Maybe you keep hearing awesome things about Death Valley but have never checked it out. Maybe you have been there before or came with SCORCH in 2018 and part of you never left.
SCORCHfest 2019 is your chance to hop in your rig and make it to corners of Death Valley National Park that passenger vehicles can't, while also dropping in on some of the standard tourist must-dos.
Amazing vistas, historical landmarks, unique terrain, and off-road driving challenges will be your reward.
IT GOES DOWN ON
SCORCHfest is an annual off-the-grid, away from the beaten path, but not over the top, meetup for off-roaders.
We take a full three days (come for one or all) to explore a remote corner of our planet that is driving distance from Southern California. This year, our second for the event, will be a return to Death Valley.
The free event is hosted by the Southern California Off Road Club and Hangouts (SCORCH), one of SoCal's largest off-road meetup groups.
RSVPs will be handled on our Meetup.com page or just email us if you want to come but don't have/want a meetup account.
CAN I HANDLE THIS?
YOU: Some off-roading experience. This should not be your first time, but you do not need to be a hardcore driver either.
YOUR RIG: 4-wheel drive, at least 9" of clearance, grippy/knobby tires, front/rear tow points, some armor advised (rock rails + partial skid plates), rear locking differentials will be a helpful bonus.
THE BAR: Stock Jeep Wranglers can handle this. All rides are lead by a mostly stock Nissan X-Terra Off Road Edition upgraded with better (but not bigger) tires, 2" body lift for tire articulation, rock rails, some armor, and a skilled driver.
BASECAMP AND LODGING
Basecamp will be at Panamint Springs "Resort" which offers basic campsites, 'glamping' sites, RV sites (dry and with hookups), motel rooms, and cabins, depending on your desired level of comfort. BOOK NOW as these will fill up fast.
Do not wait until the last minute to set one up.
Friday, October 18
We'll start with a 2pm Meet and Greet at Panamint Springs before rolling out at 3pm. We will make our way into Panamint Valley to climb up an easy dirt road to see the beehive shaped charcoal kilns built in 1877 to support local mining. We'll then drive up a rocky trail to Mahogany Flat campground for a short hike to Rogers Peak for a stunning 360 view of the sunset and Death Valley before a dusk/night drive back down to basecamp.
Saturday, October 19
DEEP DEATH VALLEY LOOP
We'll meet at 730am for an 8am start on an ambitious day of off-road exploring followed by an on-pavement return that hits key tourist destinations. We will pass through the ghost town of Ballarat, wind our way through the narrow canyons of Goller Wash, see where Charles Manson was captured, enter Death Valley by going up and over the challenging Mengal Pass, drop down into Butte Valley to gaze our eyes on the stunning Striped Butte, then cut east through the heart of Death Valley.
Once back on pavement we will hit Badwater Basin to walk across the salt to the lowest point in North America, make a souvenir stop at Furnace Creek, take in the beauty of Artists Drive, and experience the shifting sands of Mesquite Dunes.
Sunday, October 20
CLIFF TO CANYON
We gather at 6:30am to roll out at 7am for a pair of stunning destinations to wrap up the weekend. We'll head through the remains of a mining village on our way to take in the expansive view of Death Valley from Chloride Cliff. We'll then head back to down to another trailhead that starts our trek to and through the spectacular slot canyons of Titus Canyon trail before splitting up to head home by late-midday.
WHAT COULD GO WRONG?
SCORCHfest 2019 will be a 3 day long off-road exploration of America's most extreme and unique national park in late October, when anything can happen.
The weather in mid-October ranges from pleasantly warm days to extremes like heat waves, gale winds, sudden storms, flash floods, bone dry conditions, and suddenly unpassable trails.
Your rig could get busted on the trails or, though unlikely, the whole group may need to shelter-in-place for an extended period with no warning.
Last year's event had perfect weather but Death Valley is STILL recovering from brutal storms that trashed the park in October 2015. Anything can happen.
Get your vehicle inspected before SCORCHfest 2019, particularly the suspension / radiator / cooling systems, because AAA is not coming for you.
Lots of water - The ultra dry air will suck the life out of you before you realize it so bring at least one gallon per person per day.
Food - We will be making lunch stops on the trail with no food around. Plus you need to be ready in the unlikely event we get stranded on the trails overnight and beyond.
Clothing - Layers for shifting temperatures and good shoes for loose dirt.
Radio - We recommend this BaoFeng radio so you can hear the other riders and the lead rig. You can elect to go with CB but the range tends to be very limited on this type of terrain and trail-boss narrations are minimal.
Air Pump - We recommend this off road air compressor to quickly air SUV and truck tires up and down for better trail performance. Do not show up with a cigarette lighter-powered pump for passenger cars.
Tow Gear - Bring a tow cable or winch and have tow points to connect them to so we can pull you out of a ditch if needed.
Spare Tire - Duh!
Money - For gas, food (restaurant at basecamp), and park entrance fee.
Extra Gas - If you have mounts for gas cans, please bring extra gas. You probably will not need it but it will come in super handy if another rig runs out along the way.
Tools - Any tools you can bring along that might help get your rig or another driver's rig patched up in the wild would be greatly appreciated.
Camping Gear - Essential if you are camping. Helpful if we are stranded in an emergency.
THE FINE PRINT
The organizers of this meetup are not responsible for any damage done to your person or vehicle at this event, getting to this event, or after this event. We are a group of adults meeting up for an activity that takes a high degree of personal responsibility. All participants must do so at their own risk.
If you act like an asshat, douche, idiot, jerk, or in any way behave or operate your vehicle in a manner that is a risk or annoyance to others or does not respect the park, you will be asked to leave the ride and be possibly ejected from SCORCH.