Furnace Creek 508 2D and 3D Maps

By Doug Dog Sloan, solo and team veteran

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Maps, profiles, and 3d images were made using Delorme Topo USA 3.0, then images were captured with Snagit 6.3 screen capture software. Text was added and images finalized with Adobe Photoshop Elements. Note: Mileages shown in the profiles are approximate, as the software just isn't that accurate. They could be off by a mile or two. Follow the official course descriptions for mileages.

Stage-by-Stage Elevation Gain Data provided by John Gower, crew for Peter Penguin Pop in 2004.

Stage One: Santa Clarita to California City, 82.25 miles. Elevation Gain: 6176'.

After a 5-mile group ride across town, the race starts up San Francisquito Canyon (Mountain Section One). In the next 15 miles, you will climb 2,500 feet. The climb is generally moderate; the climb before the turn to Elizabeth Lake is short and steep. A windy flat section through the Mojave Desert leads to the windmill climb at mile 44 (Mountain Section Two). Over seven miles, you’ll climb 1000 feet, probably into a stiff headwind. Another fast descent takes you down to the town of Mojave with a couple of quick turns. There is a shopping center and Subway on the right before you leave town where the crew can grab food. Then it’s a fast shot into Cali City.

Stage Two: California City to Trona, 70.25 miles. Elevation Gain: 4212'.

From California City, head north over flat desert terrain to the Johannesburg climb at mile 110 (Mountain Section Three). You’ll climb 1500 feet in seven miles; the desert climb is steeper than it looks and grows progressively steeper. Drink plenty; each year some riders overheat here. After Jo’burg, you’ll ride over a series of pesky rollers before a long fast descent to the road to Trona. The crew must gas the vehicle and get ice and drinks in Trona as there is no gas overnight until Shoshone and no services until Baker.

Stage Three: Trona to Furnace Creek, 99.2 miles. Elevation Gain: 7538'.

Just north of Trona (mile 160) there is a 1000 foot climb up the Trona Bump (Mountain Section Four); the descent from there into the Panamint Valley is winding and may be fast with a tailwind. Some of the road ahead is very rough, but it used to much worse. At mile 200 you’ll begin the 13 mile, 3800 feet climb up Townes Pass (El 4956’) (Mountain Section Five). The climb up to 2000 feet is gentle, then there are steep grades of 10-13% to 4000 feet; the last few miles are gradual. It will be chilly at the top and you have a fast 17-mile, 5000 foot descent to Stovepipe Wells, where it may be hot! Desert rollers take you to Furnace Creek.

Stage Four: Furnace Creek to Shoshone, 73.6 miles. Elevation Gain: 6744'.

South through Death Valley, the alluvial fans are invisible in the dark, but you climb and descend several thousand feet through Badwater (El -282’) to the base of the exit passes (Mountain Section Six). The first climb starts at mile 300 and climbs about 1000 feet in five miles to Jubilee (El 1285’). A one-mile descent leads to the next climb, about 2300 feet in 9.5 miles to Salsberry (El 3315’). Each climb has sustained sections of 5-5% grade and usually poor road surface; in fact, all of the road is terrible after you pass Badwater.

Stage Five: Shoshone to Baker, 56.3 miles. Elevation Gain: 2186'.

After an easy 750 feet climb up Ibex pass (Mountain Section Seven), there’s a killer, long downhill, then the road to Baker is mostly flat and straight. Watch for Baker’s world-famous, world’s largest thermometer in the distance. The crew should stock up on gas, ice and food in Baker as no supplies are available until the finish.

Stage Six: Baker to Kelso, 34.90 miles. Elevation Gain: 2920'.

Leaving Baker, you climb a gradual but relentless 2500 feet in 20 miles (Mountain Section Eight). It may be heating up, so drink plenty. A long descent leads to Kelso at mile 418.

Stage Seven: Kelso to Almost Amboy, 33.8 miles. Elevation Gain: 2280'.

Compared to the just completed Baker Grade, you now head up a slightly steeper climb: 2000 feet in 12 miles to the top of the Granite Mountains (El 4000’) (Mountain Section Nine). The downhill to the outskirts of Amboy is fast and long; watch out for cattle guards.

Stage Eight: Almost Amboy to Twenty Nine Palms, 58.2 miles. Elevation Gain: 4170'.

After you pass through the funky throw-back hamlet of Amboy (where you can not count on any services), you cross the valley and at mile 472 begin the last climb: 1500 feet in 10 miles to Sheephole Summit (Mountain Section Ten). The climb begins gradually and gets steeper near the top. The shoulder is very sandy; the crew should be careful with the vehicle. A quick descent leads to the rough road and rolling slight uphill to the finish line.

All Profiles below to 5,000' Scale

Stage-by-Stage Elevation Data provided by John Gower, crew for Peter Penguin Pop in 2004. More info.
START TO TS#1 6176 6176 82 82.13 75
TS#1 TO TS#2 4212 10388 70 152.43 60
TS#2 TO TS#3 7538 17926 99 251.78 76
TS#3 TO TS#4 6744 24670 73 325.08 92
TS#4 TO TS#5 2186 26856 56 381.41 39
TS#5 TO TS#6 2920 29776 35 416.31 84
TS#6 TO TS#7 2280 32056 34 449.93 68
TS#7 TO FINISH 4170 36226 58 508.41 71