people simply cannot imagine a wet lush Death Valley, so be sure to let the pictures do all the talking!
Leave no trace!
Destination West YouTube channel! https://www.youtube.com/@DestinationWestOrg
*This website will be going through renovations soon. Separate destination articles will be combined after the videos replace the outdated photo gallery system. As many readers know, most of the writing was done on the fly while camping, so many articles read like a rough draft. The articles will be cleaned up and edited. Many of the old photos were straight out of the camera due camping limitations as well, so you will finally see full living color images, just like in the new videos. Another goal is to make navigating the index pages easier and condensing the articles will help. This website will continue into the future and your patience is greatly appreciated!
Donations help the Destinaton West project continue into the future!
Go Fund Me!
This website uses marketing and tracking technologies. Opting out of this will opt you out of all cookies, except for those needed to run the website. Note that some products may not work as well without tracking cookies.Opt Out of Cookies