About Artists Drive
In Death Valley, where trees and green grass are unheard of, Mother Nature had to look elsewhere to provide color. On the cliffs and hills along the Artists Drive, the rocks and earth themselves have summoned forth the best they have. Dazzling pinks, reds, greens, yellows, purples and browns are proudly exhibited, glinting in the brilliant Death Valley sun.
Artists Drive loops for several miles through naturally colored hills at the base of the Black Mountains. It is a long, winding, one-way road, which is paved, leaving from Badwater Road, and returning a bit north of where it left. It climbs to a considerable height on the mountain side, dropping into gullies and wandering along narrow canyons. The colors, concocted in an ancient deposit of volcanic material, are truly remarkable. Once in a while a clump of desert holly, or a bit of grass can be seen.
Near the middle of the loop, a short side road leads to the Artists Palette, the centerpiece of the display, where the variety of colors in one hillside prompted its being named after an artist's palette.
The drive overlooks Death Valley's salt flats laying 280 feet below sea level to the west, close to Badwater Basin. The Panamint Range stands across the valley. Plenty of stops can be found along the way, for taking a stretch and getting a closer look.
Artists Palette Road