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Death Valley - Telescope Peak

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Stellar views of the Sierras, Death Valley, Bristlecone pines, 360 summit view
Near:Death Valley, CA
Distance:14 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:3000 ft
Hike Time:7.5 hours
Trail Condition:Well maintained trail
HikeType:Out and Back

Summary: This hike is stunning. The vistas are superb and unmatched. When you reach the peak, you will be standing at 11,049 feet, the highest point in Death Valley National Park. From the top you can see Badwater, at -280 the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere, and Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States.

The trail starts out steep. It is very strenuous going for the first two miles. You immediately begin to get great views into Death Valley. After two miles the trail levels off onto a wind-swept ridge. From here it is easy going for about three miles. You will start to wander among the ancient bristlecone pines - gnarled by wind, time, and occasionally fire.

The last two miles greets you with no less than 13 switchbacks, and the occasional "it must be right over here." You'll get there sign the peak register, and have one of the most enjoyable hikes of your life. The distance is what makes this one strenuous.

Trailhead: From the 190, take Emigrant Canyon Road South - turn left(east) at Wildrose Canyon Rd - drive nine miles to the Mahogany Flat campground. This is a very steep and rough dirt road, especially after the Charcoal Kilns. If you have a low clearance vehicle, you may want to park at the Wildrose campground even though it will add two miles to your trip. The trailhead is before the campground right next to a fire road, and very easy to find.

There is a trail register to sign a few hundred feet from the start and a register at the top.

Or if you are coming from the South take the 178 to Wildrose Canyon Road and turn right(east). (Lat:36.16976 Lon:-117.08911)

Trail Guides for Death Valley - Telescope Peak:
California Hiking
by Tom Sinestra and Ann Marie Brown (Avalon Travel)

Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Death Valley National Park (760)786-2331
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Allen Riedel, who has posted  123 other hikes on this site. To visit this reporters web site, click here.
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 3   Submit your own review
Reviewed by Sterner on 8/11/2012
Hiked in August(2012), 122 in Badwater the day before. We couldn't make it to Mahogany Flat and the trailhead because of our rental. So we started our hike at the kilns about 3 miles lower. We had plenty of water, but the sun was still pretty punishing. My buddy stopped just after the saddle (bad knee) so I speed hiked to the summit, did the photo thing, and speed hiked back down. From the trailhead head to the summit would have been difficult, but not brutal. However, the addition of the miles at the start of the hike and end just about did us in. If at all possible... drive up to Mahogany Flat and don'thike in August. Also if you are unaccustomed to the altitude expect some discomfort and be mindful.

Reviewed by SW on 6/7/2012
The last portion of the road to the trailhead was pretty rough. I made it in my sedan but really wish I had a high clearance vehicle. The trailhead was easy to find. The first 2 miles were difficult, don't get discouraged. The middle flattened out and had gorgeous views. The last mile plus was also steep, but well worth it. We measured the hike at little over 6 miles one way.

Reviewed by Nicholas on 4/6/2012
Hiked this bad boy on March 24th with a buddy of mine. Pretty strenous, a continous uphill battle except for the part that goes between Rogers Peak and Bennet Peak. Little bit of snow, had treking poles which helped. The views and surrondings are more amazing than the average human can describe!! I really didn't think we would make it because of the ton of switchbacks, we decided to go straight up the ridge and believe it or not it was actually easier. Once you get to the top its so gratifying!! You really fell liked you've accomplished something. We left a flag and picture case up there for all the fallen comrades of the wars lost in every American battle. Making it a yearly anniversary thing.

Reviewed by Calimobber on 2/6/2012
Hiked Feb 4th 2012, Trail was great. very little snow till last mile. solid snow above 10,000ft but no need for ice axe or crampons, I only wore gortex hiking shoes. great view of the snowy sierras and down to badwater basin. Camped at mahogany camp. started trail at 9am submitted at 11:50 after a 30 min rest on top we were back to the car by 2:50. excellent view from the peak.

Reviewed by Chris W on 1/16/2012
Got to the top on January 14th, 2012. The 6.25 mile trail was in excellent condition with patches of snow and ice on the final 2 mile climb. No crampons or ice axe needed right now, but if they get some snow this trail would be impassable without that gear. The view from the top is one of the best I have seen. From Mt. Whitney to Mt. Charleson and 360 degrees in between. Will definitely return.

Reviewed by Steve on 11/22/2011
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Reviewed by Ryan T on 3/29/2011
2 out of 5 successfully summitted on March 27th, 2011. The trail was covered with 3 to 4 feet of snow most of the way, getting deeper as we got closer to the summit. It took 9 hours of hiking (excluding break time). The weather was ~5 degrees at the Research Station and 0 degree at the summit. Iceaxe, crampons, and waterproof layers helped. The view was breadthtaking and I felt like we were in the high planes of Peru. Only for EXPERIENCED winter climbers who has summitted 10K+ peaks. 11K+, wind, snow, and exposure made it harder to summit during winter and early spring time. I'd like to summit again next time from Shorty's Well.

Reviewed by JT on 5/22/2010
We wen't on May 22 2010 as a family the two adults and two boys age 6 to 9. I didn't think the hike was bad we had to hike on the ridge about a mile and half from the summit because there was snow on the trail. The kids did fine going up but on the way down they hard time I think it was the distance. After the hike they said that they would do it again next year.

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
Keys: California Hiking, California Trails, California Hikes, Inyo County Hiking, Inyo County Trails, Inyo County Hikes

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