Telescope Peak Trail [CLOSED]

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Death Valley National Park

Telescope Peak Trail is a 12 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Death Valley, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from June until October.

Distance: 12.0 miles Elevation Gain: 3,323 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

rock climbing

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

snow

closed

no dogs

This trail is experiencing full or partial closure due to COVID-19. Please see the open trails nearby for alternate hiking options.

hiking
no shade
rocky
5 days ago

hiking
icy
muddy
snow
3 months ago

I made it about half way to the summer on Saturday, February 8. Important notes! The road is currently closed to vehicles past the charcoal kilns. This means, add about 4 miles to the round trip hike because you can't drive to the trailhead. Also add 1000 vertical feet. The first two miles were the toughest by far. It gets easier after that! All in all, a great view from the trail and I'll start earlier in the day next time!

hiking
icy
off trail
rocky
scramble
snow
4 months ago

beautiful hike even though we had to climb the last half mile in deep snow. worth it!

hiking
snow
5 months ago

We did this hike 12/20/19. We forewent snowshoes and just used trail crampons. We also had our hiking poles. The road leading up to Mahogany Flats (and the trail head) was closed and covered with snow. This snow was packed enough to walk on just fine. The first third of the way up was mellow and a lot of it was without snow. Then we got to the flat/downhill third. For this section, we were largely stepping into other people's foot holes in the snow to prevent the extra effort of making our own tracks by falling into 1-2 feet of snow every step. Once we got to the last third of the way up, we were along the ridge and other people's tracks had blown over and we were breaking trail with our feet sinking into 1-2 feet of snow every step. We just followed the ridge and relied on our GPS hiking apps to ensure we were on the right track. Maybe snowshoes would have been useful at this point. It’s hard to tell because it was so steep at times that they may have made the conditions sketchier. Sinking into the snow kind of acted as a stabilizer. What was certain was that it was exhausting creating and coming out of these deep foot holes at such a high elevation (we’re from Georgia). On the particularly steep parts, it was very exposed and vaguely like mountaineering – we relied heavily on our hiking poles to keep multiple points of contact. It was a little unnerving and we considered turning around, but were so close (we probably could get up but weren’t sure if getting down would be more difficult/sketchier). We kept going and made it to the top. Coming back down the steep and very snowy parts was actually easier on the way down. However, sometimes we fell into snow up to our hips. Amazing view from the top. We started from our car at 7am, got to Mahogany Flats at 8am, got to the top at ~1pm, and got back to our car right as the last bits of light were fading, maybe around 5pm or 5:30pm. This was a difficult and, at times, sketchy hike in the winter. We were prepared, but the other reviews on here did not accurately describe the conditions we experienced.

hiking
icy
snow
5 months ago

We went 12/8/19 the trail is packed with snow all the way to Charcoal Kiln. Snow shoes would have been useful for the two miles we had to hike through to get to the trail head. We were glad we had crampons and waterproof boots since we kept sinking into 1-2ft of snow. Amazing views of the valley.

hiking
6 months ago

Snowy trail. Pen at trail log at trail head out of ink! Started at the charcoal kilns due to snowy roads added approx 3.2 miles round trip.

hiking
7 months ago

I went October 27th, there was no snow but it was really cold at the top (19 degrees!), and the view was obscured by the recent wildfire smoke. Trail took me 6 hours flat in total. This is the best hike in Death Valley, maybe short of the Golden Canyon/Gower/Badlands circuit, and a better view than Dante's View on a clear day. The variety keeps you compelled the entire time. You start off through a semi-exposed ridgeline for a couple miles before reaching the Arcane meadows. From there you'll hike weave gently through the flat meadows towards the peak. The hardest part comes at the final couple miles once your incline resumes with relentless switchbacks through a gorgeous bristlecone pine grove. On a clear day (read: LA is not currently on fire), you can see the highest point (Mt. Whitney) and the lowest point (Badwater Basin) in the contiguous US in one panoramic view. TIPS: You're probably going to need a high clearance 4WD vehicle to get all the way to the trailhead. The road to Mahogany Flats gets significantly rougher over time, and by the time you realize you've messed up, it's going to be really hard to turn around. My Subaru has >8 inches of clearance and made it without difficulty, so you don't need a military grade Jeep or anything. Also, bring a gallon of water per person MINIMUM. I drink a lot of fluids, and brought a gallon and a 32oz gatorade, which felt like the very minimum I'd have been comfortable with in retrospect. Also, the header for this says Telescope peak is accessible year round. While this is true because they don't technically close it, the snow will be too intense for most outside of late June to late October.

