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California, Death Valley, Golden Canyon Trail

Location: Death Valley
State: California
Length: 2.5 miles
Trail Type: Out and back
Elevation Change: 300 ft / 91 m
Hike Time: about 1.5 hours

A group of Joshua trees in Death Valley

Trail Information:

Explore a water-carved canyon in the heart of one of the hottest, driest places in North America.
The trail begins and heads in an easterly direction, climbs gently through the canyon which is even in winter, awash with color.
The rock formations are rock carved and washed away in places and is barren and spectacular to view.
In point of fact, you may have seen it before, and if you feel a bit of deja vu when you come to certain areas, it may be because most of us have seen it before.
You are treading the same steps that R2D2 and C3PO trod. The film Star Wars was filmed here in many parts.

The main canyon trail leads, after 1 mile, to views of the rock pinnacle known as Manly Beacon and the cliffs of the Red Cathedral.

Here you can continue on the main trail for another 0.25 mile – turn right when you reach the old Golden Canyon car park to get to the base of the Red Cathedral. At one point, a road ran through this canyon until in 1976 flood waters washed it away (nope.. not even death valley is safe from flooding)

An alternative trail to the right leads for another 1.75 miles along the base of Manly Beacon, over twisting and winding badlands and through colorful rock formations, to the car park at Zabriskie Point.
From here, there is a great view over the Death Valley badlands. The trail is unmaintained and sometimes hard to follow.

It is steep in places, climbing another 570 ft / 175 m, and strenuous in the heat. You may come across snakes so do watch your step and make sure to carry water with you.

Directions:

The Park can be accessed from the west via US 395, from Nevada via US 95, and from the south via I-15. Furnace Creek visitor center lies along Route 190 in the center of the Park.

Trailhead: The parking area is 3 miles south of the visitor center along route 17


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