Artist’s Drive is a 9-mile drive in Inyo County that winds you around gorgeous formations and views at every turn. There are occasional turnouts which allow you to walk around and the explore.
The main stop is Artist’s Palette which I highly recommend you get out for. This area provides evidence for one of the Death Valley area’s most violently explosive volcanic periods. The Miocene-aged formation is made up of cemented gravel, playa deposits, and volcanic debris, perhaps 5,000 feet thick. Chemical weathering and hydrothermal alteration cause the oxidation and other chemical reactions that produce the variety of colors displayed.
These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (iron compounds produce red, pink and yellow, decomposition of tuff-derived mica produces green, and manganese produces purple).
Personal Experience: I’m telling you, Death Valley exceeded my expectations in so many ways. Do not let the name scare you off! Also, do not visit in summer, where the heat may actually turn you into a death in the valley. Artist drive and palette was filled with so many jaw-dropping moments and colors that made me feel like we were driving through a sherbet and chocolate dessert land!