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Once you enter Death Valley California, you have your choice of various places to visit. One of the most obvious being the Ubehebe volcanic crater at the north end of the valley, and then there are the extensive lava beds around the area, and the Joshua Trees have their fans as well….

But for the truly adventurous, keep an eye out, as you start the short loop that leads to the volcano, and you will see a track receding to the southwest, with an unassuming sign post that reads “The Racetrack – 27”. Follow that road and after 27 miles of slow driving over washboard gravel, you will be rewarded by entry into “The Rock Racing” area, and the Grandstand, which is the uplifted bedrock that stretches to the base of the bare mountains that surround it.

When you step onto the dry lake bed, first you may notice the countless fingers of tiny cracks, stretching to the horizon. Then you will begin to notice a beige smear, here and there, across the dry sand. But this is a prelude to the main event, follow the Park Services signs, walking for about ten minutes to find the Grandstand, a 100 by 500 foot natural outcropping, left behind when the lake receded, leaving this island high and dry.

Now, make the three mile walk southeast to the beginning of the racetrack, and you will find the main attraction. As you get further across the lake bed, you will find hundreds of very scattered rocks.

Among the rocks, you will see smears in the sand. They run straight, jagged and even cross over one another or turn back on their own path, and most of those smears lead to a rock.  A racing rock.

Since the rocks seem to move at a glacial pace, there have been no confirmed reports of any one actually having seen them move. Since camping is not allowed in the park, it may never be possible for a human to actually witness the racing first hand. But if you would like to be a witness of the strange rock race in Death Valley, please remember that moving rocks is unfair and spoils the fun, and is also a heavily fined breach of decorum with the Rangers.

Geology.com has pictures and some well-based scientific theories on what is happening here. But as even the authors of the article agree, “Perhaps this story will remain more interesting if the real answer is never discovered!”

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