The Cabin and Trail strenuous death valley trip for winter 2015. Trip waypoints are sourced from
DV008 (Exit through the wide mouth of the canyon. Continue east in the channel, heading toward American Mine.)
DV009 (Pass a 10-foot, rocky waterfall on the left. Climb out of the channel and reach a very faded mining road. The American Mine is on a hill to the east.)
DV010 (Optional side trip: Hike up to American Mine to explore this hidden mining camp and a wooden homestead built into the mountain. Bottles, cans, and metal debris cover the area. When finished, retrace steps back to the old mining road.)
DV011 (Continue northwest, following the faded road.)
DV012 (Walk across the wash (the first of three that have destroyed the already faded road).)
DV013 (Second wash crossing.)
DV014 (Third wash crossing. Follow the road and begin climbing toward the pass that's 650 feet away.)
DV015 (Reach a mountain pass with views of 11,049-foot Telescope Peak, the highest peak in Death Valley. Follow the road until it intersects with I-178, then bear right onto the highway and walk up Salsberry Pass)
DV016 (Hike along the shoulder of I-278/Jubilee Pass Road toward Salsberry Pass.)
DV017 (Salsberry Pass may not be the day's highpoint, but what it lacks in elevation it makes up for in scenery. Pastel rocks and wildflowers are prominent features here. The expanse of Greenwater Valley stretches out to the north; Calico Peaks are to the left, including Salsberry Peak.)
DV093 (After climbing another 400 feet, rest at this open, flat area between two 4,000-foot foothills. Continue north through the canyon, following the wash. The canyon walls are a few hundred feet higher than the wash.)
DV092 (Take a moment to stop and look around at this panoramic point, which showcases the dunes below and the snowy Inyo Range. Continue north-northwest through the narrow valley between the foothills.)
DV080 (Enter Death Valley Wash. From here, bear left and follow the wash northwest for about 3.5 miles. The low-lying hills to the west will start to flatten out. At this point, look for a faint intersection where a faded mining road cuts through the wash.)
DV079b (From Racetrack Valley Road, head north into Valley Wash. Turn around for views of Ubehebe Crater to the south.)
DV007 (Bear left through the canyon. Turning right will lead to a dead end.)
DV001 (From Harry Wade Road, cross over the dried-out Amargosa River and hike north for 2.7 miles through low-lying hills. Prepare to move slowly across the sandy terrain.)
DV002 (Pass the Ibex Dunes, then hike north 5 miles through sandy terrain, passing dunes and rugged hills. Between the dunes and Ibex Spring, you'll gain 800 feet of elevation on a long, low-grade slope. The first 600 feet of climbing are soft and sandy; the remaining 200 feet are much rockier.)
DV003 (Pass Ibex Spring and follow an old mining road west through a narrow gap in the hills. (The gap reveals a large broad wash flanked by the rugged Black and Ibex hills). Drop down about 300 feet into the wash, and then climb about 700 feet up and across Buckwheat Wash. Head through rocky and rutted terrain toward the large, white stains on the hills, which are remnants of an 1800s mine.)
DV004 (End of Day 1: Set up camp in Buckwheat Wash at the abandoned mine (look for the large pile of talc at the base of the Talc Hills). The next day, leave camp and hike north along a rutted wash with hard-packed terrain. Stay along the base of the mountains to the west.)
DV005 (Reach Hanging Rock, a massive, oblong boulder protruding 12 feet out of the side of sediment walls. Hike north through tall channels of water-carved sediment.)
DV006 (The channel narrows, revealing a thin, private slot canyon with 100-foot walls, warm colors, and a sandy bottom. Continue hiking through the canyon and be aware of flash floods.)
DV018 (Water cache)
DV019 (Turn left off I-178 and walk toward the large monolith, entering Greenwater Valley. The monolith is visibly distinct from the surrounding terrain and offers high-lying flat spots to camp.)
DV020 (End of Day 2: Camp on a high, flat spot to avoid flash floods. From Day 2's camp, head northwest across the alluvial contours of the Calico Peaks until a large mound isolated from the low hills becomes visible. Continue northwest and skirt its northern base. Then proceed west-southwest into an increasingly narrow section in the hills. Follow a small wash up the hills to the low pass about 1,000 feet above base of the Calico Peaks.)
