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Current weather nearby
- Few clouds
- Temperature: 20 °C
- Wind: East, 7.4 km/h
- Pressure: 1017 hPa
- Rel. Humidity: 73 %
- Visibility: 10 km
55.7 km South-Southwest
Sun, 10/28/2012 - 00:00
Scotty's Castle is not a castle and did not belong to the Scotty for whom it was named, but the interesting story behind it has made it one of the main features of Death Valley National Park in California.
Who is Scotty?
The Spanish Colonial-style villa was named after Wild West fraudster Walter Scott who swindled Chicago insurance magnate Albert Johnson into investing in a non-existent gold mine in Death Valley. When Johnson visited Death Valley, the weather proved beneficial to his health, he fell in love with the desert and had the villa built as a winter retreat.
Amazingly, Scott and Johnson remained friends and after the childless Johnson couple passed away, Scott even lived in the villa until he died in 1954.
Camp and Tour the Villa
The villa actually sits 205 meters above sea level at a canyon in the Grapevine Mountains in northern Death Valley so temperatures are more forgiving than the valley floor. Although it is a long way from other Death Valley attractions, good roads make it fairly accessible but be sure you have enough gasoline because the nearest fuel pumps are 45 miles awy.
Scotty's Castle has been admitting visitors since Johnson lost a fortune in the US Stock Market Crash of 1929. The insurance magnate rented out rooms to generate income. Even today, the US National Park Service holds guided tours of the villa's plush interior and imaginative underground water and electricity system.
There are no accommodations at Scotty's Castle, but there are developed camping grounds and a park ranger nearby. There are also in-park lodgings at other Death Valley sites which can serve as bases for further exploration of Death Valley.
A Great Introduction to the Valleys other Attractions
And when you've had your fill of the amazing story of Scotty's Castle, you can inspect the petroglyphs and limestone formations at Titus Canyon, a narrow gorge that can visually tell the interesting geological story of Death Valley. You can also take a look at Ubehebe Crater, which was created by volcanism and is estimated to be 2,000 to 7,000 years old.
The ride will prove to be a good introduction to Death Valley's other features. The 14,000 square km national park is well-known as the hottest, driest and lowest spot in North America. In it live more than 1,000 species of plants and numerous species of animals, including 350 kinds of birds.