Why are there sand dunes in Death Valley?
The sand dunes of Death Valley are in specific areas not because the sand was generated where it has fallen, but because these are areas where the sand has become trapped. The sand comes from eroded canyons and washes, and when the wind blows them to these areas, it gets caught and creates sand dunes.
“Sand boarding is only allowed on the Mesquite Flat Dunes and prohibited on all other dune systems in the park to protect sensitive plants and animals.”
Today we found ourselves on the Mesquite Sand Dunes.
“These dunes are the best known and easiest to visit in the national park. Located in central Death Valley near Stovepipe Wells, access is from Hwy. 190 or from the unpaved Sand Dunes Road. Although the highest dune rises only about 100 feet, the dunes actually cover a vast area. This dune field includes three types of dunes: crescent, linear, and star shaped. Polygon-cracked clay of an ancient lakebed forms the floor. Mesquite trees have created large hummocks that provide stable habitats for wildlife.”