DV021 (Scramble up boulders and scree to an unnamed, low pass with vast views of Greenwater Valley and Gold Valley. From the pass, hike west down a broad slope into a narrow cut in the mountains.)
DV022 (Cache)
DV023 (Reach Lost Section Road, another old mining route. Follow it southwest through a narrow cut in the mountains and into Gold Valley.)
DV024 (Bear right at the fork in the road and head north, entering Gold Valley.)
DV025 (Bear right at the second fork in the road and head north. When the short cliff of sediment along the right edge of the road reaches head height, hike northwest toward Sheep Saddle.)
DV026 (Climb up the short but steep route to Sheep Saddle and enjoy views of Telescope to the left. After taking in the scenery, hike northwest into Sheep Canyon. Watch your footing as it is a 700-foot descent on loose talus from here to the canyon floor. Once the hard and smooth canyon floor is reached, head west. Climb along the right wall of the canyon, navigating around a series of three 30-foot, dry waterfalls. From there, continue west down the canyon.)
DV027 (End of Day 3: Pick a flat shelf at the bottom of the canyon, just past the side canyon that joins Sheep Canyon. The walls are high and steep. This spot is very secluded and the view of the night sky past the rock walls is unforgettable. From Day 4's camp, hike west through an open, flat area of Sheep Canyon. After exiting the canyon and hiking down the alluvial material, walk out onto the salt pan.)
DV028 (Cache)
DV029 (After hiking northwest for 8 miles from Badwater Road (a few hundred feet below the sea) over flat and salty terrain, turn right and walk north along West Side Highway. This is a seldom-traveled dirt road with a few unreliable springs: Shorty's Grave and Bennett's Last Stand.)
DV030 (End of Day 4: This is also a cache site. Park rules dictate backpackers must camp 2 miles away from West Side Road. Though this route cuts across alluvial material to Day 4's camping spot, turning left off West Side Road onto Trail Canyon Road makes for an easier route. The next day, leave camp and walk down a rutted, 4WD road until it intersects with West Side Road.)
DV031 (Head north on West Side Road. The Panamint Mountains are to the left; Amargosas to the right. Continue through Middle Basin, which looks like a small, frozen lake.)
DV032 (Reach Corduroy Cross, an old settler's crossing. From here, walk toward the transmission lines to the north that run from Furnace Creek to Stovepipe Wells. Follow the telephone lines as they bend northwest toward the base of Tucki Mountain.)
DV033 (End of Day 5: Camp at a flat spot on the eastern base of Tucki Mountain, near Cottonball Marsh. The marsh is a shallow pool of salty water with polygonal salt formations beneath it. Begin Day 6. From camp, hike north-northwest over alluvial material. Detour around small washes, losing the transmission lines in the meantime. Climb more than 600 feet up a steep grade to I-178.)
DV034 (Head towards two large mounds near the road. Cross I-178 and walk towards the dunes to the west. After checking out the dunes, rejoin the road and follow it to Stovepipe Wells Campground.)
DV035a (End of Day 6: Reach Stovepipe Wells Campground, the only designated camping spot on this thru-hike. A sign notifies travelers that they are at sea level. Fires are permitted here. There is also a general store, gas station and a motel with $4 showers. The ranger station is next to the general store. From Stovepipe Wells Campground, head northwest towards a major alluvial fan and Marble Canyon, about 8 miles away. Both features are very noticeable. Walk through a low dune and then climb the fan, using the washes as routes into the canyon's mouth. This section hike starts at Stovepipe Wells Campground, the only designated camping spot along this route. A sign notifies travelers that they are at sea level. Fires are permitted here. There is also a general store, gas station and a motel with $4 showers. The ranger station is next to the general store. From Stovepipe Wells Campground, head northwest towards a major alluvial fan and Marble Canyon, about 8 miles away. Both features are very noticeable. Walk through a low dune and then climb the fan, using the washes as routes into the canyon's mouth.)
DV086 (After passing the ruins of an old, abandoned mine, summit a saddle. The rocks in this area are extremely colorful. Continue due south to a higher saddle.)
