The Heart-Shaped Pool

This is only one of the many posts relating to our Death Valley adventure. If you would like to see more of what we did on that trip please visit our main Death Valley page.

One of the groups that stopped by the Geologists’ Cabin while we were there mentioned a few items or places we should go take a look at if we had the chance. One of those was “the Heart-Shaped Pool” which was “back up in the hills behind the cabin, like, turn left at the next ‘road’ and head up that direction.” On one hand we like directions like that because it inevitably means this will be, by default, an adventure to find it. On the other hand GPS coordinates would be nice as well. They mentioned they were headed that direction next and we should see them appear above us in 20 minutes or so. They were true to their word and we indeed did see them appear on the top of a ridge behind the cabin where they stopped for a moment to honk, wave and then continue on their way. It seemed that it took them longer to get to that point than it should have and so we were even more intrigued to head back up there and take a look.

The next morning we decided to explore back up behind the cabin and so first made sure we had extra water, fuel, food and our recovery gear in the Tacoma before heading out. We took a left at the road below the cabin and then the next left about a 1/4 mile further down the road that headed back up into the hills. The first clue about the delay getting up to the ridge became readily apparent as we soon came to a section of the trail that had been washed out leaving two, four-foot deep gashes crossing the trail at irregular angles. It looked gnarly enough that we put the Tacoma into 4-wheel drive and then proceeded to immediately get stuck. We then tried 4-low. Still stuck. We finally used my rear locker for the first time ever and that got us unstuck right away and we continued up the basketball-sized boulder-strewn “trail” that had a couple of more washed out sections which made the going slow. So…now we know why it took so long for them to appear at the ridge yesterday.

Looking Back Down On The Cabin from the ridge behind it
Looking Back Down On The Cabin

A couple hundred yards past the overlook point we came to a spot where we could see a couple of options to explore. To the left was an old mine and mill setup and to the right was what could only be the Hart-Shaped Pool.

Heart-shaped pool2
More Rounded-Triangle Than Heart-Shaped But Still…


Willow at the heart-shaped pool
Even Willow Didn’t Want to Try Swimming Here

Because of the pool’s construction we don’t think it was used as a holding or retaining pond in the mining process as its plaster surface would probably not hold up to rocks or a gravel slurry very well. It was made more like our family cabin’s swimming pool, for light duty use and the holding only of water.

A Gunite Base That Had Been Repaired With Plaster
A Gunite Base That Had Been Repaired With Plaster

Also, because of its placement on the hill and the resultant awesome view of Striped Butte we are assuming it was used as a recreational pool by some lucky miners back in the day.

Picture of striped butte Taken from the pool With My Back To The Wall As If I Was Sitting In The Pool
Picture Taken With My Back To The Wall As If I Was Sitting In The Pool

We’ll do some research and if we can find any facts about this interesting feature we will certainly post them here.


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