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Sidewinder Canyon is a 3.9 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Death Valley, California that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking.

Length 3.9 mi Elevation gain 1,046 ft Route type Out & Back
Hiking Views Wildlife Scramble No shade Fee No dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)

Death Valley National Park charges a fee to enter. Fees are $30 per vehicle or $25 per motorcycle. If you are entering on foot, horse, or bike the fee is $15 per person. You can also purchase a park specific annual pass for $55. Please note: Dogs are not permitted on trails or in the wilderness at Death Valley National Park. They are only permitted in campgrounds and along roads.

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Reviews (110)
Photos (70)
Recordings (104)
Completed (182)
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Chloe Doberstein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 3, 2020
Hiking
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Chloe Doberstein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 3, 2020
Hiking
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Jack Bassett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 14, 2020
HikingScramble

Interesting trail. We missed the first slot that is cave-like. Bummer. The other two slot canyons were pretty awesome, they featured winds and twists and a bit of scrambling. We decided that the end portion of the canyon trail after the 3rd slot wasn’t worth doing, and based on the other reviews I’m seeing here I’d suspect we were correct. The bummer about this hike is the main canyon trail. It’s purely a vehicle to get to the slots, and is completely uninteresting. Additionally, it’s a wash, so it’s pretty granular which adds some difficulty and drag to the trek up. The best advice I can give is to search up the official NPS sidewinder canyon guide on your site, and screenshot that guide to your phone so you can refer to it. You will need the pictures and guidance to figure out where you’re going because it’s not signed nor are the entrances particularly obvious. There’s like 8-10 slots and there’s only 3-4 of them that are truly worth exploring.

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

Hiked 3/1 Gusts of wind up to 20mph made the approach to the canyons an interesting (frustrating) experience. The actual slots (3 of them) are indeed labled with rocks on the ground. If you have a bunch of time, explore all the others you'll find before the first official slot. Well worth doing. Some of these slots require some serious scrambling/climbing. Never ever go with a chance of rain. Hard to find such beautiful slots that are this easily accessible. Don't take it for granted and respect this place!!

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Jack Bassett
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 7, 2020
Hiking
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Kevin Sullivan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 16, 2020
HikingScramble

Awesome trail. The official literature (okay, park map of this an Willow Trail) say there are three slot canyons, but there are a few more you can explore if you are willing to do some serious scrambling. The slots are really cool, as is just exploring the surrounding area. Speaking of, you can find the walk from the parking lot to the trail at the SOUTH end of the lot. It is labelled by rocks. My friend and I initially didn't see this and hiked up the wrong canyon. It was pretty cool, but no slot canyon offshoots so a bit of a waste of our precious time in the area. Still cool to explore though like I said. The slot canyons off the main canyon are themselves labelled with rock piles. Slot One was a little hard to tell when we were there as the rocks labelling it were shuffled a bit. Slot two was labelled well, and WAY COOLER. Definitely hike up slot two. There is a natural bridge at the end. Final tip: when going up hill, hike on the rocky areas to keep your footing. Use the sandy areas when going downhill, its good for the knees.

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Chris fenter
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 15, 2020
HikingScramble

This was one of two favorite hikes in DV. We went early morning in February and it was great. Got warm, but not too bad. The shade felt good when you found it in the slot canyon offshoots. The main visitor center had a separate black and white map of this canyon hike as well as willow canyon which shares the same parking area: (https://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/upload/Sidewinder-and-Willow-Canyons.pdf) For awhile you’ll be walking up a large open canyon area before you get to the slots. That map shows 3 slot canyon offshoots. We explored the 2nd and 3rd offshoots, which were both very much worth it. Pay attention and you’ll see they are marked with arrows made from stones and the numbers spelled out with rocks. The 2nd one has tighter and darker slot areas that were great to explore. The 3rd one also had features like passageways. Both required some scrambling- which adds to the enjoyment. On this particular day we had the whole thing to ourselves- only seeing 2 other people in the parking lot. This could be because it’s further down south in the park and it wasn’t identified on the main park map. Definitely worth it!