DV036 (Enter the wide mouth of Marble Canyon on a 4WD road. Petroglyphs can be found at the entrance of the canyon.)
DV037 (Marble Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon merge here. Continue west, following Marble Canyon as it narrows. Cottonwood Canyon heads southwest.)
DV038 (The 4WD road ends here. A barricade indicates that jeeps cannot travel any further through the canyon. Continue southwest through Marble Canyon.)
DV039 (Make a short detour around a massive boulder that is wedged in a narrow gap. Climb up and to the right to bypass it.)
DV040 (Reach a fork in the canyon and bear left. Continue southwest for 2.5 miles through a series of stunning, water-carved narrows to Deadhorse Junction.)
DV041 (Marble Canyon and Deadhorse Canyon intersect at an open, flat area. Deadhorse heads south and appears much more prominent. Stay in Marble Canyon and proceed west through a narrow cut.)
DV042 (End of Day 1: Pick a high shelf along the right side of the canyon. Be sure to check for loose rocks above the dark marble walls. From camp, head west further up the narrow canyon.)
DV043 (Reach the first of three canyon junctions. At this point, the canyon area widens. Proceed climbing west. Do not head north up the side canyon.)
DV044 (Second canyon junction. Follow the fork to the northwest. Do not head up the side canyons to the west or north here.)
DV045 (At the third canyon junction, follow the west fork.)
DV046 (Climb up the large rock slabs of a small, dry waterfall.)
DV047 (At the cluster of Joshua trees, continue west. Do not follow the side canyon to the north. The correct route climbs northwest. It curves through a narrow, rocky gorge and then bends down to the southwest, intersecting with Harris Canyon.)
DV048 (Continue west-southwest at the junction with Harris Canyon, which heads south. This area is thick with vegetation.)
DV049 (The ruins of Goldbelt Mine, a few rusted trucks, and dilapidated structures mark the end of the canyon. A dump truck indicates the location of Goldbelt Spring. Check in advance to see if it is flowing. From here, follow the mining road northwest to an intersection with a sign designating that Quakenbush Mine is ahead.)
DV050 (Follow the road north-northwest past the open pits and trusses at Quackenbush Mine.)
DV051 (Take a right on the 4WD road and hike to the north. Drop through a field of Joshua trees with stunning views of Sand Flat and the surrounding mountains. The road travels northeast for a while, and then abruptly bends east before making a U-turn. Continue northeast at the bend, leaving the road for shallow washes. Head towards the diagonally striped mountains ahead and the entrance of Sand Flat.)
DV052 (Cache)
DV053 (Two converging mounds are bisected by a wash, marking the entrance to the ancient lakebed. Walking toward the bottom of this dry lake, high ground quickly surrounds hikers. Hug the western edge of the flat and walk north towards the rounded point ahead.)
DV054 (Bend to the northwest after skirting the base of the mountain to the left.)
DV055 (A prominent foot sticks out of the mountain to the south, head southwest and climb up a steep and taxing grade. After reaching the top of the foot, continue west-southwest to a large, flat area.)
DV056 (From the flat area, proceed northwest to a minor saddle.)
DV057 (Reach a minor saddle with great views of Hidden Valley. Follow a steep wash to the northwest down towards the valley. The wash soon bends to the west and releases hikers onto the valley floor.)
DV058 (Enter Hidden Valley, a large but intimate area with a reticulated mud floor and shrubs. Two very large, dark mounds sit prominently northwest of this point. Head across the valley towards them, favoring the mound to the south.)
DV059 (End of Day 2: At the base of the southern mound, pick one of the many flat areas with views of this secret valley. No water sources are available. From camp, head west and climb up a few hundred feet to a visible saddle.)
DV060 (After reaching the top of the saddle, hike northwest from this open area down towards a narrowing gorge. Do not follow it northwest once it begins to constrict. Instead, bend to the southwest towards a rocky overlook.)
DV061 (This rocky overlook offers views of the Racetrack (a 3-mile-long, 1-mile-wide playa), Ubehebe Peak, and the rest of the valley. The Grandstand rises up like a granite island from the playa surface. Head south and descend from the overlook on a very steep slope that narrows into a rock wash constricted by boulders and a few dry falls. Follow the wash as it turns west and puts hikers on the border of the hard, cracked playa surface. Skirting the base of the mountains you just descended, head south-southwest toward the southern end of the playa.)