hiking
7 months ago

Amazing trail. My first hike in Death Valley. Started around noon with a friend and kept quite a good pace, getting to the top in just under 3 hours. Peak had amazing views, although we had some clouds. We were the only ones at the top, so cooked lunch in all peace. Got back down in just over 2 hours, so overall hiking time was 5 hours and the full hike about 6 hours. Getting to the trailhead by a car was a bit bumpy, so reserve enough time and patience for the last 3 miles.

hiking
7 months ago

Great trail! Not too busy we enjoyed the gorgeous views at the top and along the way. Started off about 9 am 36 degrees and finished around 4 eating lunch at the top. Not too cold perfect weather conditions. Trail is beautiful we even saw 2 deer!! Super rad I would highly recommend it was definitely more that 12 miles tho. It’s exactly 7 from the beginning of the trail head so 14 miles round trip. Really enjoyed the meadow on the way up.

hiking
7 months ago

From the trailhead (register book - please sign in and out) to the summit took me 4 hrs at a leisurely, but steady pace including breaks. The first five miles of the seven mile hike follows several ridge lines (no exposure), rolling hills and plateaus with the last two miles being a steady diet of steep and unrelenting switchbacks with a final push to the summit that's fairly easy compared to the switchbacks you just came off from. The views along the trail and from the summit are well worth your effort. Summit to trailhead - 2.25 hours . There's no water source anywhere on the trail, so pack accordingly. The demand on your feet will be great over the course of the 14 mile out and back trek - treat your feet well with comfortable but functional hiking footwear including socks. Your feet will thank you for it. Although this wasn't the hardest hike I've ever done as it relates to terrain and elevation gain, it was one of my longest out and back hikes that required endurance and stamina to complete successfully. Enjoy your hike and the views.

hiking
8 months ago

We started at the bottom of wildrose trail, because we had no 4x4. 9 hours out and back, 1500 meters to climb and probably around 30 km. Better to start at Mahogany flat if possible. Really difficult hike, but wonderful! Trail is really narrow: you better watch your steps, especially on the way back when you are tired. It was mid-September : 2 liters of water per person, between 15 and 25°C in the air, and plenty of sunscreen.

hiking
no shade
rocky
8 months ago

Totally worth it! We camped at the trailhead, Mahogany Flat, left the next morning at sun up. 4½ hours up, 2½ hours down, BEAUTIFUL views all the way, not just at the top. We brought 3 liters of water each and used it all. We were the first ones up at the peak and only passed 15 or so folks on the way down. Not bad for a September Saturday in a Nat'l park.

hiking
8 months ago

Awesome hike and incredible views. Got on the trail by 9am and back to car by 5pm. The trail is actually 14 miles round trip. Measured it on my iwatch. Worth a day to do the trek.

hiking
8 months ago

Easy to overlook...considering Yosemite and Sequoia are right next door. But do not miss this one, the views are Killer!!

hiking
rocky
9 months ago

Extremely hard . Did it a week ago and consider quiting many time. I pushed through and made it, with the help of wife from 3000 miles away . Hardest part was coming down. You can't walk as fast and your legs are take a beating. Temps were comfortable, low 70's at best.

hiking
no shade
10 months ago

July 20, 2019 BEAUTIFUL hike. narrow trail carved out of the side of the mountain. Full exposure the whole time with some small shade opportunities. last 2 miles are the hardest with swithbacks leading to the peak. We packed 3liters of water each. One of us ran out of water 2 miles out from the end, so pack extra or conserve your water. There were about 24ppl on the trail today, so great for solitude and taking in the beauty of nature.

hiking
no shade
rocky
11 months ago

hiking
no shade
11 months ago

Probably one of my favorite hikes. Extremely doable. The entire hike is super easy until the last two miles which are all switchbacks to the top. Definitely need a high clearance vehicle to get to the trail. When I did it I was the only person on the trail which was incredible.

hiking
11 months ago

Nice hike, but make sure to start early since it heats up in the afternoon and the trail offers little protection from the sun.

hiking
rocky
snow
11 months ago

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