2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on

Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – November 2009

Rip & Go: Badwater Basin to Gold Valley - Death Valley National Park, CA

Don't waste winter: Tackle this cross-country canyon trek in the Lower 48's largest national park.

by: Mackenzie Ryan

Petroglyphs in Gold Valley (William Adam Collins)
Petroglyphs in Gold Valley (William Adam Collins)

Take it With You
Download a printable PDF of this entire weekend.

GPS-Enabled Trip Report

See this trip on a map, download it to your phone, GPS, or computer, and more.
On The Menu

Breakfast 1
On the road
Lunch 1
Almond butter and honey on pitas
Dinner 1
Gold Valley Pasta
Breakfast 2
Oatmeal with walnuts and honey
Lunch 2
Badwater Tuna Sandwich
Snacks Granola bars, apples

Gold Valley Pasta
Cheesy noodles and veggies

3 ounces angel hair pasta
1 cup broccoli
1 pack powdered cheese
Pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic powder

Boil three cups water. Place pasta and broccoli into zip-top bag. Add water and let sit for 10 minutes. Pour excess water back into pot to brew tea. Add powdered cheese and mix it thoroughly. Add salt, pepper, and garlic powder to taste.

Badwater Tuna Sandwich
An easy, on-the-go lunch

1 pouch tuna
1 pack precooked bacon
1 pita
1 packet mayonnaise or salad dressing
1 stalk celery

Spread mayo or salad dressing inside pita. Fill with tuna, bacon strips, and diced celery. Dig in.

Grocery List (Aisle # in Nearest Store Below)

1 box zip-top bags (13)
3 oz. angel hair (14)
1 pack powdered cheese (14)
1 box granola bars (16)
2 packs instant oatmeal (16)
1 packet mayonnaise or salad dressing (17)
1 bottle of honey (17)
1 jar almond butter (17)
1 pouch tuna (18)
4 pitas (19)
1 pack precooked bacon (deli)
1 small head broccoli, 1 stalk celery, 2 apples, handful of walnuts (produce aisle)
Pack salt, pepper, garlic powder

Pit Stop
Hang with park rangers at the 19th Hole, their favorite local dive at the Furnace Creek Ranch Resort. They keep it simple, going for a burger and fries. CA 190, Death Valley, CA; (760) 786-2345

Nearest Grocery Store
Smith's Food and Drug Center
601 S. NV 160; Pahrump, NV;
(775) 727-2400

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Star Star Star Star Star
cheap jordans
Dec 30, 2013

<a href="">jordan shoes for cheap</a>
<a href="">air jordan 13 retro</a>
<a href="">jordan shoes for women</a>
<a href=""></a>
<a href="">cheap jordan shoes for sale</a>

Death Valley National Park
Dec 08, 2010

Death Valley National Park offers a lot of the variety for those who like to explore geological wonders and discover unique bits of American history. You can hike into the back country but you can also have a very full experience without the hiking at all. Climb sand dunes experience amazingly cool breezes over the Ubehebe Crater, discover a variety of geologic creations, and visit the lowest inland elevation in the North.

David Singer
Mar 01, 2010

This is a tough slog but the canyon is beautiful. Half way up we found a spring and an old prospecting site. It was raining most of the day and we went to the left at the major fork just up canyon from the spring. This lead us all the way up to the end of Sheep Canyon just below Funeral Peak. It should be noted that this is a dead end. The exit saddles out of this part of the canyon are extreme and would be very difficult without climbing gear.

Remember this is a tough hike. The ground is very rocky and unforgiving. I recommend high boots with a tough sole.

Kris Wagner @ Backpacker
Jan 12, 2010

UPDATE: I talked to ranger Charlie Callagan on January 12. Backpacker was concerned about his post implying that the hikers rescued near Willow Creek on January 7th were mislead by our Sheep Canyon route description in "Rip & Go: Badwater Basin to Gold Valley - Death Valley National Park, CA" from our November 2009 issue. "I think the article is quite clear" in directing readers to stay in Sheep Canyon, he told me on the phone. He acknowledged that the rescued hikers veered off the route we detailed. The story and map clearly describe an out-and-back in Sheep Canyon, with directions like “Retrace your route back to Badwater Basin.” Nevertheless, Callagan said, the group talked themselves into hiking out via Willow Creek Canyon, which led to a series of bad decisions which triggered a helicopter rescue. Since our route does include a significant drop in elevation from Sheep Canyon into Gold Valley, Charlie asked us to add a line to emphasize why hikers need to return via Sheep Canyon and avoid the temptation to drop into the much lower Willow Creek Canyon. As a rule, our editorial focus is to give readers advice about what routes to do, not on the myriad of alternate routes or sidetrips not to do while in the wilderness. But given the recent rescue and the human nature to travel downhill, we’ve added a line to our online story and map stressing that nearby Willow Creek Canyon is impassable without climbing gear and to do the route as we describe.

Kris Wagner @ Backpacker
Jan 11, 2010

Charlie: Thanks for informing us about the rescue. We're glad to hear the hikers are safe. I just left a message on your voicemail to clear up any misunderstandings about our route description. Our route here doesn't mention anything about dropping into Willow Canyon. In fact, we write the route as an out-and-back through Sheep Canyon only, and you can see the map at The info for this trip was scouted and mapped in person by Roger Homrich and our writer reported and fact-checked the route, so what it contains and entails should be accurate. Let's discuss it more.

Bryan Appleby
Jan 11, 2010

Word to the wise;

Rangers Rescue Four Lost Hikers

On the evening of January 6th, rangers received a report of two missing hikers reported to be hiking a route through Sheep Canyon that had recently been featured in Backpacker magazine. Subsequent interviews with family and friends of the missing hikers revealed that there were actually four members of the party, all two days overdue. Three search teams deployed on the morning of January 7th and found numerous sets of footprints matching those associated with the vehicle parked at the mouth of the canyon. Around noon, an observer on an airplane from Lake Mead spotted a large white “X”, a signal fire, and a person waving at the plane on a ridge south of nearby Willow Canyon. One of the search teams located the other three individuals trapped in Willow Canyon shortly thereafter. A Navy Seahawk helicopter from China Lake Naval Weapons Center successfully hoisted all four of the hikers out of the canyon and delivered them to Ridgecrest Regional Medical Center. Initial reports were that one member of the party injured an ankle, and that the others were suffering from minor exposure and dehydration. Ranger Micah Alley served as IC during this incident.

Contact Information
Name: Brent Pennington, Chief Ranger

Ranger Charlie Callagan
Jan 07, 2010

Beware of this hike!. There is no hikeable outlet to Gold Valley as Willow Canyon below the end of the road has impassable waterfalls and cliffs. You must return the way you came via Sheep Canyon. It is unfortuante that this warning was not priovided by the author of the article. Charlie Callagan, Death Valley, Wilderness Coordinator.


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
Ebola breakout
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: dayhiker9
Rocky Mountains
Pitchstone/Bechler/Union Falls Loop - YNP - TR
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: Keith73
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions