Vagabonds & Hot Springs

1. Shoshone Village, at the junction of CA 178 (Hwy NV 372) and CA 127, is  about 30 minutes from The Bunkhouse.

Perched at the southeastern edge of Death Valley and a gateway to the southern Amargosa basin, the Village of Shoshone is enjoyed by travelers from around the world. A lush oasis complete with a warm springs pool, Inn, RV park, general store and gift shop hearkening back to yesteryear, two eateries and an airport. It is a piece of paradise in the vast Mojave desert. This charming Village also offers visitors a health center, post office and a museum ,which offers free wireless internet access.

Stop here a while to meander through the old cemetery, explore Dublin Gulch Caves or the Tonopah & Tidewater railroad guide. Stroll by historic buildings, or hike in the surrounding hills. Stop by the Amargosa Conservancy for information about the area’s unique ecology. Browse the gift shop in the Shoshone Museum and meet the mammoths that roamed this area thousands of years ago. It’s a great place to learn about the area’s fascinating geology, wildlife and flowers, and history spanning from the time of prehistoric animals through First American culture, to mining, farming, bootlegging and more!

Dublin Gulch Caves: The caves in the soft hills of this wash were used as housing for miners and vagabonds from the early 1900s through the 1960s. Warm in the winter, cool in the summer, some of the dwellings featured split levels, stovepipe chimneys, and alcove-rs.

These hills housed many people famous in the history of Death Valley, including Death Valley Scotty, Shorty Harris, and the Ashford brothers. Pick up a self-guided walking tour and map at the Shoshone Museum. Take the 3 mile trail that follows the bluffs overlooking Lake Tecopa, or follow the trail behind the Shoshone Museum along the Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad guide.

Shoshone Cemetery: Just across from Dublin Gulch lies the Shoshone Cemetery. For some of the residents of the caves, this became their final home. The historic cemetery bears the remains of Senator Charles Brown and his family, along with many other residents of Shoshone. The Museum offers a complete guidebook to the cemetery and its inhabitants.

Shoshone tribal council info:

2. Tecopa is about 20 minutes south of Shoshone on CA 127. Or take NV160 back toward Las Vegas and watch for the Tecopa sign on the right.

Tecopa was established in 1877, but it wasn’t until the railroad reached the town in 1907 that Tecopa grew like a tumbleweed. Tecopa Consolidated Mining Company shipped over $4 million in sliver and lead ores before the mines closed in 1957. Tecopa was nearly abandoned, but a quiet renaissance has been taking place. The town as become home to artists, engineers and poets–living side-by-side with old miners who never left.

3. Dumont Dunes south of Tecopa on CA 127

The Dumont Duness off-highway vehicle area is an exciting 8,150 acre remote area for OHV recreation–and photography! Bordered by steep volcanic hills and the slow runing Amargosa River, the region is easily recognized from a distance by its distinctive sand dunes. The historic Tonopah & Tidewater Railroad, to the east, was in operation between 1905 and 1940. The vegetation here consists of creosote scrub, some annual grasses, and wildflowers in the spring.  The low elevation in the area makes for warm-to-extremely-hot conditions in spring and summer.

The Kingston Range Wilderness borders the area to the north. This area is CLOSED to motor vehicles. Travel outside the riding area to the south and east is permitted only on designated routes and only with street-legal vehicles.

Grimshaw Lake is visible from CA127 at the Tecopa turnoff. It’s the heart of Tecopa Hot Springs and a perfect spot to bird watch. The year-round riparian habitat attracts both birds and other desert animals to the area.

Surrounded by delicate mud hills, it is truly a peaceful and relaxing spot to watch a sunrise or sunset, or take a desert stroll. It is located 1/4 mile north of the Tecopa Hot Springs Campground.

Tecopa Hot Springs 6 miles off CA127 on Tecopa Hot Springs Road

Originally Tecopa Hot Springs was the largest Native American settlement in the region because of its natural hot springs, wildlife and wetlands, and proximity to the trading routes that became known as the Old Spanish Trail. Tecopa was called “Yaga” then.

A series of hard-rock mining camps in the late 1800s were named Tecopa after a Paiute leader who was famous for negotiating peace during those rough and tumble days. Chief Tecopa is buried in Pahrump. In 1908, the Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad built the Tecopa station, running through the spectacular Amargosa Canyon.

Today’s traveler can take advantage of pristine desert landscape, view sunsets, and take advantage of Tecopa Hot Spring’s healing mineral waters at three different resorts with private baths and campgrounds with full RV hook-ups, the Poo-Ha-Bah Native Healing Center or the Inyo County campround, with separate bath houses for men and women.

In spring and fall, vast flocks of migratory birds take advantage of the marshes and surrounding canyons, particularly Grimshaw Lake, an area birding locale and protected wetland. Spring wildflower viewing, photograph, bicycling, gliding, and hiking in the Kingston, Tecopa, Ibex and Sheepshead mountains are also excellent activities.

China Ranch Date Farm, Furnace Creek Road in Tecopa

China Ranch is a family-owned and operated small farm, a lush piece of greenery amidst the forbidding Mojave Desert near southern Death Valley. Imagine towering cottonwoods and willows by a wandering stream, date plams and abundant wildlife, all hidden away in some of the most spectacular scenery the desert has to offer.

The Ranch is also rich in history. The Old Spanish Trail is within walking distance, as is the historic Tonopah & Tidewater railroad bed. Hike to nearby abandoned mines if you wish or just relax and browse through the store. The Ranch offers several varieties of California date nut bread, muffins and their own hybrids.

The Amargosa River begins in Tecopa and offers a grandiose display of unsullied desert geology, perfect for photography or hiking.