Death Valley National Park: Death Valley Traverse

Walk through Death Valley National Park on this grueling, 14-day, 221-mile thru-hike of the largest national park in the contiguous United Sates.
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Walk through Death Valley National Park on this grueling, 14-day, 221-mile thru-hike of the largest national park in the contiguous United Sates.

Whether completed in 14 days or 20 days, this 221-mile trek is a burly endeavor over sand dunes, mountains, deep washes, alluvial fans, salt pans, and isolated canyons. Hikers will gain more than 37,000 feet of elevation, reaching the lowest point in the western hemisphere and then climbing to the top of 8,000-foot mountains in the Last Chance Range. Terrain and fitness aside, thru-hiking Death Valley National Park requires the ability to route-find using a map and compass in addition to careful cache planning and wilderness survival skills.
*Editor's Note: This map includes cache locations for water storage. Since there is no water available throughout the park, place your potable water in plastic containers and drop them off at cache locations a couple of days before starting the thru-hike. Mileage and elevation gain and loss are listed after each day's description.

Day 1: Climb over the soft Ibex Dunes, low-lying hills, and Buckwheat Wash in the southern tip of Death Valley National Park. Mileage: 14.33. Elevation gain/loss: 1,729 feet and 690 feet.

Day 2: Follow a slot canyon to the old American Mine, then climb to the top of Salsberry Pass, hugging the eastern border of Calico Peaks. Mileage: 16.44. Elevation gain/loss: 3,750 feet and 2,482 feet.

Day 3: Hike through Gold Valley and catch a breathtaking glimpse of Telescope Peak from Sheep Saddle before dropping into Sheep Canyon. Mileage: 19.36. Elevation gain/loss: 3,048 feet and 3,183 feet.

Day 4: Walk across Badwater Basin, a vast salt pan that sits a few hundred feet below sea level. Mileage: 27.22. Elevation gain/loss: 1,520 feet and 3.450 feet.

Day 5: Slice through Middle Basin with the Panamint Mountains looming in the distance. Mileage: 19.04. Elevation gain/loss: 203 feet and 963 feet.

Day 6: Skirt the base of Tucki Mountain and sand dunes on the way to Stovepipe Wells, the only designated campground on this thru-hike. Mileage: 12.91. Elevation gain/loss: 875 feet and 673 feet.

Day 7: From Stovepipe Wells, follow the petroglyph-covered Marble Canyon. Mileage: 18.03. Elevation gain/loss: 6,742 feet and 3,574 feet.

Day 8: Continue through Marble Canyon, passing clusters of Joshua trees, Quackenbush Mine and sand flats en route to Hidden Valley. Mileage: 15.51. Elevation gain/loss: 3,521 feet and 2,091 feet.

Day 9: Traverse the Racetrack, a huge playa with a protruding granite island called the Grandstand. Mileage: 15.06. Elevation gain/loss: 1,615 feet and 1,699 feet.

Day 10: Follow a narrow canyon to a saddle with panoramic views of the Virginia Dry Lakes. Mileage: 15.41. Elevation gain/loss: 1,669 feet and 3,494 feet.

Day 11: Explore Ubehebe Crater and Little Hebe Crater before trekking across Death Valley Wash and climbing into the Last Chance Range. Mileage: 13.39. Elevation gain/loss: 2,058 feet and 674 feet.

Day 12: Hike through colorful Dedeckera Canyon to Eureka Dunes, the tallest dunes in California. Mileage: 13.46. Elevation gain/loss: 2,002 feet and 3,163 feet.

Day 13: Climb past Crater Mine toward the Last Chance Mountains. Mileage: 11.58. Elevation gain/loss: 3,184 feet and 658 feet.

Day 14: Summit no less than 11 peaks and cross the border of Nevada to end the thru-hike of Death Valley National Park. Mileage: 12.48. Elevation gain/loss is 5,117 feet and 4,179 feet.

-Mapped by Roger Homrich, the first person to thru-hike the Death Valley Traverse.
USGS Topo Maps: Saddle Peak Hills, Old Ibex Pass, Ibex Spring, Salsberry Peak, Funeral Peak, Gold Valley, Badwater, Devils Speedway, West of Furnace Creek, Beatty Junction, Grotto Canyon, Stovepipe Wells, East of Sandflat, Cottonwood Canyon, Harris Hill, Sand Flat, Ubehebe Peak, Teakettle Junction, Tin Mountain, Uhebehe Crater, Last Chance Range SE, Last Chance Range SW, Hanging Rock Canyon, Last Chance Mountain.

