ghost towns

Hiking Surprise Canyon in Death Valley

A good hike through Surprise Canyon averages about four hours. Many people go far over that and trek into Panamint City, but the canyon is well worth the time to explore on its own–picture relaxing with your feet in the splashing creek and a nice picnic in the shade after a good workout. Use these detailed directions and trail tips to experience all the canyon has to offer.

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Death Valley’s Five Strangest Places

Amidst Death Valley’s barbed desert expanses, lonesome stretches of highway, twisting dirt roads, and eternal quiet, life (and possibly even death) seems to take on a different shape. From creepy to beautiful, mysterious to moving, ridiculous to sublime, here are five of the strangest places expert author Jenna Blough has encountered in her many desert rambles.

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Featured Travel Guide

Moon Guides Author Spotlight

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman has always viewed growing up in Northern California as both a blessing and curse. There is so much to see, do, and experience all within a short drive—from broad sequoias in the Sierras to ancient lava beds north of Mount Shasta, from creaky Gold Rush towns to the pampering Wine Country—that she began to wonder why anyone would ever leave.

Elizabeth was eventually lured out of the Golden State to Alaska’s far north, where she traveled the Inside Passage, baked bread under the midnight sun in Denali National Park, and chronicled the state’s burgeoning sustainable agriculture for Alaska Magazine. These adventures culminated in penning the travel guide InsightGuides: Alaska.

But Elizabeth knew her California roots were too deep to stay away for long. Raised in Carmel, where her great-great grandmother opened the first restaurant (a soup kitchen with dirt floors!) at the turn of the 20th century, she would always call California home. So she returned and devoted herself to writing about the state she loves most. Her work has included the travel guides SmartGuide: San Francisco and InsightGuides: San Francisco, as well as reporting on food and sustainable agriculture for local publications.

Elizabeth Linhart Veneman is the author of several Moon travel guides, including Moon California and Moon Napa & Sonoma.