Scotty's Castle is an interesting destination in Grapevine Canyon, in northern Death Valley. The large mansion seems out of place in the empty desert and hills that surround it. The scene was especially pretty when we last visited years ago because of fresh snow-fall.
The home was built during the roaring 1920s as a winter getaway and vacation home for Albert Mussey Johnson, an insurance executive, and his wife, Bessie. The Johnson's found the desert's winter climate conducive to their good health.
The home's actual name is the Death Valley Ranch, but it's commonly named Scotty's Castle after Walter Scott (Death Valley Scotty). Scotty was Mr. Johnson's friend, a charming con man and bullshit artist who convinced most people it was actually he who had built the massive home from money earned in one of his secret mines. The name Scotty's Castle stuck.
We've visited this property several times over the years, and enjoyed hearing the rangers tell stories of that era and of Death Valley Scotty. The property was severely damaged by a massive flash flood in 2015 and is closed while it is undergoing repairs. The home is scheduled to reopen in 2021, at which times tours of the home will hopefully resume.