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Golden Canyon Trail

Intermediate
 4.6 (22)

Ascend Golden Canyon and experience the badlands of Zabriskie Point.


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Map Key

2.8

Miles

4.5

KM

Point to Point

653' 199 m

High

-130' -40 m

Low

964' 294 m

Up

181' 55 m

Down

8%

Avg Grade (4°)

31%

Max Grade (17°)

Dogs No Dogs

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

Shared By:

Thomas Birch

Trail Ratings

  4.6 from 22 votes

#146

Overall
  4.6 from 22 votes
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4 Star
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Trail Rankings

#16

in California

#146

Overall
47 Views Last Month
2,613 Since Jan 24, 2016
Intermediate

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Photos

Hikers on Golden Canyon Trail
Oct 11, 2018 near Badwater, CA
hikers
Oct 12, 2018 near Badwater, CA
Zabriskie Point
Jan 27, 2016 near Badwater, CA
View from Zabriske Point.
Jan 27, 2016 near Badwater, CA
An awesome view off of Golden Canyon Trail.
Jan 26, 2016 near Badwater, CA
A large group enjoys a sunset.
Apr 21, 2016 near Badwater, CA

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Check-Ins

Jun 16, 2020
Steven Yankay
Feb 9, 2020
Gaurav Bharadwaj
Jan 19, 2020
Melissa Dalis
Jan 18, 2020
Renae Walker
Good Hike!!
Dec 26, 2019
Kirill Belashchenko
Dec 16, 2019
Dan Sharpe
Nov 29, 2019
Tracy Mellison
16h 00m
Nov 26, 2019
Subhodeep Banerjee
2.9mi