“Mother nature's easel!”
Artist's Drive rises up to the top of an alluvial fan fed by a deep canyon cut into the Black Mountains. Artist's Palette is on the face of the Black Mountains and is noted for having various colors of rock. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (red, pink and yellow is from iron salts, green is from decomposing tuff-derived mica, and manganese produces the purple). Called the Artist Drive Formation, the rock unit provides evidence for one of the Death Valley area's most violently explosive volcanic periods. The Miocene-aged formation is made up of cemented gravel, playa deposits, and much volcanic debris, perhaps 5,000 feet (1500 m) thick. Chemical weathering and hydrothermal alteration are also responsible for the variety of colors displayed in the Artist Drive Formation and nearby exposures of the Furnace Creek Formation.
Absolutely beautiful. I've never seen any geology like this before. Reminiscent of the Cars ride at Disney's California Adventure, you'll drive through amazing vistas with colors unlike anything you've seen before. An added bonus is that parts of the Star Wars movies were filmed here and you can find the specific shots by following this self guided tour http://www.panamintcity.com/exclusives/starwars.html.
The road itself through these canyons is worth the time; it us an engineering marvel. However, the colors and grandeur of the rocks really make it a world class attraction. Definitely worth the time to do at least once. We did it twice just because it was so beautiful.
Loved this place during a sunset! Walk down and take a hike up the colorful hills. You won't regret it. My boyfriend and I, in our early 20s, witnessed an old couple perhaps in their 80s walking with canes through the hills. They knew what was good. So get close to that colorful dirt! But of course, be nice and only walk on the paths people have already walked on!
Absolutely beautiful and well worth the drive.
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Artist's Drive and Palette
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