Elevation Gain (ft)
Not far from Stovepipe Wells, Mosaic Canyon is a moderate hike where you choose how far you want to go. With wide washes, sections of narrow canyon with marbled walls, and even some dry falls to scramble up and over, there is a lot to like about this hike. Perfect for the whole family, children can run around and climb on the sloped walls while their parents enjoy lunch on a marble slab in the cool shade.
Location: Death Valley National Park, California, USA
Trailhead: Mosaic Canyon parking lot near Stovepipe Wells Village (accessed via graded gravel road); pit toilet
Length: 1-4 miles round trip; +1,000 ft. elevation to impassable dry fall
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Trail Type: Out and back
Warnings: Bring sun and eye protection as well as plenty of water.
Leaving the parking lot at the mouth of the canyon, you enter the narrows of the lower canyon with steep walls and groupings of marble mixed into the rock on your right, left, and even underfoot. Run your fingers along sections of wall smoothed over millennia by flooding, and enjoy the patterns in the rock. After about 15 minutes, you will enter a wide washes on your way to the upper canyon.
Upon enter the first wash, you will find a series of footpaths that run along the spine of a raised ridge running the length of the wash. Climb up for an elevated view of the surrounding canyon.
If you are tired or short on time, now is a good time to turn back, but if you feel like a little more adventure, continue up the canyon. The further you go the thinner the crowds become. Climb around three dry falls as you continue to an impassable 25 ft dry waterfall, which is an excellent place to have lunch before you start your trek back down the canyon.
On your way back, be sure to look for the cacti and small shrubs that eke out an existence along the canyon walls.
If you have energy to burn, you can scramble up a footpath near the mouth of the canyon that will give you a view of Death Valley and Stovepipe Wells.