Explore the most popular backpacking trails near Death Valley with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

backpacking
4 months ago

Did this baby last month. More than five tough miles uphill all the way. Prepare to get your feet wet early in the hike, and just as your shoes dry out you will get them wet again. After leaving the water tunnel ( foliage ) water becomes scarce so fill up before the spring disappears. The trail is easy to follow except for some bushwhacking in the creek areas. When you can see the smelting stack your almost to Panamint City, the stack seems never to get closer on this last mile or so. The cabins might be nice in the winter, but the smell in the warm air will send you outside to sleep. Enjoy!

Did this hike this past fall. WOW, it is a steep hike! Cool old mining town, the smelter stack is impressive, almost looks art deco. The trail is pretty easy to follow. You for sure want to spend a day or two checking out the area.

backpacking
6 months ago

Now Please understand I am VERY!!! Old Fashion and I dont like or enjoy technology when Im In the Wilderness/Desert/Forest/Mountains so GPS's and or Phones stay in my car so I did the best I could by drawing this Trail for you but If you go to the Ranger station they will tell you that this is an unmarked trail because of the years of wash and very few folks ever find it . BUT!!! I ASSURE YOU IT IS THERE GOOGLE IT IF YOU LIKE. It is an old Indian Trail that even the Spanish used when they were moving across the West in search of Power and Gold as well as the Gold Miners of 49 they used it to get through the Mountains (This is How I know about it and went looking for it) You will experience everything Death Valley has to offer if you attempt this .Rock,Canyons,Sand, Salt ,Alittle Climbing, Very Dry and No Shade.They say there's water but NOTE!!!the ranger said its there sometimes but very rare. I was out there for 3 days and only saw 1 puddle that had maybe 1 gal in it and at that it was full of rabbit poop but I used it ( ALWAYS take a filter!!!!) There is a small stream called Poison Spring the water is brown and very bitter but with a filter can be drank(per the Ranger) I never found it, I dont know how I passed it ??. The spot to locate your starting Point is North of Furnace Creek at Mile Marker 104 just South of Beatty Junction. Park at Mile Marker 104 on the side of the road (if you are going North from Furnace Creek and the Ranger Welcome Center Marker 104 will be on your RIGHT SIDE down a few miles. from there look to your EAST( the side you are parked on,The salt flat is on your left) you will see 3 Brown hills (If you choose google earth it) you will see a small hill then the other 2 to the north. I went into the right of the small hill(note my picture) I heard there was an Old Gold Miners Wagon Trail that headed East of that hill from behind it and YES IT IS STILL THERE ! The wagon wheel marks have stood the test of time and wind absolutely AMAZING!!!! From there I followed the wagon trail until it was gone from the wash I climbed the highest point and looked across to find my very faint trail which is Indian Pass Trail you can see it from your high point to the North East corner at the base of the Mountains the Trail is there you"ll see it (google earth it if you choose) . Follow that trail up to the canyon (NOTE The trail/road dead ends up around the backside but makes for a pretty canyon picture because you are high above the canyon walls) when you get to the section of Trail that begins to go up the hill (The dead end) you go down to the Canyon wash and follow that all the way around, it will pass through the Mountains and come out on the other side . You can't get lost because the Canyon walls are very high . As the Ranger told Me there are very few Folks Know about the Pass so there are very few who ever pack or hike it its mostly locals if any. I set up Carins VERY BIG in some spots once you get back about 3-4 miles if you choose to follow my route . TAKE WATER!!!! I took 5 liters and got 1 liter from that poop puddle and I returned 3 days later with 8oz of water and 1/2 pint of
Swedish water,Svedke (: There is no shade except that of an occasional hanging rock in the Canyon so beware of the sun (you are in a desert!) I may sound like a wise ass but You'd be surprised at how many times Ive passed a person in Arizona Utah or Cali in the desert and they were headed out because they needed water and they had to cut there venture short. once I even gave up some of mine to a kat who needed abit. think wise this was an awesome venture and if you can read a compass can follow the Sun and have Water you will be fine. We have more to our advantage then any Gold Miner did that ever walked through this Pass . ENJOY!!! Oh and if you like being where you wont see a person for as long as you are out you'll LOVE it here! SLAINTE!!!