TO TRAILHEAD: Start: From Baker, CA: North on CA 127/Death Valley Road for 30 miles. Left onto Harry Wade Road, a dirt jeep trail. Drop off thru-hikers here. After 14 days, pick up thru-hikers at Nevada Border, near Lida, NV.
End: From Bishop, CA: South on US 395/North Main St. After 15 miles, left onto CA 168. At 42 miles, cross the Nevada Border (CA 168 becomes NV 266). Ten miles past border, look for jeep roads on right side of highway. Outside of Lida, NV, bear right onto a dirt jeep road and head south. Pick up thru-hikers near the border. The jeep road will U-turn back to NV 266.

PRO Trip Info

Contact
Furnace Creek Visitor Center & Museum (760) 786-3200
Scotty's Castle Visitor Center (760) 786-2392 ext.231
nps.gov/deva

Fuel: Keep a full tank in your vehicle as distances are great. Nearest gas stations: Stovepipe Wells (45 miles south), Furnace Creek (53 miles South), and Beatty, Nevada (60 miles southeast).

Groceries: Limited groceries in park at Furnace Creek Ranch General Store. Panamint Springs Resort and Stovepipe Wells have convenience stores. Outside park, buy basics in Beatty, NV and Shoshone, CA. Nearest supermarket is in Pahrump, NV.

Where to Eat

Furnace Creek Resort (closed summer) Dining Room: Reservations recommended. Lobby Bar: Don’t miss about afternoon tea.
Furnace Creek Ranch Forty-Niner Cafe: Breakfast, lunch, dinner. Limited summer hours. Wrangler Steakhouse & Buffet: Buffet-style breakfast/lunch. Steakhouse dinner. Limited hours. Corkscrew Saloon: Drinks/snacks served afternoon and evening. The 19th Hole: Burgers and sandwiches. Closed in summer.
Stovepipe Wells Village Toll Road Restaurant: Breakfast, lunch and dinner; casual. Limited hours. No lunch in summer. Badwater Saloon: Drinks and appetizers served in afternoon and evening.
Panamint Springs Resort Dining & Bar: Breakfast, lunch and dinner year-round.

Lodging options inside park

Furnace Creek Resort
328 Greenland Boulevard
Death Valley, CA 92328
(760) 786-2345
furnacecreekresort.com

Stovepipe Wells Village
California 190
Death Valley Junction, CA 92328
(760) 786-2387
escapetodeathvalley.com

Panamint Springs Resort & RV Park
California 190
Death Valley, CA 92328
775-482-7680

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 354.9

Waypoints

DVN001

Location: 35.6477127, -116.364006

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.

DVN002

Location: 35.6832657, -116.3703613

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.

DVN003

Location: 35.770771, -116.4106216

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.

DVN004

Location: 35.8015175, -116.4542999

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.

DVN005

Location: 35.8500786, -116.444046

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.

DVN006

Location: 35.8640518, -116.4417877

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.

DVN007

Location: 35.8662529, -116.4399567

Bear left through the canyon. Turning right will lead to a dead end.

DVN008

Location: 35.8695679, -116.4369736

Exit through the wide mouth of the canyon. Continue east in the channel, heading toward American Mine.

DVN009

Location: 35.8716583, -116.4272766

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.

DVN010

Location: 35.8713989, -116.4268265

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.

DVN011

Location: 35.8717575, -116.4272766

Continue northwest, following the faded road.

DVN012

Location: 35.8725319, -116.4273834

Walk across the wash (the first of three that have destroyed the already faded road).

DVN013

Location: 35.874897, -116.4264679

Second wash crossing.

DVN014

Location: 35.8785934, -116.4269257

Third wash crossing. Follow the road and begin climbing toward the pass that's 650 feet away.

DVN015

Location: 35.8807869, -116.4265366

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.

DVN016

Location: 35.9141426, -116.4425888

Hike along the shoulder of I-278/Jubilee Pass Road toward Salsberry Pass.

DVN017

Location: 35.9260216, -116.4275436

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.

DVN018

Location: 35.9279556, -116.4247971

Cache

DVN019

Location: 35.9451675, -116.4171448

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.

DVN020

Location: 35.982769, -116.4413681

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.

DVN021

Location: 36.0342255, -116.5638199

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.

DVN022

Location: 36.0196342, -116.6158676

Cache

DVN023

Location: 36.033287, -116.5798874

Reach Lost Section Road, another old mining route. Follow it southwest through a narrow cut in the mountains and into Gold Valley.

DVN024

Location: 36.0215645, -116.6228104

Bear right at the fork in the road and head north, entering Gold Valley.