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David Reiley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 7, 2020
Hiking

This was one of my favorite hikes in Death Valley. The two longer slot canyons at about 1 mile into Sidewinder Canyon are really cool to explore. Though this hike is a little far south compared to some of the more popular hikes, I would recommend checking it out.

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Mitchell R.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarDecember 23, 2019
HikingScramble

Only worth it if you go higher up at the end to get the view. Otherwise not really worth it, no view points and not a crazy struggle/workout unless you go into the caves which is fun

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Craig Chisolm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 18, 2019
Hiking

This will always be one of my all-time favorite hikes! Very scenic! My recommendation is to come early, so you can explore all the off-trails! They’re definitely worth it!

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Lois Blasinski
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 24, 2019
Hiking

A happy place for rock lovers, exploring slot canyons. As a bonus, the slot canyons were shady and about 10 degrees cooler than the valley floor. A little scrambling required.

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Dusty Trailhead
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 20, 2019
HikingScramble

The 3rd slot canyon is beautiful. 1st slot was nice, but not extraordinary. I couldn’t go far in the second slot, the 3rd rise was vertical and about 7 ft tall.

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Vera Urbanovich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2019
Hiking

❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ 3 slot canyons

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Ron Simmons
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarSeptember 23, 2019
Hiking

Once you get up there I found a couple of cool slot canyons - one super long and another with a couple of 7 ft arches to walk through. Very cool!

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Eric St Jean
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 16, 2019
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a trail, though the hike was pretty cool. Kinda of like a choose your own adventure as there are many different slot canyons you can climb out of.

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Mit Bour
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 1, 2019
Hiking

Hiked in to do the slot canyons. We were able to do 2&3, which I was surprised how long 2 was. I don’t highly recommend this hike unless you are doing the slot canyons and I don’t recommend doing the slot canyons unless you confident in scrambling. 3 has some tight squeezes towards the end and 2 had medium scrambles throughout. 1 had very large boulders that had fallen at the mouth of the canyon, so we avoided it entirely.

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Hope Elizabeth
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 17, 2019
Hiking

This trail was absolutely amazing. If you only stay on the main trail and don't do any slot canyons it's about 4 miles in and out. we did 3 slot canyons and ended up doing 7.3 miles. If you want adventure, and aren't afraid to climb over a few boulders I highly recommend this trail!

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Charlie Crawford
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 14, 2019
Hiking

Wonderful experience. Very won’t!

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Garrett Weekley
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 6, 2019
Hiking

Date Hiked: (3/6/19) This hike is awesome! I'm not sure why it isn't talked about more! The canyons are so surreal like you are in a fairy tale world The hike is like almost all the hikes in DV -- more of a "cross-coutry" hike rather than a trail. I didn't get to do every slot on this hike due to storms rolling in. Did not want to get caught in a flash flood. I will definitely be coming back here!

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Gia DiGiacobbe
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 22, 2019
HikingRockyScramble

fun hike to several slot canyons. fun to scramble through and explore.

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Phil A
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 31, 2019
Hiking

Agree with the prior reviews. The slot canyons make this hike a beauty. You could skip hiking to the “end” of this trail and spend more time in the canyons.

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Ken Weiner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJanuary 1, 2019
Hiking

The trailhead is south of the parking lot, but not clearly marked. Follow it south up the hill before turning left into the canyon. The highlights of the hike were all the skinny slot canyons veering off from the main canyon. Most involve some rock scrambling, but nothing my 8 year old couldn’t handle. The end of the trail was not worth reaching in my opinion.

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William Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 27, 2017

the slots are beautiful! lots of interpretive trails at the end of the canyon.

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Sylvester Linn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarNovember 22, 2017

slot canyon, some parts more cave than canyon..

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Terry Fazio
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJanuary 15, 2017
Hiking

We hiked the loop up Willow Creek Canyon, over the ridge & back down Sidewinder Canyon. The narrows in the side canyons of Sidewinder were very cool. Very tight & dark in some spots. Could have spent several more hours out there exploring more slots.

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Amy Jessop
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 5, 2014
Hiking
First to Review

we got lost--- then sun went down. We learned that many creatures live in death valley and they emerge at night! Was a little frightening- especially the coyote. But interesting to come across creatures you never imagined were present from daytime view.

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Deanna D.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 11, 2020
Hiking
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