Willow Canyon Trail is a 4.6 mile out and back trail located near Death Valley, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is best used from November until April. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.
dogs on leash
This is a hike to a waterfall that generally flows year round in Death Valley. It's a moderately strenuous hike because it goes up a wash that has a lot of gravel and rocks over which to step. The name mystifies me, because there are no willow trees anywhere near here. This is a winter hike as summer temperatures in Death Valley make hiking very unwise! There is a fairly good trail through the gravel and across the rocks. Hike for about 1/2 mile north to the large wash coming from the mountains. Turn right into the wash. This wash leads into Willow Canyon. The end of the hike is about 2.35 miles from the trailhead. You will pass some side washes. Ignore them and keep hiking up the canyon. You eventually come to a small waterfall that's easy to climb up, then a taller one, and finally you get to the two-tiered 50 foot waterfall. It's a lovely place to have a snack before hiking back.
We had a cloudy day, so sun and heat were not issues for us. As most of the hike is wide open on gravel or sand, we were grateful for the lack of sun. However, once in the narrow canyon where the stream was, it would have been nice to have some sun. The waterfalls make the trek well worth it.
This is a beautiful hike. The beginning of the trail is not well marked, however, its not hard to miss it. From the parking lot, just go left and follow the rocks to the open area. Just follow the washed out area all the way back till you hit the canyon. The trail ends at a beautiful water fall. I hiked this on Thanksgiving '13, and the water was flowing. Its wonderful and secluded and a great spot to have lunch. I highly suggest packing a lunch and enjoying the falls.
The largest national park outside Alaska, Death Valley National Park provides a wide variety of hikes, wildflowers, and waterfalls (yes, you read it right...all are based on the time of year of your visit).
Willow Canyon trailhead did not appear on several DV maps but a call to the Ranger's Station provided the general area which was not too hard to find beyond the lowest point in the U.S., Badwater.
Due to the 50+ foot waterfall at the turnaround point, Big Horn Sheep frequent the area to refresh themselves. The five mile RT hike offers geological wonders plus the chance of seeing the Big Horns.
Great hike. We went there in December, so the sun wasn't too much of a problem. The waterfalls are amazing, and it's great to see water in the middle of the desert.
Most of the hike is going up the wash, so you are out in the sun, although if you're hiking in the afternoon you can get a bit of shade from the cliffs on the south side.
There is one major intersection where you might be tempted to go to the right, but turn left into the narrower canyon.
Thanks so much for the great trip!