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    Telescope Peak Trail

    Death Valley National Park, California
    Distance6.2mi
    Elevation Gain5,465ft
    Trailhead Elevation8,149ft
    Top11,052ft
    Elevation Min/Max8149/11052ft
    Elevation Start/End8149/8149ft

    Telescope Peak Trail

    Telescope Peak Trail is a hiking trail in Inyo County, California. It is within Death Valley National Park. It is 6.2 miles long and begins at 8,149 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 12.8 miles with a total elevation gain of 5,465 feet. The trail ends near Telescope Peak (elevation 11,053 feet). This trail connects with the following: X-Country Route to Rogers Peak.

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    Poway, CA
    Adventurer | 265 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    4/24/2010
    You drive up a steep, unpaved road to Mahogany Flat campground. (Or, if the road is closed due to snow, try to score a camp spot at Thorndike camp and walk the 1.1 miles to the trailhead) Love this trail but could not make to the top because of the deep snow. We had snowshoes but since the trail was completely covered, the only way to the top was straight up the ridge. The snowshoes were like skis and it just wasn't going to happen. If you like solitude and want an experience most people don't expect to get while visiting Death Valley, this is for you! We can't wait to go back when there is less snow!
    0
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    Calico Ridge, NV
    Adventurer | 350 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    6/15/2008
    This was a great trail, though I wish the road could have been paved to the trailhead. Because it wasn't I had to start and end my hike at Thorndike Campground (as far as I could go safely with my Honda Civic). The trail climbed nicely right from the start for a couple miles (start early or you will bake on that stretch) before easing off for about a couple of miles of flat terrain. The last couple miles are the hardest as the terrain got steeper and steeper climbing switchbacks to the top. But the view, and sense of accomplishment, made it all worthwhile.
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    Hidden Valley, NV
    Pathfinder | 70 pts
    5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars5 out of 5 stars
    10/27/2000
    I wish I could give this 6 stars. Park and camp at the (I forgot the name) campgound at 8500 feet. Easy traversing trail lends fantastic views of Death Valley 2 miles down. The trail curves back and forth around the spine of the mountain, alternating views of Death Vally and the Amorgosa Valley. The wind was coming out of the Amorgosa and huge ravens were sailing on the crest on ridge. This was an easy traversing hike with only a moderate series of switchbacks as we neared the summit.
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    Telescope Peak Trail Professional Guides

    Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

    Bill and Polly Cunningham
    "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." Read more
    Allen Riedel
    "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." Read more
    Bill & Polly Cunningham
    "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." Read more

    Trail Information

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

    Hiking Death Valley National Park

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    100 Classic Hikes in Southern California

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    Hiking California's Desert Parks

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    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 Telescope Peak-CA
    Local Maps