Hiking Project Logo

greenBlue Golden Canyon Trail

Navigate on-trail with our free app

iOS App Store Android App Store

Trail

2.8 mile 4.5 kilometer point to point
Singletrack
Easy/Intermediate

Elevation

Ascent: 964' 294 m
Descent: -181' -55 m
High: 653' 199 m
Low: -130' -40 m

Grade

Avg Grade: 8% (4°)
Max Grade: 31% (17°)

Dogs

No Dogs
Driving directions Take a virtual tour
Zoom in to see details
Map Key

Trail shared by Thomas Birch

Ascend Golden Canyon and experience the badlands of Zabriskie Point.

Thomas Birch

Features Views

Family Friendly Kids will enjoy the interpretive signs at the Golden Canyon area, or the views from Zabriske Point.

Description

This trail through the Golden Canyon and the Zabriske Point badlands offer some of the best hiking in Death Valley National Park.

The trail begins at the Golden Canyon Trailhead accessed off Badwater Road just 3.5 miles south of the Furnace Creek Visitor Center. There is an interpretive trail guide available for Golden Canyon at the information kiosk at the trailhead.

The canyon is true to its name, carved through golden yellow sediments which were deposited at the bottom of Lake Manly over 5 million years ago. The different color bands seen in the walls signify the presence of different minerals. The trail ascends the canyon on a gentle climb for the first mile of the hike. A sign post for Zabriske Point will indicate where the trail climbs out of the canyon and into the Zabriske Point badlands. The Upper Golden Canyon Trail - Red Cathedral Access can be used to get close-up views of the Red Cathedral which looms above Golden Canyon.

The trail ascends steeply out of the canyon as it winds through the Zabriske Point badlands and around the base of the Manly Beacon. The trail begins its descent at 1.5 miles to the first intersection with Gower Gulch where the Gower Gulch Loop Connector trail allows for shorter loop hike to Gower Gulch. The trail to Zabriske Point continues up through the badlands with additional opportunities for beautiful views as it ascends.

The trail again meets Gower Gulch and the intersection with the Gower Gulch Trail at 2 miles. The Gower Gulch Trail can be taken back to the Golden Canyon Trailhead. Keep following the signs to Zabriske Point. The trail will reach the parking area at Zabriske Point where the paved Zabriskie Point Access Trail offers an excellent overview of the canyons and badlands you just ascended through.

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 travel 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.

Contacts

Rate This Trail

Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Share This Trail

Check In

Check-Ins

Mar 23, 2019
David Raphael
Mar 12, 2019
Dan P
Jan 17, 2019
Phil Horne
Jan 8, 2019
Kevin Wu
Nov 23, 2018
Bhavika Jalli
Nov 23, 2018
Laura Aguirre Téllez
Nov 9, 2018
Marc Daniel
With James and Roy. Doing a loop to see sunset.
Oct 24, 2018
Birgit Moeller

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 16 votes

#202

Overall
  4.6 from 16 votes
5 Star
63%
4 Star
38%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Rankings

#24

in California

#202

Overall
97 Views Last Month
1,501 Since Jan 24, 2016
Easy/Intermediate Easy/Intermediate

13%
44%
38%
6%
0%
0%

0 Comments

Hiking Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Hiking