DVN025

Location: 36.0391846, -116.6329117

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.

DVN026

Location: 36.072731, -116.6413574

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.

DVN027

Location: 36.0799255, -116.6767426

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.

DVN028

Location: 36.090435, -116.7351151

Cache

DVN029

Location: 36.1435585, -116.8582306

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.

DVN030

Location: 36.3069649, -116.940361

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.

DVN031

Location: 36.3213425, -116.8889313

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.

DVN032

Location: 36.4290276, -116.9241486

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.

DVN033

Location: 36.5101128, -116.9936066

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.

DVN034

Location: 36.6104622, -117.0831299

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.

DVN035

Location: 36.6067581, -117.1465836

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.

DVN036

Location: 36.6436043, -117.2727814

Enter the wide mouth of Marble Canyon on a 4WD road. Petroglyphs can be found at the entrance of the canyon.

DVN037

Location: 36.6320534, -117.2955399

Marble Canyon and Cottonwood Canyon merge here. Continue west, following Marble Canyon as it narrows. Cottonwood Canyon heads southwest.

DVN038

Location: 36.6187782, -117.3304901

The 4WD road ends here. A barricade indicates that jeeps cannot travel any further through the canyon. Continue southwest through Marble Canyon.

DVN039

Location: 36.6072311, -117.33564

Make a short detour around a massive boulder that is wedged in a narrow gap. Climb up and to the right to bypass it.

DVN040

Location: 36.6099319, -117.3504639

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.

DVN041

Location: 36.5830307, -117.3719635

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.

DVN042

Location: 36.5828285, -117.3731842

End of Day 7: 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.

DVN043

Location: 36.5870705, -117.3859863

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.

DVN044

Location: 36.5861168, -117.4005508

Second canyon junction. Follow the fork to the northwest. Do not head up the side canyons to the west or north here.

DVN045

Location: 36.5922279, -117.4202271

At the third canyon junction, follow the western fork.

DVN046

Location: 36.5922775, -117.4212494

Climb up the large rock slabs of a small, dry waterfall.

DVN047

Location: 36.5936127, -117.4250412

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.

DVN048

Location: 36.5973549, -117.4385223

Continue west-southwest at the junction with Harris Canyon, which heads south. This area is thick with vegetation.

DVN049

Location: 36.5984268, -117.4479218

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.

DVN050

Location: 36.6008911, -117.4505539

Follow the road north-northwest past the open pits and trusses at Quackenbush Mine.

DVN051

Location: 36.6131325, -117.4550095

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.

DVN052

Location: 36.6336937, -117.4428406

Cache

DVN053

Location: 36.6420479, -117.4393845

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.

DVN054

Location: 36.6670303, -117.4360275

Bend to the northwest after skirting the base of the mountain to the left.

DVN055

Location: 36.6733055, -117.4454803

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.

DVN056

Location: 36.668705, -117.4558868

From the flat area, proceed northwest to a minor saddle.

DVN057

Location: 36.6778755, -117.4704971

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.

DVN058

Location: 36.6786537, -117.480484

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.

DVN059

Location: 36.6858063, -117.5016861

End of Day 8: 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.

DVN060

Location: 36.6867981, -117.5102692

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.

DVN061

Location: 36.6920204, -117.5266495

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.

DVN062

Location: 36.6739006, -117.5513916

Explore Sliding Rock, one of the mysterious moving boulders of the Racetrack. Then proceed southwest toward the next prominent boulder.

DVN063

Location: 36.6709671, -117.5558777

After checking out another boulder, turn back to the north-northwest and walk toward the Grandstand. Hike for 2 miles across the hard playa.

DVN064

Location: 36.6930313, -117.5664597

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.

DVN065

Location: 36.7473946, -117.570137

Cross Racetrack Road and continue north to a pass. The route will curve northwest as the pass narrows.

DVN066

Location: 36.7498322, -117.5689545

Cache

DVN067

Location: 36.7645416, -117.5750885

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.

DVN068

Location: 36.7756157, -117.5814209

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.

DVN069

Location: 36.8087769, -117.5707321

End of Day 9: 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.

DVN070

Location: 36.8177681, -117.5680237

Enter a narrow canyon with very steep walls a few hundred feet above the canyon floor. Follow the canyon north-northeast for a little over 2 miles.

DVN071

Location: 36.8456535, -117.553421

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.

DVN072

Location: 36.8453522, -117.5384216

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.

DVN073

Location: 36.84972, -117.5387192

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.

DVN074

Location: 36.8631325, -117.5257416

The second dry lake is smaller, but just as beautiful as the first. From here, walk toward a flat saddle covered in large boulders.

