|NATIONAL PARKS QUICKLINKS|
Backpacker Magazine – June 2009
Trek through a trio of wilderness playgrounds on shape-shifting mountains of sand.
EUREKA DUNES, CA
Listen to singing sands.
Skip the iPod on a hike in Death Valley's Eureka Dunes–you'll want to listen to the sand. Known as "singing" dunes, they produce a low-pitched booming sound when the sand is extremely dry (bury your hand wrist-deep to test). They're also the tallest in California, shooting to heights of 680 feet above the plain. No official trail explores the sand pile, measuring three miles long and a mile wide, but the open slopes make it easy to choose your own cross-country track. Start at the parking area at the dune's north end and hike a ridge about a mile to the apex of the highest dune. Hear the strange song along the steepest pitch. $20/vehicle; nps.gov/deva; (760) 786-3200
Cruise into Carroll's Market (760-938-2718) in Big Pine for $2 barbecue-beef sandwiches.
From Big Pine, drive 39 miles east to the signed turnoff for Eureka Dunes. Hang a right and go 10 more miles.