The Best of Death Valley: Desolation Canyon

10 Jan
2012
Posted in: California, Hikes
By    2 Comments

We’ll talk a little about the more popular areas of Death Valley, but we have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them.  If a place has a name and is on the main map, people will go see it.  But all good places don’t have names and not all of the good places are on all of the maps.  And the named places get too crowded.

Take, for example, Golden Canyon.  The parking lot was packed, but the description of the canyon sounded good.  We got about a hundred feet into the canyon before deciding to turn around.  It was just too crowded, there were kids running around, a baby crying, and I had seen a dirt road and canyon about a mile down the road that looked appealing.  So we got back in the car, drove a mile to an unmarked, unnamed dirt road, and found ourselves in Desolation Canyon.

Of course, we didn’t know at the time that this was a named canyon, but neither did anyone else.  What we did know: we were all alone in a colorful wonderland.

Here’s a little more information about this hike (I think we went farther in and you should too).  It’d be funny to see the random paths we’ve hiked.

Sometimes you hit a dead end at the beginning.

Sometimes you hit a dead end at the beginning - this was to the north of Desolation.

The approach to Desolation Canyon.

The approach to Desolation Canyon.

The canyon starts to narrow.

The canyon starts to narrow.

Light in the canyon.

Light in the canyon.

Paul in the canyon.

Paul in the canyon.

  • As an FYI, should you have hiked more than 100 feet into the canyon, you would have seen that it opened up into a number of slot canyons that you could have explored, along with turnoffs to the Red Cathedral, and other empty areas that may or may not have had names. Should you have kept going toward Zabriskie Point, you would have also had the chance to see many abandoned mines that you could have explored, or not explored, and lots of other canyons and terrain that would be berefit of people. I say, never judge a hike by the first 100 feet, chances are that it’s going to change, and you’re going to be surprised – but that’s just me. :)

    • Even the first 100 feet of Desolation Canyon is cool … but we’ll give this a look next time.