The Grandstand via Racetrack Trail is a 1.8 mile lightly trafficked out and back trail located near Keeler, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is good for all skill levels. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, and nature trips and is best used from November until March.

Length1.8 miElevation gain59 ftRoute typeOut & back
Kid friendlyHikingNature tripsWalkingViewsWildlifeRockyWashed outFeeNo dogs
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Death Valley National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. The trail starts out at a turnout on Racetrack road, and you simply head out onto the dry playa to explore at your leisure. Starting from the pullout at the northern end of Racetrack Playa, you get to explore The Grandstand, a dark rock outcrop that stands out in stark contrast to the nearly white, dead flat playa. You'll also see many "moving rocks" scattered about, mostly near the Grandstand and between it and the trailhead. Drive to the pullout at the southern end of the playa, park, and walk east. You'll see authentic moving rocks (note the long trails in the mud), and you may even be able to see the curvature of the earth in the extraordinarily flat lakebed. Recent scientific studies finally caught some of these rocks in the act of moving, showing that it happens when there is a thin layer of water on the playa, and perhaps a sheet of floating ice. The ice makes a large surface for the wind to work on, and it drags any imbedded rocks along with it wherever it goes. Another theory says that rocks may move across wet mud under very high winds, which have been recorded as high as 70 miles per hour near the playa's surface.

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Reviews (17)
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Activities (13)
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Brandi Moore
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OHV/Off-road driving

We came in off the 190 in an F350. Some rough spots and took us 3 hours to go that route. The Grand Stand is amazing, the whole place is amazing. There are still quite a few moving rocks at the south end of the lake bed. It is sad to see where a rock once existed with a trail and no rock. Not to mention the tire tracks in the lake bed (no motor vehicles allowed) Vandals need to stay home. Have some respect. @wanderingbrandi

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DJ Goodman
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HikingGreat!No shade

The road from Ubehebe Crater is 27 miles (each way). The park recommends a 4WD vehicle but I believe most vehicles can make it. There might be a couple of deep ruts but you can avoid them. It took us about 45 minutes to get there without driving recklessly. Once at the trailhead, you’ll find it really isn’t a trail at all. You’ll cross a beautiful dry lake bed. We weren’t able to find any true sliding rocks. The ground looks like mosaic patterns! The Grandstand was interesting with the contrasting colors of the lake bed & surrounding area. In my opinion, this was worth our time & effort. Enjoy!

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Jeff Kempski
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HikingNo shade

The drive to racetrack was rough and not worth it in the end. I was expecting to see the moving rocks. Instead I saw rocks others carved into the ground to get the popular photo. I walked a good amount and didn’t see any natural moving rocks.

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Alfredo Rendon
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Hiking
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Emily Rumpf
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The road is a long and bumpy ride. We drove in a Toyota Rav and has no issues thankfully but it took us 3 hours each way. I wouldn’t mess around with this, we saw no one out there. The Grandstand or black rock structure was so awesome. It sticks out on as a stark distance between the playa. We climbed around on the rocks easily, it was very fun. Some bigger lizards too. The Sailing Stones were my favorite. Unfortunately, a lot of people have vandalized them and you can tell the rocks that made the trails are not the rocks that someone placed there. There are also a lot of trails with no rocks at the beginning or end. It’s disappointing no one has respect for such an awesome phenomenon. There are some legitimate ones but I wish they would keep a better eye on the place. Follow me on Instagram for pictures of the hikes and other adventures @wildrumpfie

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Allison Boyle
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Hiking

Just was up there recently and weather was perfect! Wrote a little trip report too. Definitely be careful driving out there, we did get a flat tire on our way back! Still totally worth going to see this place in person. http://www.shedreamsofalpine.com/blog/2017/12/6/a-weekend-in-death-valley-visit-the-racetrack-mesquite-flat-sand-dunes-and-badwater-basin

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Leslie Wong
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Nature trips

If you start across the Racetrack from the lot near the Grandstand, it's a surprisingly long walk across and back. On the way out from the Grandstand I passed what was left of a stream (moist earth and tumbleweed-type plants rooted) but on the way back didn't see it whatsoever! The rocks you want to see once you've checked out the Grandstand are way to the south end of the Playa, and more to the southeast end of it. If you go toward the south lot, you'll notice a lot of tracks with either no rock or the wrong rock trailing from it, sometimes a rock on each end of the trail smh. But heading east you'll find the less-disturbed rocks and their rightful tracks. PLEASE DO NOT MOVE OR TAKE ROCKS. And DEFINITELY drive out in a car suitable for offroading. Its a bumpy 27 mile drive the whole way!

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Tyler Chapleau
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Hiking
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Casandra Elliott
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Hiking
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Sucheta Joshi
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Hiking
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Ben Hamner
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Hiking
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Samantha Yancich
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Hiking
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Ricardo Calderon
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Hiking
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Adam Lassak
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Aaron H.
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Hiking
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Zaneta Reglinska
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Valerie Norton
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Hiking
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