A Dramatic Drop-off
Dante’s View is an overlook terrace near the edge of the Black Mountains, 26 miles away from our campground in Furnace Creek.
We travel 13 miles southeast on 190 and take a side road southwest for another 13 miles.
You can see part of this spur road in the picture below on the far left.
The drive is a subtle climb until the last 5.5 miles which becomes extremely steep and winding, especially near the end, rising from 3,000 feet and dead ending in the parking area at 5,450 feet. (backroadswest.com)
Dante’s View overlooks the salt flats of Badwater Basin which are bordered by the Paramint Mountains to the west.
A dramatic juxtaposition of nature is visible here, but not to the naked eye, unfortunately. In the distance, about 85 horizontal miles away, Mt. Whitney stands 14, 496 feet tall, the highest point in the 48 contiguous states of the U. S.. Two miles below, lies the lowest point at 282 feet below sea level. (backroadswest.com)
To the southeast the road winds along the valley of the Greenwater Range.
To the east the Funeral Mountain Range borders the desert.
Clouds and time of day create beautiful photographic opportunities. Sunset is breathtaking here.
If some of these views look vaguely familiar to you, they should if you are a Star Wars aficionado. Star Wars Episode IV… A New Hope used Dante’s View for the 1977 movie location for the fictional desert planet, Tatooine and the spaceport of Mos Eisley, which Obi-Wan Kenobi describes as, ” a wretched hive of scum and villainy.” (en.m.wikipedia.org)
Obi-Wan Kenobi, Luke, and the droids get out of the landspeeder to take a look at Mos Eisley below, where they are headed. This scene from the movie is not taken from Dante’s View.
But what the characters are looking at are the salt flats and basin from Dante’s View. To create Mos Eisley a matte painting is added to the natural scene. (en.m.wikipedia.org)
Look closely to see the real Panamint Mountains in the background.
Checkout Steve Hall’s Death Valley Adventures, Star Wars in Death Valley to find out more about the 6 areas where 9 filming locations took place.