“Ascend a desert classic on a pleasant route, with great views and interesting features along the way.”
— Bruce Hope
Views · Wildflowers
This trail is in a U.S. National Park and all the usual federal park regulations and restrictions apply here. There may also be additional park-specific restrictions in force; check with the visitor center at Furnace Creek if in doubt. Practice Leave No Trace (LNT) backcountry skills and ethics.
Corkscrew Peak is a popular and enjoyable peak hike in Death Valley National Park that features grand views overlooking Mesquite Flat, the Grapevine Mountains, the contorted strata of the Funeral Range, and central Death Valley. While this hike is recommended by the park service, there is no "official" trail. But, the increasing popularity of this hike means that there is now a very obvious use trail to follow once you leave the wash.
Start your hike at the sign on Daylight Pass Road informing travelers of a kiosk ahead where one should stop and pay the park fee. Park in the turnout by this sign and look for a use trail. The uniquely-shaped Corkscrew Peak will be visible directly to the north. Follow the use trail (there may be more than one) and cairns up the wash, bearing left toward the peak after about 1.3 miles from the road.
At about 1.9 miles from the road, in a narrow wash, you'll come to a place where the use trail leaves the wash to the left (northwest) and starts up a ridge toward the peak. This turn-off is well-marked with rocks and cairns. From this point, follow the use trail as it climbs to the summit. The last half of the climb up the ridge is the steepest part, but it is never more than Class 1. Keep an eye out for the bighorn sheep that live in this area.
After this last bit of climbing, you'll reach the summit ridge, pass "Hole-in-the-Rock", and soon be on the summit with its expansive views in all directions.
This hike can be done at any time of the year, weather permitting, but hiking in the cooler months is easier. In the warmer months, an early start is recommended to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Regardless of when you do this hike, carry plenty of water (there are no water sources on this route) and protection from the sun (sunscreen and clothing).