Marble Bath, Death Valley
As you go over Steel Pass Road in Death Valley National Park between the Eureka Sand Dunes and Upper Warm Springs there is an interesting oddity to be found if you know where to look. A cast iron bath tub buried in a wash and filled with blue marbles.
And the story behind this tub goes something like this. There is a location shown on various topographical maps called Marble Bath. The actual location is at the mouth of a narrow canyon leading into the Last Chance Mountains. In the bed rock of the wash are shall depressions sometimes called tinajas. A tinaja is a bedrock depression that fills with water during the rains and pools there for a long time after the rains end. These are the only semi-reliable source of water for many miles in an otherwise very arid stretch of desert.
Unfortunately, depending on the age of map, the location is many times mis-labeled shown in a different spot. This false location is shown much closer to Steel Pass Road and has fooled many folks in their quest to locate the temporary pool. Before the area became part of Death Valley National Park, to validate the erroneous maps in a good natured humorous way, a desert explorer, research chemist, inventor, mountaineer, and all around good guy named Wendel Moyer decided to prank the unknowing.
Moyer recruited a few friends and rounded up an old bath tub and many, many boxes of blue marbles. They installed the tub in the bogus location that was identified as “Marble Bath” on the erroneous maps. Moyer’s “Marble Bath” remains where he installed it the early 1990s, and has become a popular stop for people traveling Steel pass road. If Moyer were still living he would be very pleased with the way the Marble Bath is still enjoyed today. Sadly, Moyer died just after climbing 22,000 foot Ojas del Salado in Chile in 1995.
The bath tub full of blue marbles is hidden in plain sight to those on Steele Pass going southbound, as they're looking right at it if they know where to look. It's about 100+ yards off the road in the canyon wash. You can look right down on it from the closed road that branches off at the summit, the one that climbs into the Last Chance Range. Please leave these wonders of the desert for others explorers to discover. And hey, why not plan ahead and bring your blue marbles to add to the tub. When you have lost all your marbles then you are a true desert rat.