Death Valley National Park is full of exciting things to see like the rocks that move on their own and the lowest point in the USA; however, many people don’t know about Father Crowley Overlook on the western outskirts of the park. This vista point is a famous spot for fighter jets to test their skills going through a narrow canyon and it is really cool to see in person. Here is all the information if you want to check it out.
- Most days there is a fly through, but it is pretty much impossible to know when
- Location: CA-190, Inyo, CA
From Highway 395 you will want to head east on Highway 190 at the town of Olancha for about 37 miles. Eventually, you will see the pull out on the left-hand side as you wind your way up into the hills. There is a large parking lot you can utilize and pit toilets as well. I have never seen it very busy as most people only stay for a few minutes and then move on.
After arriving, you will basically be waiting for the jets to come through. I usually see people setting up chairs and just planning to spend a few hours there. The hard part about it is that they are going so fast it is often difficult to even hear them coming, but you can try to listen for the jets.
We got lucky when we went, and there was a couple that had a radio and was listening to the local base frequencies to try and hear when would come through. The couple went to this area a lot, and they told me that they listen for calls that sound like “Charlie to Juliet” which means they will be going through the canyon, or sometimes they say “Star Wars Canyon.” The couple told me that they only hear them call it out for like 1 in 4 of the fly throughs, so even this method is not super effective.
We waited for about 30 minutes and then as I was walking to the pit toilet the couple with the radio heard the call and ran to the edge, so we followed. Two minutes later there was a jet blasting through the canyon which you can see in the below gif.
We didn’t have a lot of time to stay so after the jet came through we decided to move on. It was a fantastic experience though as the plane was close and it’s just a super unique thing to see in California. Check it out if you are interested and let me know if you have more information on when the jets come through in the comments.