Mosaic Canyon

Death Valley, California

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Patterned walls of multicolored rock and water-sculpted formations await you in this picturesque canyon near Stovepipe Wells. If you go here you’ll discover why Mosaic is one of the most popular canyons in the park. The fault in Tucki Mountain that produced Mosaic Canyon consists of mosaic breccia and smooth Noonday Formation dolomite, formed in a seabed 750 to 900 million years ago. After being pressurized and baked at more than 1,000°F, then eroded, the resulting rock has startling contrasts of both texture and color. Mosaic Canyon drains more than 4 square miles of the Tucki Range, so it is to be avoided, like all canyons, in flash-flood conditions. Rushing water, carrying its load of scouring boulders, has created smooth marbleized waterways out of the otherwise lumpy breccia. Silky surfaces gradually change to ragged lumps from the canyon floor up its walls, reflecting the varying depths of floodwaters.
Hiking Death Valley National Park

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Hiking Death Valley National Park

by Bill and Polly Cunningham (Falcon Guides)

Patterned walls of multicolored rock and water-sculpted formations await you in this picturesque canyon near Stovepipe Wells. If you go here you’ll discover why Mosaic is one of the most popular canyons in the park. The fault in Tucki Mountain that produced Mosaic Canyon consists of mosaic breccia and smooth Noonday Formation dolomite, formed in a seabed 750 to 900 million years ago. After being pressurized and baked at more than 1,000°F, then eroded, the resulting rock has startling contrasts of both texture and color.

Mosaic Canyon drains more than 4 square miles of the Tucki Range, so it is to be avoided, like all canyons, in flash-flood conditions. Rushing water, carrying its load of scouring boulders, has created smooth marbleized waterways out of the otherwise lumpy breccia. Silky surfaces gradually change to ragged lumps from the canyon floor up its walls, reflecting the varying depths of floodwaters.

© 2017 Bill and Polly Cunningham/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Death Valley
Distance: 3.6
Trail Type: Out-and-back
Skill Level: Moderate
Duration: 2-3 hours
Season: Best season: October through April
Local Contacts: Furnace Creek Visitor Center; (760) 786-3200; www.nps.gov/deva
Local Maps: NPS Death Valley Visitors Map; Trails Illustrated Death Valley National Park Map; USGS Stovepipe Wells-CA
Driving Directions: Directions to Mosaic Canyon

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Apr 2018