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The Story of Old Stovepipe Wells

In Death Valley, water is often the defining landmark. The well from which the area takes its name stood at the junction of two Indian trails in the sand dunes. As the only known waterhole in the dunes, it was vital long before it was named. However, sand storms in the vicinity often obscured the exact location of the well. When the mining towns of Rhyolite and Skidoo were booming, this well became the only known water source on the cross-valley road, which was then frequently traveled by miners – many of whom hadn’t been through before and had difficulty locating the small well hidden in the vast dunes. After a long – ultimately
successful search for the water they knew was there, two prospectors looked into their stores to find something handy with which to mark the well, a long length of stovepipe. From then on, the well bore a name, and the region surrounding it bore the name of the well: Stovepipe Wells. Though no longer marked with a stovepipe, the well still remains. From here, head East (northeast) and take Scotty’s Castle Road at the junction. The old well is just off the road in about three miles. It is marked with a sign.