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Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch Loop via Zabriskie Point

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Death Valley National Park

Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch Loop via Zabriskie Point is a 5.8 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Death Valley, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and mountain biking and is best used from November until April.

Length 5.8 mi Elevation gain 1,092 ft Route type Loop

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Walking

Views

Rocky

Scramble

No shade

No dogs

Description
Waypoints (5)
Contact
Tips

Experience the beautiful Golden Canyon and Gower Gulch as a loop from Zabriskie Point in Death Valley. Moderate trail through Golden Canyon, Red Cathedral and Gower Gulch. Colorful badlands, canyon narrows and old borax mines are the most impressive sights there. Hike from Zabriskie Point through Golden Canyon to the Red Cathedral by following the markers. From Red Cathedral hike to the Golden Canyon trailhead at the parking area (Highway 190 on Badwater Road). From there follow the trail to the Gower Gulch. Don't turn left or right when you are in the gulch. There are no markers in the gulch. Next marker is at the crossing Golden Canyon Trail and Gower Gulch Trail close to Zabriskie Point.

National Park Service: Hiking in Death Valley http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/hiking.htm

Best time to hike this trail is close to sunset. But don't start too late!!! Plan enough time to be back at Zabriskie Point before it gets dark.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (160)
Photos (759)
Recordings (91)
Completed (571)
David M.
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beautiful hike. I completed in July before 9 am and it was still extremely hot. be careful trail is well marked but not perfect. incredible views.

Chris Nguyen
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 3, 2020
Hiking

Fun and well Mark Trail. Bring a hat, plenty of water, and sunscreens. The views are incredible. Happy hiking!

Sabra Nickels
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 18, 2020
Hiking

Such a fun interesting hike! There’s no other place like Death Valley. If you only do one hike, do this one. It feels like you’re on the moon.

Jack Bassett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2020
Hiking

This trail loop is an absolute geological wonder. You’ll see a historical timeline of Death Valley in different sedimentary layers, colorful canyons, beautiful badlands (and remnants of an old mine shaft too!). This big loop wraps together the Golden Canyon, the Gower Gulch, the Red Cathedral and the badlands in one gorgeous hike. If I only had time to do two hikes in Death Valley, I’d hike this trail twice. This isn’t a knock on the other parts of the park, rather an acclaim of the loop’s beauty, and most notably its variety. I would highly recommend timing your hike to finish the trail at sunset. The hike can take anywhere from 2.5-4.5 hours depending on your fitness level, so plan accordingly. Zabriskie Point is maybe the best scenic viewpoint in the park (yes, including Dante’s View), and the way the setting sun glows on the red cathedral and badlands cannot be beat. In regards to hiking it clockwise or counterclockwise, there isn’t a correct answer. I personally prefer clockwise. When hiked clockwise, the incline after Golden Canyon towards Manly Beacon is brutal, but it provides you a much better approach for the Red Cathedral, the trail’s biggest highlights. Additionally, the northern side of this trail is definitely the prettier side, and a clockwise hike on this trail front-loads all the action, making the back-end incline of this trail feel like a drag. Don't get me wrong, the Gulch isn't all boring, it's got similar colorful rockfaces that glow the green and red hues you'll see in Artists Palette! Also, if hiked clockwise, there is a sign by a fork in the trail that can either send you to Red Cathedral or Zabriskie. The end goal is obviously to get back to Zabriskie, but if you want to add another .9-mile round trip to worship the Red Cathedral up close and personal, I’d recommend taking that detour if you have the time. A cool tidbit about this trail is that it was the backdrop for Arvala-7 in The Mandalorian, with a north-facing view towards the Red Cathedral, which was pretty surreal to see.

Alexander Alabbas
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 13, 2020
Hiking

I hiked up the red rocks that overlooked Zabrieski and the golden canyon. It was so fun! Then i headed back down and hiked through the canyon. It was so hot in there. Bring tons of H2O

Madelynn Trummel
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 12, 2020
Hiking

This was a fantastic trail! If you only have 1 day in Death Valley do this loop! We started at the Zabriskie trailhead, but you can also start along 190 on the other side of the loop. Definitely veer off to see Red Cathedral for an additional 0.5 miles out and back. It involves a little bit of a scramble but the views are worth it!

Garrett Weekley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 10, 2020
Hiking

Hiked on 3/1/2020 One of my favorite hikes not only in this park, but in the country. I always go clockwise (opposite of what the map suggests) and find it way more enjoyable to end the hike walking up the backside of Zabriskie, even though it is more of a challenge. Start this early (right at sunrise) because it is a popular spot and is one of the few actually maintained trails in the park rather than a cross-country hike where you can go wherever you want.

Rocky Garg
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 1, 2020
Hiking

Long trail. Red Cathedral and via Golden Canyon is very scenic routes. Via Gultch is bit longer and mostly straight walk, however pebbles makes it harder to walk. If I have to do this trail again, I will do the Golden Canyon vía Golden Canyon both ways.

View Rocky's Recording
Sarah W.
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HikingNo shadeRocky
Mark Walker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 15, 2020
Hiking

Loved this trail. I agree with other comments to go counter clockwise. Great views and not difficult at all.

Jacqueline Hicks
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarFebruary 10, 2020
Hiking

First half of this trail (golden canyon) is awesome! Once you get to the turn around point, you walk the whole way back (gower gulch) on loose rock/sand. It is not as pretty and difficult to walk in. BUT it would be awesome to do the first half of this hike and then turn around and go back the same way.

