LIKE NO PLACE ON EARTH
FROM THE LOWEST POINT IN THE U.S., TO DRIVING UP ONE OF ITS HIGHEST MOUNTAINS, THIS JOURNEY IS TRULY OTHERWORLDLY.
The Journey: Death Valley to Mt. Whitney, CA
Distance: 274 km
Elevation Range: -85 metres to 2,552 metres
Vehicle: 2020 Range Rover Sport HSE
It’s almost 5:30 a.m., and first light is just creeping in at Death Valley’s Badwater Basin, the starting point of this journey. Moments into the drive, which will take us north to State Route 190, we see a sign nailed into a cliff at least 28 stories up that reads “Sea Level”—a reminder that this is the lowest point in the U.S., and the only way is up.
The first ascent kicks off on Artist’s Drive—a 15-kilometre, one-way road rising up the face of the Black Mountains. The route is named after the incredible pastel spectrum of colors etched into the rock formations. Rising to about 490 metres, the road gives a stunning vantage point over the valley below.
It’s hard to get a sense of just how immense Death Valley National Park is. At 3.4 million acres, it’s larger than the states of Delaware and Rhode Island combined.
The first break in the journey is to explore the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes, which are around two kilometres out of Stovepipe Wells Village. Arriving after one of the frequent sandstorms, the dunes look wiped clean, just as they might have been 10,000 years ago.
The road to Lone Pine is long and undulating. This section of desert, broken up only by a sparse peppering of sagebrush, is in desperate need of a musical interlude. The Apple CarPlay® interface makes it easy to play a curated playlist.†
While the dirt roads through the Alabama Hills are picturesque, they’re also slippery––or would be if we weren’t in the Range Rover Sport. One of the noteworthy wind-whipped rock outcroppings looks like a mobius loop and perfectly frames Mt. Whitney.
Seeing the Alabama Hills for the first time, one may feel a sense of déjà vu, which is understandable because they have been used as the setting for hundreds of movies and TV shows.
The climb to Mt. Whitney is a hair-raising, 18-kilometre drive up a precarious access road. Despite the stories of frequent landslides and the boulders teetering on the road’s edge, the Range Rover Sport inspires confidence in the face of the genuinely terrifying terrain. Nature’s awesome beauty is our reward, but the view is also humbling.
RANGE ROVER SPORT
FIND OUT FOR YOURSELF WHY THE RANGE ROVER SPORT IS SUCH AN ELEVATED DRIVE
A POWERFUL STATEMENT
The Range Rover Sport is a vehicle whose sporty looks and powerful stance create an impact—even while standing still. The look inside the cabin is contemporary, yet luxurious and distinctive.
The available 518 hp and 575 hp Supercharged V8 engines, lightweight aluminum body and standard driver-assist technologies like Torque Vectoring by Braking* make it the driving enthusiasts’ SUV.
*These systems are not a substitute for driving safely with due care and attention and will not function under all circumstances, speeds, weather and road conditions, etc. Driver should not assume that these systems will correct errors of judgment in driving.
†Driving while distracted can result in loss of vehicle control. Do not operate, adjust or view the navigation or multimedia systems under conditions that will affect your safety or the safety of others. The user interface is a product of Apple and its terms and privacy statements apply. Requires compatible iPhone and message and data usage rates apply. Apple CarPlay is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.