hiking
7 months ago

I hiked from Shorty’s Well, just east of West of westside road, up the Jeep trail to the west for five miles. It was nice in early February.

backpacking
8 months ago

I have done this hike twice and will for a third time in January 2018. This hike does kick you butt. There is no trail to follow, you walk through a lot of water and brush, lots of large step ups and a continually steep grade uphill. It takes about 6 hours give or take with a full backpack. That being said, it is worth it. This destination is amazing. There is a lot to explore and few people on the trail. Each time I have hiked it, I have run into 1 or 2 other groups on the 3 day trip. Camp at Chris Wicht camp the night before and get an early start. You should plan to move real slow the last mile, haha. I

backpacking
Monday, February 06, 2017

This is an amazing hike that takes 5-8 hours depending on your physical well being.Take lots of water or have your filter handy.Its only about 5.5 miles from parking to the heart of panamint. But in those 5 short miles youll endure over 3000 feet of elevation. don't worry if you attempt this hike and want to turn around after so many hopless bends in the trail. Keep going keep pushing and look for that beautiful smoke stack in the distance. As a reference when the smoke stack first comes into view you have about an hour left of hiking. When you go through what I call "the tunnel of love" this will be your last chance to filter water. After that you have a 2 mile hike all uphill till you get to panamint. Even then you have to go in search of water. Please pick up after yourselves. I carried out about 6 pounds of trash. Love this beautiful hidden place. Ill be back in 2 days. cant wait to finish exploring.

hiking
Friday, February 14, 2014

Wow. Amazing hike to a cool place. This backpack trip is 6 miles in with 4,000 ft elevation gain to an abandoned silver mining town complete with 19th and 20th century mines, abandoned cabins, and year-round water.

The hike is a 4 out of 5 for booty kicking. It starts at 2,500 feet at Chris Wicht Camp on Surprise Valley Road. Follow the signs to Ballarat, turn left through the old city of Ballarat and follow the sign to Surprise Valley Road. The road is definitely high clearance though my friend brought his Camry safely to the trailhead.

The trail winds up the canyon with a couple easily-navigated waterfalls. Part of the toughness is, however, the winding back and forth over the creek, through the creek, up the sides of the canyon. After about 3.5 miles, however, you break out into the upper canyon where the trail is flat, dry and relatively straight. The smelter stack comes into view at 5 miles and the main cabin, "The Holiday Inn" is a 6 miles.

Lots of people lovingly use this place and some cabins are equipped nicer than others. The Holiday Inn has a nice fireplace and chairs to hang in. It was 37 degrees when I was there, so we kept the fire going in the evenings.

The area is filled with old mines, equipment discarded cars, and one cabin that was reputed to be the brothel. There are even petroglyphs under a rock that you can spy from the Hilton.

There is a water spigot that works in the welding shop in front of the hilton. It's orange. If that's not working, there year round water in the canyon up and to the left above the Hiltons.

There are mice in the cabins, so most people camp outside. I found a nice spot up the hill under some lovely pinon pines.

I thought I'd be bored on my slack day in between, but I wasn't. There are both modern and old mines to explore at your own risk. The one above the green crusher is straight, clean, and leads back 1/4 mile before deadending.

hiking
Monday, April 08, 2013

4 wheel drive only accessible. Difficult to drive.

Large boulders, loose gravel, gully wash and no real discernible trail make for difficult hike. Turned back after 3/4 mile. Views on drive in and out were beautiful.

backpacking
7 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
9 months ago

Saturday, April 08, 2017

Thursday, February 19, 2015