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Racetrack Grandstand Route
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Death Valley National Park
(8,133 to 11,049 ft)
racetrack grandstand
Overview of the Grandstand area (view southeast from the side of Ubehebe Peak).


The Grandstand is an easy walk out to an interesting geological feature -- the top of a mountain sticking up from a dry lakebed -- in a picturesque place deep within the Death Valley Wilderness Area. This hike is entirely flat out to the grandstand. From there, pick any route and scramble up the rocks for a higher view.

The drive to the Grandstand is too long for such a short walk, so combine this short route with a visit to the Racetracks or Little Ubehebe Peak. The Racetracks, where you can see tracks left in the mud by rocks that slide about due to forces not entirely understand by geologists, are at the far (south) end of the playa. There are few, if any, moving rocks or racetracks around the Grandstand. Stay off the mud if it is wet; footprints in the mud scar the playa and take years to disappear. For details of the journey, see the Racetrack Road webpage.

Link to map.

Racetrack Grandstand Route
The Grandstand (view east from near trailhead).

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, ...this hike is entirely safe, but be sure your vehicle is in good working condition, carry plenty of extra water (radiator and drinking), pack a lunch, and drive slowly and carefully. Stay off the playa if it is muddy, as footprints will scar the surface for years. Climbing to the highest point on the Grandstand is minimal 5th-class face climbing with no opportunity for protection or for rappelling off the summit; don't be tempted to climb up there -- it isn't worth the risk. From the top, the fall is worse than you thought because the close landing zone is quite small, while the larger landing zone is a long way down.

While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and please try to Leave No Trace of your passage. This is a short walk, so you don't need to bring the 10 Essentials.

racetrack grandstand
The Grandstand with humans for scale (view east).

Getting to the Trailhead

The Grandstand is located along Racetrack Road in the north end of Death Valley National Park, about 5-1/2 hours northwest of Las Vegas.

From town, drive out to Death Valley. From the Furnace Creek Visitor Center (Table 1, Site 0712), drive north about 50 miles to the Grapevine Ranger Station, turn left onto Ubehebe Crater Road (Site 0754), and drive northwest for 5.7 miles to Racetrack Road (Site 0756). Turn right onto Racetrack Road and drive 19.5 miles to Teakettle Junction (Site 0757), then continue straight for 5.7 miles to the north end of Racetrack Playa (Site 758), where a wide parking area on the right (west) side of the road and an information sign on the left (east) mark the destination. Park here; this is the trailhead. For details of the journey, see the Racetrack Road webpage.


The Hike

From the trailhead (Table 2, Waypoint 01), the route runs east onto the playa. There is no trail, just the Grandstand as a landmark. Just walk out on the playa, wander around looking at things, scramble up onto the Grandstand (Wpt. 02), have a good look around at the spectacular scenery, and then wander back to the trailhead when you are ready. The parking area is visible from out on the playa, so there is no chance of getting lost during daylight hours.

Racetrack Grandstand Racetrack Grandstand
Racetrack Grandstand Racetrack Grandstand
grandstand Racetrack Grandstand
Racetrack Grandstand Racetrack Grandstand
Racetrack Grandstand Racetrack Grandstand
Racetrack Grandstand Looking down from the top of the Grandstand at a human out on the playa. Don't climb up here, it isn't worth it and I wouldn't do it again because you can't get down safely. Remember -- it is always easier to climb up something than it is to climb back down (view southeast).

Table 1. Highway Coordinates based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 11S). Download Highway GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Site Location Latitude (°N) Longitude (°W) UTM Easting UTM Northing Elevation (feet) Verified
0712 Furnace Creek Visitor Center 36.46159 116.86574 512030 4034954 -186 Yes
0756 Ubehebe Crater Rd at Racetrack Rd 37.01291 117.45699 459345 4096199 2,515 Yes
0754 Scotty's Castle Rd at Ubehebe Rd 36.99863 117.36605 467429 4094580 2,292 Yes
0757 Racetrack Rd at Teakettle Junction 36.76008 117.54142 451674 4068192 4,143 Yes
0758 Racetrack Rd at Grandstand Parking 36.69430 117.57073 449015 4060911 3,719 Yes-2

Table 2. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27, UTM Zone 11S). Download Hiking GPS Waypoints (*.gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
01 Racetrack Grandstand Trailhead 449034 4060916 3,710 GPS
02 Grandstand 449475 4060737 3,770 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 110327

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