Unusual Color Palette: Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette

Unusual Color Palette: Artist’s Drive and Artist’s Palette

Location: Death Valley National Park
Area: Furnace Creek
GPS Coordinates:  N 36 19.798 W 116 49.792

Artist’s Drive, as well as famous Artist’s Palette, is located in the Black Mountains on the territory of Death Valley National Park. This is a scenic drive (one way road) that takes visitors through the colorful area.

Artist’s Drive is a nine-mile road that travels from south to north. It ascends above the salt flat of Badwater and opens impressive, fabulous and unforgettable views. This road carves through the high desert mountains of Death Valley National Park.

As you drive up to the mountains, you will see and feel how the road goes up and down into the gorges created by mighty flash floods. Numerous floods step by step created colorful layers. Artist’s Drive gives visitors great opportunity to see and enjoy colorful mountainside that is composed of picturesque soil colored by different metals and minerals.

The most spectacular location and the must visit place along Artist’s Drive is the Artist’s Palette. To get here, turn off the drive and park at the Artist’s Palette parking lot. Take the steps down, cross a narrow wash and continue going towards the multicolored slope. Yellow, red, blue, purple, green… this place is a real painter’s palette. These rainbows colors were created in the result of metal oxidation. Red and pink were created in the result of iron-rich hematite oxidation, golden and yellow color is the result of iron oxidation, decomposing volcanic ash deposits add green color to the palette, and purple color is from manganese.

These multicolored aprons are the best evidences of explosive volcanic times, which changed the appearance of Death Valley National Park forever.

For those who like long walks and hiking, we recommend exploring mud canyons. This hike provides close views of the multicolored stones.

If you like photography, keep in mind that Artist’s Palette is especially beautiful in late afternoon when setting sun brightens the colors up.

Attention! Artist’s Drive is only drivable with vehicles less than 25 feet in length.

Photo: Roman Khomlyak
Photo Editing: Juliana Voitsikhovska
Information: Marina Petrova

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