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Titus Canyon - Death Valley, CA - 1/1/2016

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by AwkwardLobster, Jan 2, 2016.

  1. Jan 2, 2016 at 11:26 PM
    #1
    AwkwardLobster

    AwkwardLobster [OP] Well-Known Member

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    I've been captivated by Death Valley since my first trip in April of 2009. Back then I was driving a Jetta so we stuck to major attractions on the paved roads. I've been back 20-30 times but almost exclusively for canyoneering. I vowed this year to do more hiking and exploring in my favorite National Park.

    My last canyoneering trip was down Fire Swamp Canyon in the Cottonwood Mountains; on the way home a friend pointed out the turnoff for Titus Canyon and recommended it as a very scenic drive. I looked up the route in The Explorers Guide To Death Valley National Park which I had received as a gift. Always looking to combine my favorite activities I decided to hike Thimble Peak as well. Steve Hall describes the summit like this "...the views from the top are essentially perfect and unbeatable (the best I have seen in the park, even better than Telescope Peak)."



    To say the trail is bumpy at the beginning would be an understatement. We crept along slowly to avoid too much jostling. From highway 374 the trail shoots straight for the California border and Death Valley National Park. Almost as soon as you enter the Grapevine Mountains you're hit with spectacular colors and fantastic rock formations.



    The trail winds through the foothills before climbing switchbacks to Red Pass.



    We parked at the top of Red Pass below a tower of volcanic ash and sandstone. From here we hiked south to climb Thimble Peak. Below are three photos looking back to the Tacomas at Red Pass as we hiked away.



    The ascent looked dubious as we approached, but it would prove to be much easier than it appeared.


    To celebrate the new year we toasted with sparkling cider on the peak. The trail-dog was sad she didn't get any.



    After a quick descent the trail continues through to the ghost town, Leadfield. The structures are looking pretty good for a town abandoned nearly 90 years ago.



    Past Leadfield the trail enters Titus Canyon. In at least one place the canyon was only a few feet wider than the truck. The 500 million year old limestone walls are many hundreds of feet tall; it's breathtaking and my photos do it no justice.



    A great drive and a great hike. All the way home I couldn't stop thinking about when I'd be able to go back. I can hardly wait.
     
  2. Jan 2, 2016 at 11:52 PM
    #2
    Rakso

    Rakso CeRaTi

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    Looks like a nice trip. I which I had the time to do those kind of runs.
     
  3. Feb 17, 2016 at 11:46 PM
    #3
    goblue82

    goblue82 Well-Known Member

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    Looks like an awesome trip! I'm thinking of heading up from socal soon for a run like this. How long was the run? I have 3 day weekends with my current schedule so I'm thinking of doing Darwin Falls and now that I've seen your photos perhaps this one if I have time.
     
  4. Feb 18, 2016 at 7:05 AM
    #4
    AwkwardLobster

    AwkwardLobster [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Darwin Falls is a good time, not the kind of thing you expect to see in Death Valley.

    Hike, plus a couple stops on the road to take take pictures and driving slow to enjoy the narrows, I think we were there about 5 hours. You could definitely go faster if you desired.

    Check out this thread for lots more DV ideas/talk.
     

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