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About Dantes View

The Black Mountains, included within Death Valley National Park reach to 6,000 feet above Death Valley on the eastern side, beginning near Furnace Creek and stretching southward. Named for their dark appearance in the gleaming sunlight, their barren slopes rise in cliffs and rocky outcroppings to about a mile above the lowest parts of the valley.

Perched at 5,700 feet in elevation atop the Black Mountains, just above Badwater Basin, Dantes View commands a bird's eye view of Death Valley. A narrow winding (but paved) road leads upwards through the gullies of the eastern slopes of the mountains, from Greenwater Valley, to this viewpoint. The surrounding mountain slopes are not entirely barren, but a scattering of small plants dot hillsides. Looking down into Death Valley, the slopes quickly give way to precipitous cliffs below. Badwater Basin is prominently visible as a white salt flat almost hidden by the base of the mountain.

Directly across the valley, about twenty miles away, Telescope peak stands 11,049 above sea level in the Panamint mountains that form the western side of Death Valley. To the north and south, Death Valley, being some 120 miles long, stretches nearly to the horizon each way. From Dante's View, the white patches of salt flats, common throughout the valley, are the focal point of the view. Badwater Road can be seen looping along the base of the mountains, along with other roads barely visible at a distance. Furnace Creek can be seen to the north by its trees.

Although the slopes below are called the Black Mountains, and do indeed appear black when the sun glints off of them at the right angle, the cliffs below display a surprising number of colors, with one particularly colorful spot being named the Artist's Palette. Aside from such points of color nearly hidden on the cliffs below, the scenery from Dante's View is one of desolation and not very colorful. It was named after the thirteenth century Dante Alighieri, in token of his work The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatory and Paradise.

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