Desolation Canyon

Death Valley, California 92328

Desolation Canyon

Desolation Canyon Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"Desolation Canyon is a highly scenic but less crowded alternative to the nearby Golden Canyon. This short hike features moderate canyoneering to a high pass over-looking the Artist’s Drive Formation. The deep, narrow, colorful canyon provides a feeling of solitude, with broad vistas from the overlook.

This is an enjoyable and highly scenic canyon hike for anyone, but it is especially appreciated by those without a four-wheel-drive vehicle in that access is just o ff the paved
highway. Despite its proximity to both the Badwater Road and Artist’s Drive, the narrow canyon provides a deep feeling of intimacy and solitude. The entire out-and-back trip offers a superb opportunity to observe the dynamics of badlands erosion, which is everywhere, from mud-filled gullies to bizarre eroded shapes overlooking the canyon."

More Desolation Canyon Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Best Easy Day Hikes: Death Valley National Park (Falcon Guides)
Bill and Polly Cunningham
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"Desolation Canyon is a highly scenic but less crowded alternative to the nearby Golden Canyon. This short hike features moderate canyoneering to a high pass overlooking the Artist’s Drive Formation. The deep, narrow, colorful canyon provides a feeling of solitude, with broad vistas from the overlook. This is an enjoyable and highly scenic canyon hike for anyone, but it is especially appreciated by those without a four-wheel-drive vehicle, in that access is just off the paved highway. Despite its proximity to both the Badwater Road and Artist’s Drive, the narrow canyon provides a deep feeling of intimacy and solitude. The entire out-and-back trip offers a superb opportunity to observe the dynamics of badlands erosion, which is everywhere, from mud-filled gullies to bizarre eroded shapes overlooking the canyon."
Hiking Southern California (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison
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"This lightly used route follows a narrow, serpentine canyon through a landscape of colorful badlands. The hike is an excellent alternative to often-busy Golden Canyon. This fine short hike, an uncrowded alternative to nearby Golden Canyon, surveys the dramatic badlands landscape eroded from the Furnace Creek Formation at the foot of the Black Mountains along the eastern edge of Death Valley. The trail-less hike actually follows an unnamed canyon (the east fork of Desolation Canyon), a longer and deeper gorge than Desolation Canyon proper."

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Trail Information

Death Valley
Nearby City
4.2
Distance
Out-and-back
Trail Type
Moderate
Skill Level
2-3 hours
Duration
Best season: Early November to mid-April
Season
Furnace Creek Visitor Center; (760) 786-3200; www.nps.gov/deva
Local Contacts
NPS Death Valley Visitors Map; Trails Illustrated Death Valley National Park Map; USGS Furnace Creek-CA
Local Maps

Trail Log