This was a fun 4x4 drive to take my Jeep on. The road is not easy to spot from the main paved road, hence it is not well traveled and if you do encounter anyone else along the way, they are likely doing the same thing you are. Plenty of solitude with cool rock formations to look at along the way. The road is a bit rocky in a few spots but not anything extreme or crazy. Exploring the Inyo Mine ghost town way out there was pretty cool too. Fun drive :)
Nice little vista to get a better view of the canyon and valley before descending into Panamint Springs. There is a single bench where you can take in the views.
We were the only person there (other than a ranger making his rounds) so we just drove the half mile or so to the end of the trail.
Beautiful drive. Stock SUV's would be fine. We drove in from Death Valley rather than starting on the Nevada side. Very secluded and there are some neat spots out there to rest and relax. Lots of hidden mine shafts and stellar views of the sunset!
We hiked this at the end of the season (mid-May) so had to deal with temp in the low 90's. Long sections of the "trail" in the wash are hard to follow and with the zero shade, made for some cranky hikers. Thankfully there is plenty of shade in a lot of sections of the hike. Some scrambling and having to hack through foliage that had taken over the trail. Great shady spot to stop and have lunch near the trial end. As always, make sure to bring enough water. Those open sections were brutal, especially towards the end of the day.
Between Death Valley and Lone Pine we stopped at desolate Father Crowley Point (the same as Father Crowley Vista) to view the Panamint Valley. The road is fine for a 4x4, but we could only drive part way down the dirt road in our van, and walked the rest of the way to the vista. It had been 129 degrees in Death Valley the previous day and it was already getting hot, but the stop and views were worth it, giving us a chance to stretch our legs and walk down to the vista and back up to the paved parking area. The view really gives you a sense of how big Death Valley NP really is, since this is on the other side of the mountains from the Mesquite Sand Dunes area.
4WD necessary for deep sand in parking area and leading up to it.
Otherwise, hike is great and has immediate payoff-- grottos and short (8-15'), fun dry falls after less than half a mile. Some technical equipment may be required. Canyon continues after the 4 mile mark, but the narrows section ends. We only saw one other group during the entire hike, which is pretty normal for Grotto Canyon.