DV062 (Explore Sliding Rock, one of the mysterious moving boulders of the Racetrack. Then proceed southwest toward the next prominent boulder.)
DV063 (After checking out another boulder, turn back to the north-northwest and walk toward the Grandstand. Hike for 2 miles across the hard playa.)
DV064 (Pass the Grandstand, a very large cluster of granite that protrudes a hundred feet or more from the playa floor. From here, continue north to an intersection with Racetrack Road, a rutted, dirt jeep path.)
DV065 (Cross Racetrack Road and continue north to a pass. The route will curve northwest as the pass narrows.)
DV066 (Cache)
DV067 (From the pass, hike northwest across an open, flat area until the space between the mountains narrows again. Follow a faint mining road that skirts the eastern hills and proceeds in a northeasterly direction as it drops down from the hills. The road makes an abrupt turn to the west as it lowers hikers down to a wash.)
DV068 (Head north-northeast into a broad, sloping wash. Hike up the wash toward a large canyon opening in the mountains ahead that becomes visible shortly after beginning the climb.)
DV069 (End of Day 3: Near the opening of the canyon, the alluvial fan has flat shelves that offer places to camp. Be sure to camp high in case of a flood. From camp, proceed north to the canyon opening.)
DV070 (Enter a narrow canyon with very steep, 6,000-foot walls. Follow the canyon north-northeast for a little over 2 miles.)
DV071 (At the large, open area, the canyon constricts to the north and a side canyon appears to the east. Walk in that direction up a narrow, dry, creek bed. The small creek eventually disappears as it climbs up onto an open plateau.)
DV072 (Stop at a large, open plateau with views of Tin Mountain to the east. After taking in the scenery, head north to a saddle that overlooks a large, dry lake.)
DV073 (Reach a saddle with great views of the largest of the Virginia Dry Lakes. Descend to the north and enter the dusty lake at its southwest corner. Proceed to its northeast corner between a dark, rocky gap. Then hike west-northwest to the second dry lake.)
DV074 (The second dry lake is smaller, but just as beautiful as the first. From here, walk toward a flat saddle covered in large boulders.)
DV075 (After making it to a flat saddle, hike north down a very steep wash until reaching a wash that bends to the right.)
DV076 (From here, the wash curves to the right and joins with Racetrack Valley Road. Proceed north to the southern base of the rock mound. Follow its eastern base and then hike along the road.)
DV077 (After hitting the road, follow it north until the black soil of the Ubehebe Crater becomes visible.)
DV078 (End of Day 4: Park rules require that backpackers camp 2 miles from Ubehebe Crater. From camp, hike northwest for about 1.5 miles over rutted washes and black soil toward Ubehebe Crater. Stay high on the contours to avoid the deep washes. Skirt around Little Hebe Crater and approach the southwest rim of Ubehebe Crater.)
DV079 (Ubehebe Crater: This 500-foot deep, half-mile wide crater was formed when magma heated the water table to the point where it exploded and covered the area in volcanic cinders. Descend into it or walk the long way around its rim. From the crater, head north to Racetrack Valley Road.)
DV079a (Section hike ends at Racetrack Valley Road)
DV081 (Turn left at the intersection between the mining road and the wash. Then climb west for about 3.5 miles toward a notch in the mountains. Though the road leads to the notch for a short distance, it soon turns away from the mountains. Once the notch is in sight, keep climbing towards it and hike off-road. This stretch gains about 1,200 feet.)
DV082 (Reach an unnamed notch in the mountains. It looks very similar to the mouth of a canyon, but after walking through a narrow gorge, the route leads to a large, open area. Continue due west.)
DV083 (End of Day 1: Just past the narrow notch in the mountains, a wide slope offers a few flat areas to camp (it can get really windy here). No water is available. This is a very private area in Last Chance Range that is rarely, if ever, visited. From camp, hike southwest and gain a quick 1,000 feet over undulating terrain en route to the second notch in the mountains.)
