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Closed Sand Dune Areas

Ibex Dunes

Ibex Dunes
Ibex Dunes are closed to vehicles

Location:  The dunes are in the very South-Eastern portion of Death Valley National Park. West of Highway 127 about 7 miles West of Dumont. Hike about one mile from the Saratoga Springs Road for access. An old talc mine at the base of the Saddle Peak Hills overlooks the dunes from the east. Closest access from Dumont: head towards Baker on Highway 127 past Little Dumont.  About 1 mile past Little Dumont, take a right on a dirt road next to the historical marker (Harry Wade Exit Route - 30 miles from Baker). About 4 miles in, you will see the dunes off to the right.  There will be an intersection where you take a right towards Sarasota Springs & Ibex. The closest approach to the dunes is about 4.5 miles north on this road (past the turnoff for Sarasota Springs).

If you want to come in from the north, take a right on Hwy 127 from Dumont.  Before you reach Ibex Pass, take a left on a dirt road near the microwave facility.  Follow this road down a wash towards Ibex Springs and Sarasota.  There will be an intersection about 3 miles in.  Right will lead you to Ibex Springs.  Left will take you to Ibex Dunes and Sarasota Springs.

GPS Coordinates: 35°41'27.22"N, 116°22'4.96"W

Managed By: National Park Service. The dunes were managed by the BLM until 1994 when passage of the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA) of 1994 transferred the area to the National Park Service (NPS) at Death Valley National Park. Designated as a Wilderness Area..


Date of Closure: 1994.

Type of Closure: Permanent

Reason for Closure:  Wilderness Designation, California Desert Protection Act

Access Roads that have been closed/decommissioned by National Park Service

To walk on the dunes, you must park about 1 mile away and walk.  The mines are another 1/4 to 1/2 mile further. Even though these roads already existed, and could have been utilized for access and parking, they "didn't exist" when the area was designated as Wilderness. National Park Service has since decommissioned these roads.  This scenario is typical of many pre-existing roads that are now closed due to the California Desert Protection Act.

1. East of Ibex Dunes from Highway 127 - Rainbow Talc Mine Access Road. San Bernardino County included this road in its RS 2477 assertion dated July 24, 1988.

Ibex Dunes Road Closed Death Valley National Park   Ibex Dunes Road Closed Wilderness   Ibex Dunes Road Closed

2. North of Ibex Dunes

Ibex Dunes Road Closed

3. Northwest of Ibex Dunes

Ibex Dunes Road Closed   Ibex Dunes Road Closed

4. West of Ibex Dunes - Main access from within Death Valley. This road can easily be seen from the top of the dunes and from the air.

Ibex Dunes Road Closed   Ibex Dunes Road Closed

Satellite Image clearly shows this historic access road.

Other information:


The mine had been located during the 1980s by two mining explorers and they discovered and filed claims upon what was considered some of the most highly valuable talc certainly in the United States.  They had international interest in development.  The area had been surveyed for wilderness characteristics by BLM in the 1970s when they did the wilderness inventory and was specifically recommended excluded in the 1980 California Desert Plan for inclusion in the wilderness preservation system.  Past mining activity had closed down at the Ibex area adjacent when it was incorporated into Death Valley National park at an earlier stage. Though this is clear evidence of mineral values in the area.  Instead of accepting BLM recommendation, in 1994 the California Desert Protection Act (CDPA) expanded Death Valley to incorporate the area of the Park ignoring the agency recommendation, and additionally placing it in the National Wilderness Preservation System.  The access road from Highway 127 was in such a condition that a normal touring car could pass over much of its distance.  This was totally ignored in the CDPA and while it originally served as a boundary between two wilderness study areas, it ceased to exist.  The outcome of several years of negotiations in which no mining plan could ever be approved on NPS staff, the owners of the claims sold the property to the National Park Service.  Sadly, it was a mine that could have generated income, property taxes and employment.  Instead, the agency spent public money to prevent its development.  Located some 4.5 miles from a paved road, it is now far removed from even public view and few will ever see the frame that the original owners build over the mine even though it is a lovely historic structure.

San Bernardino County included the road into Rainbow Talc Mine in its RS 2477 assertion dated July 24, 1988.

Endangered or Threatened Species:

  • None


Other Photos:

Aerial Photos

Ibex Dunes Aerial Photo   Ibex Dunes Aerial Photo

The Dunes

Ibex Dunes   Ibex Dunes   Ibex Dunes

Ibex Dunes   Ibex Dunes   Ibex Dunes

Talc Mines adjacent to Ibex Dunes (3 separate areas)

Ibex Dunes Talc Mine   Ibex Dunes Talc Mine   Ibex Dunes Talc Mine   Ibex Dunes Talc Mine

Ibex Springs - north of Ibex Dunes. Old silver and talc mines.

Ibex Springs   Ibex Springs   Ibex Springs   Ibex Springs

Sarasota Springs - west of Ibex Dunes

Sarasota Springs   Sarasota Springs   Sarasota Springs   Sarasota Springs   Sarasota Springs

Harry Wade Exit Route - Historical Landmark #622

After getting to Death Valley with the ill-fated 1849 caravan, Harry Wade found this exit route for his ox-drawn wagon and thereby saved his life and the lives of his wife and children. At this point the Wade party came upon the known Spanish Trail to Cajón Pass. This marker is located just south of Little Dumont on Hwy 127.

Harry Wade Exit Route

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