Guests are responsible for their own planned itinerary; our National Park has 3.4 million acres which makes for quite the adventure!
We’ve taken a few destinations and broken them down by time, some of the sights and whether we think they should be considered a half or a whole day adventure. With this information, your group should be able to mix and match with any additional information you would find on your own in order to make for a great multi-optioned rental.
Rhyolite Ghost town:
The most well-preserved ghost town in the valley, complete with standing buildings, a bottle house and the only train station within 100 miles during its hay day. This site is less of backcountry trail and more of a very interesting add on for any half-day (4-4 1/2) trail, traditionally added to Titus Canyon or Chloride Cliffs.
Around five minutes from our office, this is the closest trailhead we have in our park.
We would recommend before venturing through to Echo to take a small detour to Twenty Mule Team Canyon. Twenty Mule Team canyon takes you through a small winding canyon the other side of artists palette which is historically tied to the mule team associated with founding Death Valley. Focusing back on The Echo Canyon trail you will be able to see a mixture of a unique slot canyon which contains the Eye of the Needle rock formation, view wildlife species in their natural habitats and wrap it up with the wonderfully preserved Inyo Mine. A mine complete with large historical equipment.
We would consider this a smaller half-day event with minimal hiking bringing this trail to a three-three and a half hour (3-3 1/2) trail round trip.
Thirty-five (35) minutes branching off of Cottonwood Canyon is where you’ll begin to explore this tiny treasure. Don’t let its size fool you marble canyons striations and curvature will get you ever time. Washboard road and walls as high as you can see this small canyon is the perfect getaway for a group of jeepers and hikers alike. Less about mining its time to take a moment and enjoy nature and all of her glory, this trail stops you through foot traffic to take in a mesmerizing slot canyon towards the end of the trail.
This trail is the perfect end to a high-intensity day, ending at a soft three-four (3-4) hours its a great addition to a combination day.
Forty-five (45) minutes until you reach the trailhead, this trail is a great mix of history and geological wonders.
This is excursion begins at the mouth of the canyon it is time to look up and enjoy the wonders and power of water and time. You will have the canyon walls standing high around you and also different rock formations, numerous sedimentary layers to view going all directions, not to mention wildlife species in their natural habitats. Here you will climb to roughly 5000 feet in elevation at Red Pass, drop back down into Leadfield Ghost Town and also pass by petroglyphs made by the Nevares Timbisha Shoshone Native Americans. Ending this trail is a beautiful slot canyon gleaming with quarts and many other minerals.
We would consider this trail with minimal hiking to be a half day event at four-four and a half (4-4 1/2) hours round trip, this trail is a great pair with another half day event or for our guests who would consider themselves adventurous hikers you could hike one of the many trails within Titus canyon which could easily turn this to a five-six (5-6) hour event.
Forty-five (45) minutes to the trailhead we are jeeping from the moment our tires hit the dirt!
Four-low from time to time keeps this trail fun and exciting, we recommend guest with a more adventurous side who are okay with “blue skies” in which all you can see due to your angle is the sky in your windshield.
Historic value galore this forgotten mining community has a spectacular panoramic view that acts as the ultimate reward for the rugged journey up. Something for everyone this trail comes with plenty of off chutes for hiking and on foot exploring if you’d like to stretch your legs during your adventure.
We’d say with minimal hiking this trail would make a great half day event at four-four and a half (4- 4 1/2) hours round trip, however adding hiking to this trail could land you at around six-six and a half (6-6 1/2) hours round trip landing you closer to a full-day event.
Venturing into Panamint springs about two (2) hours from our location most of Darwin will consist of a hike.
One (1) mile past Panamint Springs saloon you will approach a short dirt road to the left of the main highway with an informational sign marking the beginning of the hike to the fresh waterfall. A jeep is not necessarily needed to reach the hiking trailhead.
We would consider this trail with minimal hiking to be a longer half-day event Five-five and a half (5- 51/2) hours round trip a great pair with another half-day or shorter event.
Thirty-five (35) minutes into stovepipe village is where you’ll find this gem. Hidden in plain sight you start with high mountains and mesquite trees in the distance as you make your way through the desert aesthetic. Impressive echoing caves, switching into low range and traversing over large rocks is where this trail takes you. Narrow roads and desert flora flourishing through this canyon as you jeep your way to the seasonal spring is only half of the fun.
This trail takes a little more time to move through in a group but is worth every second at around six-eight (6-8) hours round trip, a great all-day trail or addition to a smaller day.
The Racetrack Playa:
One hour to the end of pavement this trail takes a bit of commitment but does not leave you empty-handed.
On your way, you visit Ubehebe Crater a 700+ feet deep volcanic beauty, tea kettle junction whom of which is covered in history, the forgot stories of lost burro mine, a magnificent Joshua tree forest and last but not least the mysterious moving rocks.
The difficult portion of this trail is the wash-board road in which you would drive between 10-20 mph. With this trail, you would be enjoying six-eight (6-8) hours of the northern portion of our valley we would consider this an all-day event.
Pavement Highlights we would recommend would be Dante’s View, Zabriski’s Point, Artisans Palette, Salt Creek, The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes and Badwater basin all of which are completely accessible by passenger car and do not require you to venture past the payment.
**Some paved roads do have length restrictions primarily for RV’s and motor homes, please contact the National Park for current restrictions.
We do have none-recommended trails, in which these trails may be considered passable we just do not recommend them.
In a normal rental situation with all recommended trails being traveled if there were to be a break down we would perform a rescue, free of charge to the guests (excluding any viable damage done to the vehicle that had caused the breakdown or had been done by the renter/driver in general).
In the case that a guest rents a jeep and uses a non-recommended trail and breaks down we may not have the equipment to come rescue in which case the guest would be responsible for hiring a separate towing company in which the guest is completely responsible for any cost associated with it.
Generally, we do not recommend:
- Hunter pass
- Lippincott mine road
- Mengel pass
- Through Echo Canyon to Inyo pass
- Steel pass (in some cases)
Again, though these roads may be passable we do not recommend them
Please know that our recommendations are all based off both personal collective experience within our office and general research. In all situations regarding the Death Valley National Park we recommend gathering information before any conquest within our Park as well as reaching out to The National Park Service for additional suggestions, concerns or general information.