DVN075

Location: 36.8677216, -117.5238495

After making it to a flat saddle, hike north down a very steep wash until reaching a wash that bends to the right.

DVN076

Location: 36.8863525, -117.5197525

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.

DVN077

Location: 36.9112358, -117.4973297

After hitting the road, follow it north until the black soil of the Ubehebe Crater becomes visible.

DVN078

Location: 36.985096, -117.4666443

End of Day 10: 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.

DVN079

Location: 37.0080795, -117.4547577

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, cross over Racetrack Valley Road twice (it is a one-way loop) and head north for 3 miles over rolling terrain to Death Valley Wash.

DVN080

Location: 37.056736, -117.4653625

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.

DVN081

Location: 37.0914268, -117.4950638

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.

DVN082

Location: 37.0831184, -117.5560379

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.

DVN083

Location: 37.08078, -117.5656357

End of Day 11: 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.

DVN084

Location: 37.0641708, -117.5863953

After climbing up to a very obvious gap in the mountains, continue southwest along the wash. Switchbacking may be necessary to avoid debris.

DVN085

Location: 37.0583801, -117.5915527

The wash splits at this point. Continue south along the left-hand wash toward a saddle, gaining about 800 feet.

DVN086

Location: 37.0426178, -117.5940628

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.

DVN087

Location: 37.034462, -117.5914993

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.

DVN088

Location: 37.0367126, -117.6250305

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.

DVN089

Location: 37.0580406, -117.6395874

Cache

DVN090

Location: 37.1010551, -117.6622849

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.

DVN091

Location: 37.116684, -117.6647034

End of Day 12: 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.

DVN092

Location: 37.1391678, -117.6716766

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.

DVN093

Location: 37.1514397, -117.6782761

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.

DVN094

Location: 37.1721039, -117.6719437

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.

DVN095

Location: 37.1857643, -117.6748428

Bear left at the second fork in the canyon. Once the canyon opens, continue northwest to Big Pine Road.

DVN096

Location: 37.192524, -117.6804504

Follow Big Pine Road to the left and continue westward to Crater Mine. Cache spot.

DVN097

Location: 37.2117043, -117.6908875

After bearing left onto Big Pine Road, turn right and continue north past the mining area.

DVN098

Location: 37.220192, -117.6841583

End of Day 13: 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.

DVN099

Location: 37.2589607, -117.6814041

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).

DVN100

Location: 37.2801399, -117.6998062

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.

DVN101

Location: 37.3332176, -117.7060623

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.

DVN102

Location: 37.353035, -117.6809158

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.

Ibex Hills

Location: 35.7297935, -116.3891602

©Roger Homrich

Flowers

Location: 35.8525352, -116.4449463

©Roger Homrich

Wildflower

Location: 35.8617859, -116.4441757

©Roger Homrich

Salsberry

Location: 35.9272156, -116.428215

©Roger Homrich

Gold Valley

Location: 36.0215454, -116.622879

©Roger Homrich

Salt Pan

Location: 36.2383194, -116.8838882

©Roger Homrich

Valley Floor

Location: 36.0828171, -116.707077

©Roger Homrich

Trail Canyon

Location: 36.3033676, -116.9207916

©Roger Homrich

Panamints

Location: 36.3693275, -116.9092941

©Roger Homrich

Dunes

Location: 36.6104279, -117.1108246

©Roger Homrich

Coyote

Location: 36.5317078, -117.0054245

©Roger Homrich

Joshua Field

Location: 36.5938911, -117.422905

©Roger Homrich

Sand Flat

Location: 36.6379128, -117.4417038

©Roger Homrich

Hidden Valley

Location: 36.6817741, -117.4919128

©Roger Homrich

Stone

Location: 36.6759911, -117.5494156

©Roger Homrich

Racetrack

Location: 36.6810837, -117.5643539

©Roger Homrich

Cactus

Location: 36.8136826, -117.5696716

©Roger Homrich

Ubehebe

Location: 37.0099564, -117.4549179

©Roger Homrich

Creosote

Location: 37.053669, -117.4648743

©Roger Homrich

Thru-hiker Roger Homrich

Location: 37.0362015, -117.6249466

©Roger Homrich

Eureka Dunes

Location: 37.0987282, -117.6645203

©Roger Homrich

Crater Mine

Location: 37.2117119, -117.6908798

©Roger Homrich

Last Chance

Location: 37.2817688, -117.6988525

©Roger Homrich

Nevada Border

Location: 37.3524208, -117.6809082

©Roger Homrich