8 Best Day Hikes in Death Valley National Park


Death Valley National Park is no joke! The desert temperatures in the summer can be unbearable so be very careful especially if hiking and bring plenty of water. Having said that, there is a lot more diversity and beauty in the desert than you might think. Colorful canyons, salt basins, and beautiful vistas highlight this national park. The 8 best hikes in Death Valley described below are must-dos for any adventure seeker visiting the lowest place in North America. Official Website.

StateCaliforina; Nevada
Nearest Metro AreaLas Vegas, NV
Area Size3,373,063 acres
EstablishedOctober 31, 1994
Hiking Trails94 miles

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Trailhead Traveler’s Recommended Hikes in Death Valley National Park

1. Telescope Peak Trail

Telescope Peak is the highest point in Death Valley National Park. At around 2 miles, the trail levels out at Arcane Meadows before following a narrow, winding ridge line to the summit. The trailhead starts at the Mahogany Flat Campground.

  • 14.0 miles – Out and back
  • 3000′ gain
  • Strenuous

2. Golden Canyon, Gower Gulch, and Badlands Loop

It is worth your while to complete the entire circuit of the area including Red Cathedral and the beautiful viewpoint of Zabriskie Point. The loop combines Golden Canyon, Badlands, and Gower Gulch Trails making it one of the best hikes in Death Valley. The trailhead starts at the parking area on Badwater Road 2 miles south of CA-190.

  • 7.8 miles – Loop
  • 800′ gain
  • Moderate

3. Fall Canyon Trail

Running northwest, this trail takes you into the mouth of Fall Canyon with its colorful canyon walls and the change to see some of the area’s wildlife. The beautiful narrows are what makes this one of the favorite hikes in Death Valley National Park. The trailhead is 2.5 miles down Titus Canyon Road.

  • 6.4 miles – Out and back
  • 2450′ gain
  • Moderate

4. Mosaic Canyon Trail 

Beautiful canyon trail named after the fragments of rock that can be seen locked within a natural cement, looking like a mosaic. There are a few parts of the trail that seem impassable due to heavy boulders in the path but there are hidden routes if you know how to get to them! The trailhead is 2.5 miles down Mosaic Canyon Road.

  • 4.0 miles – Out and back
  • 1000′ gain
  • Moderate

5. Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes

There isn’t an actual trail here but to hike to the top of the highest dune is 1 mile each way. These sand dunes are what one pictures when thinking of a ‘desert’ and can be a fun area to explore! The trailhead is at Stovepipe Wells Village off of CA-190.

  • 2.0 miles – Out and back
  • 200′ gain
  • Easy

6. Dante’s Ridge Trail 

Dante’s View is the most beautiful viewpoint in the entire park. From the parking lot, hikers can walk a 1/2 mile to the viewpoint then follow the trail north which extends another 3.5 miles all the way to Mt. Perry if you wish to go that far. The trailhead begins at the parking area at the end of the 13 mile Dante’s View Road.

  • 1.6 miles – Out and back
  • 250′ gain
  • Easy

7. Badwater Salt Flats

The lowest place in North America is this beautiful salt flat. There is no trail so you can walk as far out in the flats as you wish…it is 5 miles across the entire basin. The crowds are heavier the closer you are to the boardwalk but venturing out further, you will see the salt crystals that haven’t yet been flattened. The trailhead is on Badwater Road 17 miles south of Furnace Creek.

  • 1.0 miles – Out and back
  • No gain
  • Easy

8. Darwin Falls Trail  

Short hike to this out of place but striking year-round waterfall. The falls are by no means massive but the oasis and its vegetation make for a great change of scenery within the park. The trailhead is off of the unpaved Darwin Falls Road from CA-190.

  • 2.0 miles – Out and back
  • 450′ gain
  • Easy

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