DV084 (After climbing up to a very obvious gap in the mountains, continue southwest along the wash. Switchbacking may be necessary to avoid debris.)
DV085 (The wash splits at this point. Continue south along the left-hand wash toward a saddle, gaining about 800 feet.)
DV087 (Reach the second saddle, which showcases Joshua trees, and red, purple, and orange rocks. From here, descend south-southwest down a steeply graded wash. Follow the wash as it curves west and then west-northwest down to Dedeckera Canyon.)
DV088 (Enter Dedeckera Canyon. Huge walls of reticulated stone tower above the gravel-covered canyon floor. Descend 2 miles north through the canyon. At the canyon mouth, find views of Eureka Valley, the Inyo Range and Eureka Dunes.)
DV089 (Cache)
DV090 (Eureka Dunes are almost 700 feet tall, the highest dunes in California and some of the tallest in the U.S. Walking on the dunes or along their base is slow and tedious because the sand is so soft.)
DV091 (End of Day 2: Camp on the alluvial material to the north of the dune's peak. From this area, campers have great views of the valley and Inyo Range as well as unforgettable sunsets and sunrises. There is also a primitive camp in the area. No water or protection is available at this spot. From camp, hike north, gaining 400 feet, to a stellar view of Eureka Dunes and the foothills of Last Chance Mountain.)
DV094 (Bear left at an intersection between two canyon washes. Continue three-quarters of a mile over gravel, passing beautifully colored canyon walls before reaching another fork in the canyon.)
DV095 (Bear left at the second fork in the canyon. Once the canyon opens, continue northwest to Big Pine Road.)
DV096 (Follow Big Pine Road to the left and continue westward to Crater Mine. Cache spot.)
DV097 (After bearing left onto Big Pine Road, turn right and continue north past the mining area.)
DV098 (End of Day 3: Camp off the dirt road on a flat area near the pass. Pick a spot with protection because this area can get very cold and windy. From camp, follow the dirt road until it dead ends into the mountains. A mineshaft is at the end of the road. Route-finding will be necessary during the next 12 miles because there is no trail and the terrain is extremely rugged.)
DV099 (Scramble up a steep, dirt slope to the first saddle in Last Chance Range. From the saddle, hike the ridgeline over 4 unnamed peaks to Last Chance Mountain. Head northwest to the first peak (7,853 feet). Go north-northwest to the second peak (7,978 feet). Continue northwest to the third peak (8,250 feet). Then, head due north and turn east, skirting the ridgeline around the fourth peak (8,211 feet). Hike north, then northwest along the ridge to the summit of Last Chance Mountain (8,456 feet).)
DV100 (Summit Last Chance Mountain (8,456 feet), the highest point on the 14-day trip. From Last Chance, hike over 6 more unnamed peaks. Continue north-northwest to the first (8,361 feet) of the six. Then head west to a saddle between the 8,361-foot peak and the second peak (8,338 feet). From the saddle, go north to a 7,735-foot mountain. After reaching the summit, continue north and bear east along the edge of a 7,376-foot mountain. Continue north-northeast to a 7,526-foot peak before turning northwest along a ridge down to a 7,242-foot mountain. From here, descend north to Willow Creek Road.)
DV101 (Bear right on Willow Creek Road and follow it for 2 miles to Cucomungo Canyon and the Nevada Border. Pass through the surrounding hills with the mountains high above. Mining prospects are scattered among the hillsides. Last Chance Mountains will be to the south. In the distance, the Sylvania Mountains spread across the landscape to the north, east, and west.)
DV102 (Pass the unmarked Nevada Border. End of Day 14 and the thru-hike of Death Valley National Park. It is recommended that thru-hikers get picked up from this spot instead of leaving a car here.)
DV035b (This section hike starts at Stovepipe Wells Campground, the only designated camping spot along this route. A sign notifies travelers that they are at sea level. Fires are permitted here. There is also a general store, gas station and a motel with $4 showers. The ranger station is next to the general store. From Stovepipe Wells Campground, head northwest towards a major alluvial fan and Marble Canyon, about 8 miles away. Both features are very noticeable. Walk through a low dune and then climb the fan, using the washes as routes into the canyon's mouth.)