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Death Valley offers ‘flood recovery tours’ at Scotty’s Castle

Death Valley National Park is once again offering exclusive tours of Scotty’s Castle, as the popular attraction continues to dig out from a 2015 flood.

The early 20th-century mansion 180 miles northwest of Las Vegas is not expected to reopen to the general public until 2020 at the earliest, so the two-hour guided walking tours provide the only opportunity to visit the area.

A ranger will lead participants around the castle grounds to survey the damage and the repairs in progress. Visitors will also get a look inside the castle’s Great Hall, where the furnishings have been temporarily removed, revealing ornate woodwork, tiling and other architectural details.

“Visiting Scotty’s Castle right now is an incredibly unique and unprecedented experience,” said Death Valley Superintendent Mike Reynolds in a written statement. “In addition to seeing the intricacies of the castle in a new light, there’s also the increased chance of wildlife sightings and the opportunity to see evidence of the flood.”

The National Park Service and Death Valley Natural History Association are now accepting reservations for the tours, which will be held every Sunday from Dec. 2 through April 14.

The tickets are $25 per person, plus a processing fee. Reservations can be made online at https://dvnha.org.

Scotty’s Castle has been closed since a downpour in October 2015 washed away the utilities and about eight miles of road and sent water and mud into two historic buildings on the site.

Before the flood, the attraction drew about 120,000 people a year, nearly half of whom took the hourlong tour of the opulent retreat that millionaire Albert Mussey Johnson built in the 1920s.

Contact Henry Brean at hbrean@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0350. Follow @RefriedBrean on Twitter.

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