Hike the Valley’s Badlands
Desert wildflowers come and go in early spring (call the hotline below to catch them), but badlands are forever. Actually, badlands is an insult to Death Valley’s colorful, wildly shaped landscape of sand, clay, and rock. The five-mile Golden Canyon/Gower Gulch Loop (park two miles south of Furnace Creek) winds through rippled sandstone walls formed 10 million years ago, when shallow lakes covered the region. Take the half-mile detour to Red Cathedral’s crimson cliffs, then resume the loop to the base of Manly Beacon, a rocky perch in the center of dusky folds undulating out in every direction. Return via Gower Gulch, slicing through the Artist’s Palette formation of pink, red, green, and blue.