Explore the most popular birding 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.

Bring a pair of shades and a bandana or something to cover up your head and face in case you’re caught in a sand storm while in sand dunes. Otherwise you’ll be finding sand for weeks not only in all your clothing but parts of your body that you would never suspect could hold any sand

hiking
1 month ago

Getting there: We had a 4WD and camped at Mahogany Flats for 2 nights. IMO, you might make it as far as Thorndike CG in a 2WD. Charcoal Kilns, no problem. The road is very rough between Thorndike and Mahogany Flats. We started at 6:30 AM and made the summit in 4:15 with lots of pics and rest stops. Return 2:30. Nice views all around and the elevation made for pleasant temps.

Well marked
Awesome

Great hike. Amazing views. Don’t mind the ladybugs, they won’t bite.

My son and I hiked this today, 5-26-18. First, you can't get to the trail head by regular car. You need to walk the road from Charcoal Kiln to get there Or take a 4x4.. This is about 1.5 miles with an elevation gain on the road of about 1200 feet...just on this road. Many have said you can't drive the road. Not true. You can safely drive at least 1/2 up and park at or near the Thorndike campground. This saves you a lot.
Trial is well marked and you should know, we are both in great shape. This is a very difficult hike. First portion, very tough. Flattens out a lot for the middle third . Then, the climb to the top starts. The switchback gain a ton of elevation in a very short order.
People have said the view at the top is to die for. However, I can't say that. This may be, though, due in large part to the fact that we have been to so many top of mountains, they are all starting to have the same "appeal". If you haven't done many hikes to peaks, this may be one worth looking into, but again, not an easy trek. It took us a total of 10 hours round trip moving at the best clip we could.

backpacking
2 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.

Easiness depends on what you climb. We climbed one of the bigger dunes in the back and we were huffing and puffing. Such an awesome experience though. We saw a coyote den in one of the valleys between the dunes. It was pretty neat. Even nicer when there’s no foot prints on the dunes.

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Did this trail on 4/24. Wow what a hike. Steep the first couple miles then it does level out then gets steep again right before the summit. Lots of snow on the peak still. We were able to do it without crampons, just made a ladder in the snow. Great views all the way and a great hike.

Follow me on Instagram for pictures of the hikes and other adventures @wildrumpfie

Very cool, went far out and the flats get nearer and more defined. Hot though!!!

Follow me on Instagram for pictures of the hikes and other adventures @wildrumpfie

Walking on salt flats. Feel the heat at the lowest point in North America!

Neat to see, but not one of the best in Death Valley.

Did this trail in early April. We started the hike from the charcoal kilns and completed the entire hike in 9 hours. Overall the hike had nice scenic views. It was most of the elevation gain occurred in the beginning and end. There was more snow covering the last 1500’ of elevation and I would recommend crampons and poles for this time of year. The altitude, while not high, was challenging due to us coming from sea level so I highly recommend acclimating.

A very unique walk on the salt flat! flat, can go as far as you want...must do!

hiking
3 months ago

Deep gravel most of the way which makes it difficult so a decent workout. The dry fall at the end was rather anticlimactic. May be better in a different season. Went in the evening and saw a lot of little bats hunting for bugs.

Safe to do with shoes off. Easy "hike", but can be tough if you choose to climb the taller dunes. You can pick how far you and which dunes you choose to climb. We went to the tallest peak and sat for a very sandy lunch (the wind can pick up and get sand in your food)! Go in the morning - especially if you want to do it with you shoes off - the sand facing the sun gets really hot on the way back.

A must see place in the park.

Interesting. I only walked for several hundred meters as I arrived here too late, while I don't think it will be different even I went deep into the dunes.

Great fun, worth the stop. No real trail, so we just pointed to a taller dune in the distance and hiked out to it.

This area is worth the time it takes to see. Hiked a little ways out past the rest of the people there. The pattern made by the Salt and the view of the entire valley is awesome. On your way back to the car be sure to find the sea level sign perched high above the road in the rock.

Recommend going early morning or afternoon. Beautiful views! Total solitude! No trails. Drive slow through unpaved road.

If you've never experienced sand dunes, stop here. If (like me) you've visited other sand dunes, it's a bit of a letdown. So for experienced sand duners: only stop here if time permits and you want to experience the full range of landscapes Death Valley offers.

Reached the summit on 2.17.18. Took me 6 hours from the Kilns. That first mile on Mahogany Flat Rd was very brutal. More than half of the people seen on the trail had to turn around due to not being prepared. Crampons were a must!! Trekking poles were very handy as well. Had to leave my sleeping bag and blanket behind at the Meadows because of weight in my back pack. Setting up tent in this area was not an option, way too windy and cold! Tent set up at Thorndike, which was still pretty windy and cold at night.

Very cool spot!

Very interesting walk out on the flats. It was 92 degrees in early February so go in the Winter!!

hiking
5 months ago

Did it a week ago. The road from the Charcoal things is 1.7 Miles each way. There was snow at the top, I hiked 1,5 Miles total in snow 1.5 ft deep. The trail before that is covered in snow as well, like 2.5 Miles. Before that, patches of ice, you gotta be careful. Weather was like 40 morning and evening and 60 around noonish. With so much snow at the top you don’t see the switchbacks so you hike straight up, however you’ll need winter climbing gear, like axe and crampons. I am a slow hiker, it took me 6.5 hours to reach the top so I hiked down in the darkness like for 3 hours since sunset is early. Very rewarding nonetheless. The last two miles of the drive are rough, not good for sedans, just go slow and you’ll make it, however, you’ll need momentum to negotiate a few obstacles.

I really wanted to wander out into the salt flats, and this is the place to do it. Trail is really just a path most tourists take from the parking area. Thousands of people have worn the salt into what looks like a white road. But after a half mile the salt flats become more untouched and after a mile they become almost pristine. I kept walking until I couldn’t hear or see anyone behind me toward the parking area. This was about two miles out. The silence left my ears ringing and the ground become more interesting the further out I went. Be warned, even in February it was warm. It’s the lowest elevation in North America and obviously no shade or drinkable water.

hiking
5 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.

hiking
5 months ago

Hiked it on Saturday the 3rd. Road closure added extra miles, but still awesome for a day hike

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