I’ve been to Death Valley National Park several times and am planning my trip there over the upcoming winter break. After sometime searching, I have found what I consider one of the best guide books for the area. Death Valley and the Northern Mojave-A Vistor’s Guide written by William C. Tweed and Lauren Davis, published in 2003 covers the area in a deep, well thought out and presented manner.
The book starts with a quick description of the landforms and geology and goes on to describe the climate and life found in the region. The next two chapters are devoted to the history of the area divided into two basic aras; pre-1900 and post-1900. All of the first four chapters are a great read and very informative, but the value of the book starts in chapter five.
The next six chapters cover the Northern Mojave in regions. The areas are Indian Wells, Searles and Panamint Valley, Saline and Eureka Valleys, Northern Death Valley, Southern Death Valley, and the Amargosa Valley and Shoshone regions. Each chapter starts with a map of the region showing the featured destinations that are described in the following pages which are the meat and potatoes of the book, they give a complete and thorough description of each of the destinations.
Each destination is described in a way that lets the reader determine if it is really a site they would be interested in visiting. I have visited several of the areas described and the text of the book not only describes the ares well compared to the actual location, but also give a good history of the site from how it got it’s name to what historical significance it has or had. Following the description are good directions to the attraction. In addition to the description and directions, the authors include a good color photograph or two of the site. The photos are a nice touch and not usually found in guide books. I really appreciated the extra touch.
If you are heading to the Northern Mojave Desert area, including Death Valley, I strongly recommend you get this book as one of your resources for the trip.