Explore the most popular trail running 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.

29 days 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

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.

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.

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.

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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.

Heat was intense but loved the challenge.

Absolutely stunning. The user below me said it was really busy but I went on Saturday in spring and minus the first mile there was very little people. Red Cathedral was amazing especially going the extra half mile or so, and after that it gets even better until zabriske point. The walk through Gower gulch was the "least interesting" part but it featured a mine and some climbing over rocks which was still cool. Do the full 8 mile loop as described on the Death Valley NP official website and you won't forget it.

BE FOR-WARNED THIS IS YET ANOTHER TOURIST TRAIL !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Very Beautiful but not worth the People that are everywhere. I made it down the trail for maybe 20 min and the sound of people was killing the views( Im not much on being around kids and yelling parents). So I left, Death Valley is to Big and the Solitude is a beautiful thing for me. I had just heard so much good of this trail I had to see the hype. This is the Disney of Death Valley Trails especially if you go the length and do Zabriskie Point with it . See my Review on that as well. In fairness TO THIS TRAIL I gave it 1 star because I left and couldnt really see the trail.

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.

I've hiked this route about 3-4 times and love it! My favorite spot to camp is at the biggest Cottonwood lake. Beautiful! Fairly easy getting into the Cottonwood Lakes basin. The trail is nice and very easy to follow. From the lakes to the top of Langley can be a challenge. Definitely prefer Old Army pass as is detailed on this map as the trail tops out in the bottom of the pass. But I've had to go around by Long lake a couple of times due to snow conditions on Old Army pass. Going that way means you have to go up and over and down from a ridge, which means on your way back down from the peak, you have a substantial uphill once again. But when the Old Army pass trail is snowed over, it's better than nothing. The last bit to the top of Langley is a scramble through the scree and route finding through the boulders. Coming down the scree field is fun, though. Some of my best backpacking memories are from this trail.

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.

Keep going the the falls are worth

5 months ago

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

Did the full hike from Zabriskie Point to Golden Canyon and back. Took 5hrs in total with the only strenuous part being the upwards hike towards the beginning of Golden Canyon (on the way back). Zabriskie Point offers a hike up to a picturesque view point. Another trail leads into Zabriskie where exploration is as free as can be. Very incredible formations, a museum of geological processes. Parts of the floor are cracked from scorching heat, rather fun to play around. The trail eventually leads to the badlands where the hike up the ridges give stunning views and one can navigate the ridges like intersected highways. This eventually leads to the Golden Valley, with the highlight being Manly Beacon and the Red Cathedral, beautiful natural structures of the desert. The eye adjust to the few shades of colors during the summer, creating an eccentric visual trip. A highlight of 2wd accessible Death Valley.

Breathtaking loop, a must-do if you have some time. Golden Canyon was very well marked. When you get onto the Badlands trail it's fairly well marked with arrow-ed signs for the observant hiker/trail runner. Lots of side canyons to wander into in the Badlands, just make sure to stay aware of your surroundings. I'd suggest a GPX map especially for the Gower Gulch segment if you're doing the loop clockwise.

Great trail,
It is very well marked and has some awesome views. Make sure you do the extra mile or so to check out red cathedral.

well marked, cool views, fun time.

Started at golden canyon trailhead. Beautiful scenery especially once you get out of the canyon. Not too many people once you get away from the trailhead. Excellent hike. Well marked trail.

6 months ago

Was not able to reach Thorndike Campground or Mahogany Flats Campground since our vehicle is not 4WD. Started at the Charcoal Kilns, 6900 ft, added extra 3 miles round trip to the hike, and 1300 feet of elevation as well. Bring the total distance to 17 miles round trip and 4590 feet of elevation gain. The hardest parts of the hike were going up the mountain from Charcoal Kilns to trail head and then doing the zig zags right before the summit. Aside from those two, the hike was short and quite enjoyable.

We stayed at Wildrose Campground, 4100 ft, the night prior. Our group did not experience any altitude sickness. Was able to summit before 2 pm. Shortly after 2 pm, the clouds came in and temperature dropped to low 40's F without the sun and with lots of wind. The sunlight completely went out by 530 pm.

Would recommend bringing at least 3 liters of water, snacks, sunscreen, shoes with heel protections due to 3290 feet of decline on the way back down, pants and wind breaker. Was experiencing heavy wind from the Telescope peak to Rogers peak. Felt my face and extremities going numb from cold temperature, probably high 30's F or low 40's F.

6 months ago

Didn't have access to a 4wd, so started at the charcoal kilns (6900 ft). It was about 1.5 miles continuous uphill climb to the trail head with almost no views. Would avoid hiking this part at all cost next time. The trail itself was amazing and fun. View at top was mangnificent. The last mile and half of switchbacks before the summit was tiring, but really not too punishing.
We lived in Beatty the previous night, and drove there in about 2 hours early morning. From past experiences, I knew the attitude would effect me. I tend to experience headache, drowsiness and other cold like symptoms once over 6500ft. I dressed in layers, carried ample water, food and alotted plenty of time. I took breaks often, and spent about an hour on the summit. The whole 17 miles took me about 9 hours to complete.
My trip was in early November, temperature was around 20 to 40. There was no snow. I recommend sun protection, there was very little shade. Watch your step coming back down, the trail can be sandy, dry and slippery. Would love to come back and do this again.

6 months ago

Absolutely stunning views. Plan on starting early if you want to make it back. Take it slow, everybody I saw on the trail underestimated the effects of going from below sea level to 8,000 feet above in 4 hours.

6 months ago

13 Mile Day Hike Up Telescope Peak in Death Valley National Park | Telescope Peak is the tallest mountain in Death Valley National Park. It has beautiful views of Badwater Basin and the Sierra Nevada Mountains. We have created a detailed trip report for a successful summit up Telescope Peak, easily accomplished in a day. You won't regret doing this hike! It's beautiful! | Full Detailed Trip report at www.shedreamsofalpine.com

6 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

Strenuous hike with beautiful views all the way to the top. Don't start too late, if you don't want to walk back in the dark ;) You need a high-clearance vehicle to reach the parking lot after Charcoal Killns. Definitely worth it!

This trail is stunning. We started through the Golden Canyon, made our way to the Red Cathedral, then walked the badlands to Nebriski Point before going back through The Gulch.

This is one of my favorite trails, the view of the badlands after hiking the Golden Canyon is breathtaking.

It took us 2.5-3hours to complete the trail with a lunch stop at Nebriski point.

I am an average weekend day hiker and this is one of my favorite hikes. The loop is eight miles and includes just about every color of rock and soil you can imagine. I recommend starting at the Golden Canyon trail head off of Badwater Road. Take the Golden Canyon Trail to the climb up to Red Cathedral. The rock scrambling near the end is fun. The view from the base of Red Cathedral is amazing. Head back down through the canyon then turn left at the marker to go toward Zabriskie Point. You'll be on Badlands Loop trail passing by Manly Beacon. When you reach the intersection with Gower Gulch go left to climb up to Zabriskie Point. There you'll be joined by a crowd because you can drive to this point of interest. It's worth it. Head back down then follow Gower Gulch all the way to the 30' drop-off. The trail will continue to the right of the drop-off. Follow the trail back to your car. Gower Gulch is a rock lover's dream.

Extremely unimpressive. Seemed like we were walking along a gravel pit. There were many side trails that were not well marked. The views seemed pretty similar to one another along the way.
The only plus was the low crowds. We ran into very few people once we got off the Golden Canyon Trail after the Red Cathedral (which was also less grandiose in color and scale than anticipated).

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