Telescope Peak Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"The trek to Telescope Peak is a strenuous all-day hike to the highest point in the park. From here you have spectacular vistas made even more impressive given the astounding elevation difference of 11,300 feet from the valley below.The 7-mile trail to the top of Telescope Peak is one of only two constructed back-country trails in all of Death Valley National Park. Although no rock cairns or tree blazes mark the way, the clear trail is easy to follow throughout its length. After the snow melts by mid- to late spring, there is no water anywhere along the high, dry ridge route, so be sure to carry an ample supply."
--Bill and Polly Cunningham, Hiking Death Valley National Park (Falcon Guides).
"Telescope Peak is the showcase summit in Death Valley. It is the national park’s highest point, and a place that gets a fair amount of snow in the wintertime. Since this region is known as one of the hottest places in the world, many people don’t realize there are also snow-covered mountains here, let alone ones that boast winter conditions. The massif possesses pinyon, bristlecone, and limber pines, though none of these trees offers much protection from the sun—they are all rather short and stubbly, and most are sparsely spaced off the trail."
--Allen Riedel, 100 Classic Hikes in Southern California (The Mountaineers Books).
"Highest point in Death Valley National Park. It offers wildflowers— and great views of the Panamints, Sierra Nevada, and Death Valley. The only thing better than watching the sun set behind Telescope Peak from the hot pool at Furnace Creek is looking at that scene knowing that you stood on the summit just a short while ago. This is a hike of contrasts, winding and revealing different terrain as you go, the expanse of Death Valley visible the whole way."
--Jay Anderson, Climbing California's Mountains (Falcon Guides).
"The 7-mile trail to the top of Telescope Peak is one of only two constructed backcountry trails in all of Death Valley National Park. Although no rock cairns or tree blazes mark the way, the clear trail is easy to follow throughout its length. After the snow melts by mid-to late spring there is no water anywhere along the high, dry ridge route so be sure to carry an ample supply. An average 8-percent grade is maintained, but there are long stretches where no significant elevation is gained or lost as well as several very steep switchback pitches to the summit. This high ridge trail hike is especially enjoyable during summer when temperatures are usually unbearable in the valleys on both sides of Telescope Peak —11,000 feet below. This lofty stretch of the Panamint Mountains catches and holds a lot of snow during winter, but the peak can sometimes be climbed without difficulty as early as mid-March with only a mile or so of deep ridgeline snow to “posthole ” up just before reaching the summit. During winter it may be easier and safer to avoid the first 2 miles of steep sidehill trail by proceeding straight up the ridge over Rogers Peak. Winter climbers should register at the Wildrose Ranger Station before and after the climb, and carry and know how to use ice axes, crampons, and winter clothing. This is a strenuous 7- to 10-hour out-and-back trail to the highest point in the park, with spectacular vistas made even more impressive given the astounding elevation difference of 11,300 feet."
--Bill & Polly Cunningham, Hiking California's Desert Parks (Falcon Guides).
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