GPS Coordinates: 36.486040, -117.630900 (36°29’09.7″N 117°37’51.2″W)
Lee Flat is one of those remote isolated parts of Death Valley National Park. It can be accessed only via an off-roading trail, a high ground clearance with an all wheel or 4 wheel drive vehicle.
The long washboard Saline Valley Road offers rough access to the Lee Flat Joshua Tree Forest. A rarely visited Saline Valley Dunes, hot springs, and the remains of the Salt Tramway are the other highlights.
All through the gravel roads in either direction, you will see a good view of the Joshua Trees. Lee Flats is roughly about 23 miles one way from Panamint Springs.
Occasionally and if you are lucky, you will get an earful from the low flying jets from the nearby Airbase. You might be able to catch a jet doing a fast maneuver into the Rainbow Canyon and fly over the Badlands.
Best Time to Visit / Photograph
The best time to visit is during Spring, Fall and early Summer as the weather would be mild, manageable, and not too harsh. This is the best spot to see sunrise and sunset. You can also do stargazing and astrophotography at night. At this time, the light pollution will be minimal to almost nothing and mostly dark.
Recommended Camera Gear
- Digital Camera with Ultra Wide or Normal to Mid-Range Zoom Lens
- Cable shutter release or Remote Shutter Release
- Steady Tripod
- Star tracker unit for Astrophotography / Telescope for stargazing
- High powered flashlight for light painting and regular night time use
- Layered clothing to adapt to the changing weather
- Carry plenty of water and snacks to keep yourself full and hydrated
- Wear comfortable shoes – preferably sand shoes
- GPS tracker to track your current location no cell service throughout the park
- Headlamps and portable battery packs to keep your electronics charged
How to get there
From Panamint Springs, head southwest on HWY 190 towards Father Crowley Overlook. Turn right onto Saline Valley Alt Route. That will take you to Saline Valley Road. Stay right at the “Y” where the road splits.
Place to Stay
The nearest designated camping site is the Panamint Springs. Technically, you could simply camp by the Lee Flat, as long as you follow the “No Trace Left Behind” policy and clean up properly before you leave.
Pictorial Highlights from this place…