Death Valley National Park

• Hiking in Death Valley Photos and Video  NPS Website  Trail Map 

 

Furnace Creek area    
     
 Ashford Mill (P.O.I.) Easy 0.2 miles
Synopsis: Ashford Mill is a set of ruins down at the southern end of Death Valley. It's a nice little spot to break up the long drive in from Baker and Shoshone. There's a picnic table and a restroom. Also, look for wildflowers after substantial rains.
     
 Badwater Basin (P.O.I.) Easy 1.2 miles
Synopsis: Badwater is touted as the lowest elevation in North America. It's quite an amazing spot, full of geological oddity and interest, and even beauty - especially following heavy rains. It also offers a stunning view of the Panamint Mountains to the west. Be prepared for company, and be sure to look back up into the craggy rocks to the east for the sign marking "Sea Level." 
     
 Dante's View (P.O.I.)   Easy 1.1 miles
Synopsis: This is essentially a vista point with trails leading north and south to alternate views. If you just want to get out of the car and marvel at the panorama, you won't be disappointed. But climbing the hill to the north or heading out on the ridge to the south extend the spectacular scenery even farther. 
     
 Zabriskie Point (P.O.I.) Easy 0.4 miles
Synopsis: A short walk to a nice overlook for Golden Canyon, Zabriskie Pt. is also a departure point for hikes into the Golden Canyon area. This popular spot can be crowded at times, especially at sunrise or sunset. 
       
Panamint Springs area    
     
 Darwin Falls (dayhike) Easy 2 miles
Synopsis: A short, easy hike up an eventually narrowing and shady canyon to a year-round waterfall. Desert wash scenery and foliage at the beginning becoming increasingly lush and riparian as you near the falls. The last couple of hundred yards to the falls requires some easy scrambling. This hike is impacted by a pipe that feed water to nearby Panamint Springs Resort, some unappealing stream diversion, and heavy traffic. But the cool and attractive falls make it worthwhile nonetheless.
       
 Wildrose Peak (backpack) Easy-Moderate  8.3 miles
Synopsis: A beautiful and engaging overnighter on a trail that traverses different habitat types, follows ridges with spectacular views and eventually climbs through a pinyon forest to a peak with gorgeous 360° vistas (including Mt. Whitney on clear days). On the saddle at the base of the last steep climb to the top there is a fairly level ridge with some good campsites overlooking Death Valley. Our drive to the trailhead took five hours, so we hiked just over three miles to our campsite the first day. Then, the following morning we climbed up to the top, had the scene to ourselves, came back down, broke camp and returned to our car.  
       
Stovepipe Wells area    
     
 Historic Stovepipe Well (P.O.I.) Easy 0.2 miles
Synopsis: Like Ashford Mill, this is a spot for visitors who are fascinated by the history of Death Valley and the west in general. There's a historical marker with some interesting details about the well, and the well is a scant couple of yards beyond. If you were interested in the Devil's Cornfield area but never got around to checking it out, you can see some of the same habitat here. 
     
 Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes (P.O.I.)   Easy 1.6 miles
Synopsis: There are several dune areas in Death Valley, with Mesquite Flats being the most accessible, and therefore the most popular. Sunrise and sunset in these dunes can be dazzling, but is seldom, in my experience, secluded. But don't let that stop you. Just continue hiking out into the windswept mounds until you find a dune all your own. 
     
 Mosaic Canyon (dayhike)    Moderate 3.9 miles
Synopsis: A truly delightful hike, full of geological interest and athletic challenge (for novice climbers). Even if you know nothing of rocks you'll appreciate the wondrous polished marble walls and sculptures in the first part of this hike. And hikers who like the occasional scrambling puzzle will come away from this trip satisfied. 
     
 Salt Creek Interpretive Trail (P.O.I.) Easy 0.8 miles
Synopsis: A fun spot to see fish in the middle of one of the hottest, driest places on the planet. When the weather warms in late winter the rare desert pupfish are most active in this spring-fed watershed. Good spot for kids and the grandparents. 
     
     
     

All photos and video by Laura or Bob Camp unless otherwise indicated. Use without permission is not cool.