“A long trail to the highest point in Death Valley National Park.”
— Jorden Stanley
Views · Wildflowers
Though strenuous, this desert route is quite rewarding. Along the way, you'll have great viewpoints of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Once you reach the top, it won't be difficult to understand where the name "Telescope Peak" came from, as you'll be able to see for miles in all directions.
Need to Know
Drink plenty of water: Drink at least one gallon (4 liters) of water per day to replace loss from sweat, more if you are active. Fluid and electrolyte levels must be balanced, so have salty foods or "sports drinks" too.
Avoid hiking in the heat: Do not hike in the low elevations when temperatures are hot. The mountains are cooler in summer, but can have snow and ice in winter.
Travel prepared to survive: Stay on paved roads in summer. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes. Carry extra drinking water in your car in case of emergency.
Watch for signs of trouble: If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or a headache, get out of the sun immediately and drink water or sports drinks. Dampen clothing to lower body temperature. Be alert for symptoms in others.
The trail to Telescope Peak, the highest point in Death Valley National Park, is a 14 mile round-trip hike, beginning and ending at the Mahogany Flat campground. The standard route has an average gradient of 8% that slowly leads to the summit overseeing the park. While this is a difficult trail, there is no requirement for a permit, though it is always suggested to contact the Ranger Station for trail conditions. The standard route is maintained by these same rangers.
The trail begins at the Mahogany Flat Campground and winds its way to Arcane Meadows in about two miles. Between Arcane Meadows and the summit of Telescope Peak are five winding miles, consisting of trail that mainly follows the ridgeline. Nearby Bartlett Peak and Rogers Peak are both accessible by this trail, while adding insignificant amounts of extra effort or mileage.
Flora & Fauna
Along your journey, you'll pass first through forests of juniper, piñon pine, and mountain mahogany. Bristlecone pines will dot the landscape during the final miles.