Closed Sand Dune Areas
Ibex Dunes are closed to vehicles
Location: The dunes are in the very South-Eastern portion
of Death Valley National Park. West of Highway 127 about 7 miles West of Dumont.
Hike about one mile from the Saratoga Springs Road for access. An old talc mine
at the base of the Saddle Peak Hills overlooks the dunes from the east. Closest
access from Dumont: head towards Baker on Highway 127 past Little Dumont.
About 1 mile past Little Dumont, take a right on a dirt road next to the
historical marker (Harry Wade Exit Route - 30 miles from Baker). About 4 miles
in, you will see the dunes off to the right. There will be an intersection
where you take a right towards Sarasota Springs & Ibex. The closest approach
to the dunes is about 4.5 miles north on this road (past the turnoff for
If you want to come in from the north, take a right on Hwy 127 from
Dumont. Before you reach Ibex Pass, take a left on a dirt road near the
microwave facility. Follow this road down a wash towards Ibex Springs and
Sarasota. There will be an intersection about 3 miles in. Right will
lead you to Ibex Springs. Left will take you to Ibex Dunes and Sarasota
Springs.GPS Coordinates: 35°41'27.22"N, 116°22'4.96"W
Managed By: National Park Service. The dunes were managed by the BLM
until 1994 when passage of the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA) of 1994
transferred the area to the National Park Service (NPS) at Death Valley National
Park. Designated as a Wilderness Area..
Date of Closure: 1994.
Type of Closure: Permanent
Reason for Closure: Wilderness Designation, California
Desert Protection Act
Access Roads that have been closed/decommissioned
by National Park Service
To walk on the dunes, you must park about 1 mile
away and walk. The mines are another 1/4 to 1/2 mile further. Even
though these roads already existed, and could have been utilized for access
and parking, they "didn't exist" when the area was designated as
Wilderness. National Park Service has since decommissioned these roads.
This scenario is typical of many pre-existing roads that are now closed due to the
California Desert Protection Act.
1. East of Ibex Dunes from Highway 127 - Rainbow Talc
Mine Access Road.
County included this road in its RS
2477 assertion dated July 24, 1988.
2. North of Ibex Dunes
3. Northwest of Ibex Dunes
4. West of Ibex Dunes - Main access from within Death Valley. This road can
easily be seen from the top of the dunes and from the air.
Image clearly shows this historic access road.
OF SUPERVISOR BILL POSTMUS SAN BERNARDINO COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, BEFORE
THE SUBCOMMITTEE ON NATIONAL PARKS, RECREATION & PUBLIC LANDS OF THE HOUSE
COMMITTEE ON RESOURCES CONCERNING ACCESS TO THE CALIFORNIA DESERT CONSERVATION
mine had been located during the 1980s by two mining explorers and they
discovered and filed claims upon what was considered some of the most highly
valuable talc certainly in the United States.
They had international interest in development.
The area had been surveyed for wilderness characteristics by BLM in the
1970s when they did the wilderness inventory and was specifically recommended
excluded in the 1980 California Desert Plan for inclusion in the wilderness
preservation system. Past mining
activity had closed down at the Ibex area adjacent when it was incorporated
at an earlier stage. Though
this is clear evidence of mineral values in the area.
Instead of accepting BLM recommendation, in 1994 the California Desert
Protection Act (CDPA) expanded
to incorporate the area of the Park ignoring the agency recommendation, and
additionally placing it in the National Wilderness Preservation System.
The access road from Highway 127 was in such a condition that a normal
touring car could pass over much of its distance.
This was totally ignored in the CDPA and while it originally served as
a boundary between two wilderness study areas, it ceased to exist.
The outcome of several years of negotiations in which no mining plan
could ever be approved on NPS staff, the owners of the claims sold the
property to the National Park Service. Sadly,
it was a mine that could have generated income, property taxes and employment.
Instead, the agency spent public money to prevent its development.
Located some 4.5 miles from a paved road, it is now far removed from
even public view and few will ever see the frame that the original owners
build over the mine even though it is a lovely historic structure.
Bernardino County included the road into Rainbow Talc Mine in its RS 2477
assertion dated July 24, 1988.
Endangered or Threatened Species:
Talc Mines adjacent to Ibex Dunes (3 separate areas)
Ibex Springs - north of Ibex Dunes. Old silver and talc
Sarasota Springs - west of Ibex Dunes
Harry Wade Exit Route - Historical Landmark #622
After getting to Death Valley with the ill-fated 1849 caravan,
Harry Wade found this exit route for his ox-drawn wagon and thereby saved his
life and the lives of his wife and children. At this point the Wade party came
upon the known Spanish Trail to Cajón Pass. This marker is located just south
of Little Dumont on Hwy 127.
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