Henry Chyung
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 4, 2020

Fantastic (moderate) hike with amazing scenery, color combinations, and rock formations. It was pretty cold and very windy but I really enjoyed the hike. Took a ton of great pictures!

Simon Guérard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 27, 2020
Hiking

Great one! The North side is the nice one - south is a little boring and not the niceest to walk/run due to soft peddles ground. The trail doesn't start AT the zabriskie point, but next to the parking for it. Detail...

Stephanie Herevia
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 12, 2020
Hiking

I am so in love with this trail, and have taken 3 groups of friends here. Hike to the red cathedrals they are breathtaking. If you walk up to the base of them, and up to the right side you can climb up to a beautiful view, and the small trail that seems really skinny and scary is actually not what it seems. Go up there! Walking up the manly beacon is probably the most challenging part of this trail, the rest is pretty easy! Take the off trails, the really obvious ones that are trails, don’t wonder off trail. Every spot is unique and amazing!

Varun Jain
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 4, 2020
HikingNo shade

Death Valley with its multi colored mountains and oases is a sight to behold and this trail gives you many many opportunities to do the sanest thing you can think of on a gorgeous winter day. Golden canyon is the right name for the crumbly hills through which this trail is - certainly do the detour to the red cathedral. Then as you climb the gower gulch up and down - just keep remembering to turn all around and take in the views. The trail gets rocks and bouldery in parts so be sure to keep caution. Our best experience in the beautiful valley..

Mitchell R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 25, 2019
Hiking

Amazing hike. Easily accessed and great views. Definite preference on the first half but still overall worthwhile.

Michelle Gabree Martucci
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 23, 2019
No shade

great short hike for a half day adventure. some narrow areas that may be challenging for those with balance issues but overall a fairly easy hike.

G Navarro
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 21, 2019
Hiking

Lightly trafficked even on a Sunday. Beautiful and well-maintained trail nonetheless. I learned to rely on the preserve map instead.

H Kozy
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 20, 2019
Hiking

Amazing hike!! If you start at the Golden Canyon Trailhead, go counterclockwise. It's a much easier hike and extremely beautiful at the end. I've done almost every hike in Death Valley, and this is probably in my top three. Very easy and rarely strenuous if you're prepared to hike with proper shoes and water.

Renee DeLuca
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 16, 2019
Hiking

Honestly, just boring. You see everything there is in the first 20 minutes, the rest is just repetitive. Most of the time you're just walking on a gravel trail between blank rock walls. Nothing interesting along the way, just the same thing over and over. Steep at times, bring water if you decide to do this (saw lots of tourists with no water in the desert).

Jacob Schack Vestergaard
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 30, 2019
Hiking

Hiked this counter clockwise from Zabriskie point on 11/29/19. Had my 2y old in the backpack, took us 4 hours including a 30-45 minute break at the Golden Canyon parking lot. Slightly muddy from a winter rain, but good footing anyway. Beautiful start, clearly the northern side of this trail is the prettiest. Gower Gulch was interesting, but nowhere near as varied as the area around Red Rock Cathedral, Manly Beacon and Zabriskie Point.

Jessica Hanke
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 17, 2019

This hike was fantastic! I would recommend going counter clockwise. I went clockwise and the big hill toward the end was pretty unpleasant. Bring lots of water, I took 1.5 liters and it definitely wasn't enough.

James Meyer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 27, 2019
Hiking

Loved this trail. We hiked from Zabriskie Point and followed the Golden Canyon down and Gower Gulch up. Trail was very well marked the entire way, including Gower Gulch. Red Cathedral was awesome. Be sure to hike all the way to the wall. Entire loop took less than 3 hrs.

Julie Anderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 25, 2019
HikingNo shade

Completed this hike yesterday. I started at Golden Canyon, went up to Red Cathedral and then out to Zabriskie point via the Badlands loop. I took the trail back to Golden Canyon via Gower Gulch. I started at 7:45am and did the full loop finishing at 11am. I also stopped quite a few times for pictures! This hike is not an intense hike at all, but it is super pretty! Highly recommend starting in the morning since it’s way cooler out, since there is not a lot of shade it starts to feel hot very quickly. Also, highly recommend going up to Red Cathedral instead of heading straight to Zabriskie point. One thing to note, I was super confused on where to go once I started towards Zabriskie point via the badlands loop (I went this way instead of Gower Gulch because I wanted to do that on the way back). When you head towards Zabriskie point the trail veers left. You’re naturally going to walk straight and you’ll see signs saying that way is not the trail. Do NOT keep going. Turn back and if you look to the left there’s a tiny little brown trail arrow marking the left turn to take. All in all it was a really cool hike just to see the scenery! Worth it for sure!

Gavin Wall
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 10, 2019
Hiking

What an amazing hike! So many different coloured rocks and cool little micro mountains to climb!

View Gavin's Recording
Kelly Aflalo
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Hiking

Fantastic hike. Don’t miss out on the red cathedral. It was probably the highlight.

Brittani Mcbee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 21, 2019
Hiking

Loved the views!!!! Loved the hike but fair warning it says it was 5.8 miles from Zabriskie point with the golden canyon and Gower glutch trail but when I recorded it was over seven miles! Went early in the day but because it was longer than stated did not finish until after 12. Take loads of water and do not play with the heat, it’s brutal.

View Brittani's Recording
Matt Fornaciari
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarSeptember 15, 2019
HikingNo shadeRocky

Awesome trail! I recommend going bright and early to avoid the heat. By the time I finished at 10:30 it was 109•F and I had gone through 3 of 5 liters of water I brought. Also took a little detour to red cathedral, which was cool.

View Matt's Recording
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