This is one of the more scenic (along with Dantes View) Death Valley climbs. The first 1.5 miles of the climb are mild but miles 1.5-5.25 average 7.9% (there is a mile stretch from about mile 4.25 to 5.25 that averages 9.7%). The start of the climb is pure Death Valley - what seems to be an endless stretch of straight, flat pavement in front of us (but it's not flat!).
By the 3 mile mark we begin to leave the desert floor behind and enter more hilly/mountainous terrain with exceptional views of the valley to our left and behind us as we climb. By mile 6 we are entering canyon-like terrain which is stark and without any appreciable vegetation and certainly no greenery - but these stark Mars and Moon-scapes are part of the allure and beauty of Death Valley. See YouTube video for a true sense of this climb.
Death Valley Weather
Steepest ¼ mile and mile begins at mile 4.2 (14.2% and 9.8% respectively)
We stayed at the Panamint Springs Resort which has a restaurant, bar, market and gas station - the accommodations are a little rugged but we have no complaints about the place as of October, 2014, other than gas prices there were 30% greater than in Stovepipe Wells 20 miles east.
Traffic and Roadway report: As of September, 2014, the roadway surface was excellent throughout this ride and there seemed less traffic on this side of the pass, although that may have been due to our early start time.