Explore Desert Island - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Desert Island Map

Safe to do with shoes off. Easy "hike", but can be tough if you choose to climb the taller dunes. You can pick how far you and which dunes you choose to climb. We went to the tallest peak and sat for a very sandy lunch (the wind can pick up and get sand in your food)! Go in the morning - especially if you want to do it with you shoes off - the sand facing the sun gets really hot on the way back.

Absolutely stunning. The user below me said it was really busy but I went on Saturday in spring and minus the first mile there was very little people. Red Cathedral was amazing especially going the extra half mile or so, and after that it gets even better until zabriske point. The walk through Gower gulch was the "least interesting" part but it featured a mine and some climbing over rocks which was still cool. Do the full 8 mile loop as described on the Death Valley NP official website and you won't forget it.

A must see place in the park.

Interesting. I only walked for several hundred meters as I arrived here too late, while I don't think it will be different even I went deep into the dunes.

Great fun, worth the stop. No real trail, so we just pointed to a taller dune in the distance and hiked out to it.

This area is worth the time it takes to see. Hiked a little ways out past the rest of the people there. The pattern made by the Salt and the view of the entire valley is awesome. On your way back to the car be sure to find the sea level sign perched high above the road in the rock.

BE FOR-WARNED THIS IS YET ANOTHER TOURIST TRAIL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very Beautiful but not worth the People that are everywhere. I made it down the trail for maybe 20 min and the sound of people was killing the views( Im not much on being around kids and yelling parents). So I left, Death Valley is to Big and the Solitude is a beautiful thing for me. I had just heard so much good of this trail I had to see the hype. This is the Disney of Death Valley Trails especially if you go the length and do Zabriskie Point with it . See my Review on that as well. In fairness TO THIS TRAIL I gave it 1 star because I left and couldnt really see the trail.

1 month ago

Awesome slot canyon hike. Scramble north up the hill of where the route on this page ends to get an incredible view of the valley below (you'll see a use trail from the canyon floor). It's totally worth the effort, but be careful coming down as the scree is loose.

Very cool spot!

Very interesting walk out on the flats. It was 92 degrees in early February so go in the Winter!!

I really wanted to wander out into the salt flats, and this is the place to do it. Trail is really just a path most tourists take from the parking area. Thousands of people have worn the salt into what looks like a white road. But after a half mile the salt flats become more untouched and after a mile they become almost pristine. I kept walking until I couldn’t hear or see anyone behind me toward the parking area. This was about two miles out. The silence left my ears ringing and the ground become more interesting the further out I went. Be warned, even in February it was warm. It’s the lowest elevation in North America and obviously no shade or drinkable water.

off road driving
1 month ago

Off-road clearance recommended and not really fo cars.
note that the trail is often washboarded and that can really slow you down.
There are a couple of good trails you can explore further (and an alternative out) but those are for experienced off-road drivers only.

This was such a lovely trail! It actually goes for about eight miles, I followed it for about three. The views are incredible on all sides. It was great to get a little perspective on the park, because as it’s roughly the size of connecticut, it can be difficult to conceptualize everything in your head. I would come back and do this hike again!

The best lounging spot in all of Death Valley. Explore the sand dunes any which way, there are no trails. Like being transported to a Disney desert set. Went during the evening and stayed far after sunset. No critters to be found, barefoot hiking at its best.

Did the full hike from Zabriskie Point to Golden Canyon and back. Took 5hrs in total with the only strenuous part being the upwards hike towards the beginning of Golden Canyon (on the way back). Zabriskie Point offers a hike up to a picturesque view point. Another trail leads into Zabriskie where exploration is as free as can be. Very incredible formations, a museum of geological processes. Parts of the floor are cracked from scorching heat, rather fun to play around. The trail eventually leads to the badlands where the hike up the ridges give stunning views and one can navigate the ridges like intersected highways. This eventually leads to the Golden Valley, with the highlight being Manly Beacon and the Red Cathedral, beautiful natural structures of the desert. The eye adjust to the few shades of colors during the summer, creating an eccentric visual trip. A highlight of 2wd accessible Death Valley.

Went during the summer. Surreal salt floors that crack and form bigger, crazier patterns the more one walks out. The surrounding mountains add some majesty, with the wall of the mountain to the direction of the parking lot used to measure where one is at versus where sea level is via a nifty sign. Early, the shadow of the mountain added shade, but soon starts to recede as the day reaches afternoon. An iconic, must visit spot in Death Valley.

Short walk out to the lowest point and along some salt flats. Must see when in Death Valley. Great to say that I’ve been there!

I recommend this as a first stop before going to the valley floor. We stopped here in the evening and camped nearby. We then made several stops the next day starting with Badwater Basin. Great views from this easy trail! You can see people walking the salt flat of Badwater Basin over 5000 ft. below looking like ants. Across the valley looms telescope peak at 11,043. My kids ages 2, 7, 9, and 11 loved climbing around on the trail with the exception of our youngest who I kept in my backpack carrier most of the time.

Breathtaking loop, a must-do if you have some time. Golden Canyon was very well marked. When you get onto the Badlands trail it's fairly well marked with arrow-ed signs for the observant hiker/trail runner. Lots of side canyons to wander into in the Badlands, just make sure to stay aware of your surroundings. I'd suggest a GPX map especially for the Gower Gulch segment if you're doing the loop clockwise.

Great trail,
It is very well marked and has some awesome views. Make sure you do the extra mile or so to check out red cathedral.

well marked, cool views, fun time.

Started at golden canyon trailhead. Beautiful scenery especially once you get out of the canyon. Not too many people once you get away from the trailhead. Excellent hike. Well marked trail.

Made it up to the highest peak well worth it making it more strenuous. Would love to come again

2 months ago

What a beautiful view even at 11pm at night can't wait to see it in the day

Scenic and interesting. Also a little weird. Not worth driving across the state for but definitely a well kept park land. Day pass is around $20. Definitely recommend stopping by here but don’t plan and spend more than an hour.

Super cool , and weird

3 months ago

We stopped by the trail after completing the Golden Canyon hike and glad we did. It was quite neat to be able to visit the lowest point in North America.

As other ls have commented, it’s a little busier at the beginning of the trail, but if you make your way down the crowds thin out.

This trail is stunning. We started through the Golden Canyon, made our way to the Red Cathedral, then walked the badlands to Nebriski Point before going back through The Gulch.

This is one of my favorite trails, the view of the badlands after hiking the Golden Canyon is breathtaking.

It took us 2.5-3hours to complete the trail with a lunch stop at Nebriski point.

Just was up there recently and weather was perfect! Wrote a little trip report too. The trail is short, but it's cool to see this place, at least just once.

Just was up there recently and weather was perfect! Wrote a little trip report too. Definitely be careful driving out there, we did get a flat tire on our way back! Still totally worth going to see this place in person.

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