The Race Track

Courtesy of Desert USA: The Racetrack is a unique attraction of Death Valley National Park that not many park visitors get to see. It’s a dry lake-bed in a very remote and beautiful area. On the north end of the lake-bed is a rock formation known as the grandstands. Rocks from the grandstands and other nearby formations break off and fall onto the lake. There, they perform feats that make this remote playa world-famous. They move! But after all these years, a hundred or more since this phenomenon was brought to the attention of naturalists studying Death Valley, no one has ever seen them move. These rocks aren’t boulders; most are perhaps a foot or so tall, but can still weigh a lot and are not easy to lift. The evidence that they move is in the trails they leave behind them as they scoot around the lake. You’ll find a rock sitting innocently anywhere on the playa — from next to the grandstand to the far southern edge — and behind it will be a trail, from the rock sliding across the fine clay surface of the lake-bed.

Now, I have to say I didn’t see any rocks move but I did see trails behind many. It rains very seldom in Death Valley and they tell you if the lake-bed is wet, don’t walk on it because your footprints can remain for years and years in the dry clay surface. Hard to say how old these were but what I can tell you is… I felt like I was on the Moon…

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