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Best trails in Surprise Canyon Wilderness

55 Reviews
Explore the most popular trails in Surprise Canyon Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.
Description

Surprise Canyon Wilderness shares its entire eastern border with Death Valley National Park. It contains small alluvial slopes that gradually rise from the west into the jagged ridges and steep sides of the Panamint Mountains. Canyons cut deeply into the mountains to form the interior of the Wilderness. Old four-wheel-drive tracks crawl through Jail, Hall, and Surprise Canyons and into the park; these non-Wilderness corridors carve the area into four sections. Elevations climb eagerly from about 1,000 feet in the west to more than 7,000 feet in the east, bestowing extraordinary vistas of the Panamint Valley from mountain summits. Creosote bush scrub and desert holly grow on alluvial fans. Cottonwoods and willows stand tall in the canyons, whose rocky walls sometimes support the rare and endangered Panamint daisy. Forests of pi

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Map of trails in Surprise Canyon Wilderness
Park information
Acreage:
24,429 acres
Park hours
Monday
All day
Tuesday
All day
Wednesday
All day
Thursday
All day
Friday
All day
Saturday
All day
Sunday
All day
Helpful links
Top trails (2)
#1 - Surprise Canyon Trail
Surprise Canyon Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow Star(51)
Length: 6.3 mi • Est. 4 h 32 m
#2 - Pleasant Canyon OHV Loop Trail
Surprise Canyon Wilderness
hardYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray Star(3)
Length: 26.1 mi
Challenging route to Briggs Mine Adopt-a-Cabin. A scenic, high elevation trail. Many mines and structures along the way, especially at Clair Camp. Briggs Cabin is, by far, the most elaborate and best stocked of all the Adopt-a-Cabins. Briggs and Stone cabin are maintained by volunteers (Friends of Briggs). The cabins are on private land owned by C.R. Briggs Corporation which graciously allows visitors to use the cabins for free. Street-legal vehicles only inside Death Valley National Park. Most of this trail is easy to moderate; however, the steepest, narrowest sections of both Pleasant Canyon and South Park Canyon are susceptible to water damage and rock movement, sometimes creating difficult conditions. When you drive the trail, stock SUVs will have difficulty negotiating these stretches. South Park Canyon is quite steep and is always difficult going up from west to east. A narrow wooden bridge above Briggs Cabin has a weight limit of 3 tons. Large vehicles loaded with gear can easily exceed this weight limit. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CROSS THIS BRIDGE IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT YOUR LOADED VEHICLE WEIGHS MORE THAN 6,000 LBS. Some tight brush in places. Show more