This is an unusual Death Valley hike—it starts high (4,660 feet) and goes down (to 3,088 feet). The basalt formations are spectacular, offsetting the faded spring that is the destination. In spite of the dotted line on the Trails Illustrated map, there is no trail down the canyon. Seasonal rains quickly erase all traces of hikers in the stream bottom. The pathway is clear, however: head downhill, using the sandy bottom as a trail whenever possible.
Above the parking area, on the north side of Titus Canyon Road, a dramatic collection of hoodoos and spires rises above the rock cliffs. It was in this majestic setting, in 1933, that archaeologists unearthed the fossilized remains of the titanothere, an 8-foot-high rhino-like mammal of the Late Eocene era. From prehistoric horses, to gigantic rodents and beavers, to the massive titanotheres, the open savannah of Eocene times, 30 to 35 million years ago, saw a swirl of creatures, providing us with the enchanting canyon name.
© 2017 Bill and Polly Cunningham/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.