Cancel Search
  • Search by

    Fall Canyon

    Death Valley National Park, California
    Elevation Gain7,109ft
    Trailhead Elevation951ft
    Elevation Min/Max951/4012ft
    Elevation Start/End951/951ft

    Fall Canyon

    Fall Canyon is a hiking trail in Inyo County, California. It is within Death Valley National Park. It is 6.4 miles long and begins at 951 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 13.3 miles with a total elevation gain of 7,109 feet. The Titus Canyon and Fall Canyon Trailhead parking is near the trailhead. There are also restrooms.

    Fall Canyon Trail Photos

    Drop Photo or click to upload

    Fall Canyon Trail Trip Reports

    Start your trip report for Fall Canyon Trail
    Attach photos from your trip.
    Please Select a star rating.
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    icon2 Total
    San Bernardino, CA
    Explorer | 20 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    Wonderful hike through amazing narrows. Worth continuing above falls for the best narrows. 200m back there is a path to the side that climbs up to circumnavigate the falls.
    Great Cacapon, WV
    Pathfinder | 173 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    Fall Canyon
    November 2000

    Drive up the Titus Canyon Road to the mouth of the narrows. Park in the designated parking lot. There isn’t any sign for Fall Canyon so one has to have either read about it (Hiking Death Valley by ) or hear about it through the ranger.

    What really wears a hiker out is the gravel in the wash. It moves a bit like marbles putting you back a ¼ step or so for each step you move forward. I’m not really good at assessing heights but the canyon walls are very impressive. The canyon’s curves and bends make one wonder what lies just around the corner.

    About 2 miles or less into the hike, a steep 75 foot hill presented some fun in that after reaching the top, one could look over the edge into a small side canyon. It was crumbly towards the top, not fun to climb but challenging nevertheless. At the top one could put one leg on one side of the ridge and one on the other, straddling two canyons. The desert silence once one has stopped walking is stupendous.

    We approached the first side canyon that begged to be explored. We went up a short piece before being blocked by a 13-foot fall. These falls are dry waterfalls. This one had a slight incline but was mostly vertical. The grotto above the fall promised to be exciting but sadly unattainable unless you have rock climbing equipment.

    Back at the main canyon we pressed on to an 18-foot fall blocked by a boulder. According to the hiking book we looked for the side route. It was a doozy at first for those who are afraid of climbing.

    As we popped around the top of the fall, we noticed a nice rock art lizard. Someone had made a lizard out of colored rocks on a larger rock surface. There is something about these rock walls that inspires the artistic side of the soul. We decided to eat lunch at the top of the fall as it is at the beginning of a nice tight narrows spot. If one is not moved by the awesomeness of the place, one has a thick sludge over their soul.

    After lunch (a bit cool in the shade) we meandered along the narrows. The narrows curved gracefully through slickensides, for about ½ mile. The walls were mostly gray with some brown variations and marble textures, quite different from the orange and red canyon walls of Utah.

    At the end of the narrow section, I climbed up some type of stone which overlooked some more of the canyon. I also took a look at the cottonball cactus perched there. The rock had an unusual surface. It was laced with a network of lines like tic-tac-toe, that was very effective in helping you walk up a steep incline instead of climbing on hands and knees. Down in the wash we came across fluffy parts of another cottonball cactus that had dried up.

    By 2pm the sun had warmed up the canyon and so some of the bushes were releasing their scent into the air. The smell of the mesquite and creosote bushes reminded me of hiking in Utah. Some of the mesquite bushes were sporting yellow flowers.

    As far as wildlife was concerned, we noticed some small orange butterflies flitting about. They also seemed to be dieing, falling along the bottom of the canyon. We spotted some bighorn sheep or deer tracks near the low water holes. Something startled me as I rounded a corner near a rock ledge. I passed about 6-12 inches near something and saw him move out of the corner of my eye. My first thought was “Snake!” Instead, it was a foot long lizard lying on the rock ledge. In one part of the narrows we came across our first tarantulas.

    We made good time walking out which was faster than going in. The air temperature had also risen as well.


    Fall Canyon Professional Guides

    Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

    Bill and Polly Cunningham
    "This twisting, deep canyon in the colorful Grapevine Mountains features one of the most spectacular canyon narrows in the park. Do not attempt this hike if wet weather appears likely. Fall Canyon is highly susceptible to ash flooding. You could easily be trapped in one of the narrow stretches of the canyon by a raging torrent if caught during a mountain storm. From the parking area at the mouth of Titus Canyon, hike north on an unsigned but easy-to-follow user trail, climbing gradually across several low ridges and gullies. At 0.5 mile the trail enters a side wash and then swings to the right (north) toward Fall Canyon." Read more
    Ron Adkison
    "This memorable day hike ascends a narrow, colorful canyon into the rugged interior of the Grapevine Mountains above the eastern margin of Death Valley. Fall Canyon, a precipitous gorge cleaving the west slopes of the Grapevine Mountains, is one of many profound yet uncelebrated canyons that bound the eastern flanks of Death Valley. This memorable trip, passable to hikers of every ability, follows a boot-worn trail into Fall Canyon’s wash, then ascends the wash through colorful, ancient rocks, finally ending at an impassable dry waterfall deep inside the Grapevine Mountains." Read more
    Bill & Polly Cunningham
    "This is an out-and-back hike up a narrow, twisting, high-walled canyon in the colorful Grapevine Mountains to a dry waterfall. Do not attempt this hike if wet weather appears likely. Fall Canyon is highly susceptible to flash flooding. You could easily be trapped in one of the narrow stretches of the canyon by a raging torrent if caught during a mountain storm." Read more

    Trail Information

    Death Valley National Park
    Nearby City
    Death Valley National Park
    Trail Guides

    Hiking Death Valley National Park


    Hiking Southern California


    Hiking California's Desert Parks

    Furnace Creek Visitor Center; (760) 786-3200;
    Local Contacts
    NPS Death Valley visitors Map; Trails Illustrated Death Valley National Park Map; USGS Fall Canyon-CA
    Local Maps