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Hiking in Fall Canyon, Death Valley

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Some of Death Valley’s most interesting hikes exist around the edges of the valley.  Deep slot canyons have been cut into the surrounding mountains by erosion.  One such place is Fall Canyon — it’s easy to reach, and makes for an interesting, mostly easy hike.

Location

The trailhead for Fall Canyon is located near the mouth of Titus Canyon.  From Stovepipe Wells, take 190 east, then Scotty’s Castle Road north.  Alternatively, if you have a 4-wheel-drive, high-clearance vehicle, you can take Titus Canyon Road into the park and through the canyon, then stop at the parking area at the mouth of the Canyon.  Titus Canyon Road is one-way through the canyon, and two-way from the parking area to Scotty’s Castle Road.

My Visit

It takes a few minutes for this hike to get interesting.  Starting from the parking area at Titus Canyon, you’re at the mouth of that canyon, which means you have to hike north for a short distance to reach the mouth of Fall Canyon.  The most interesting thing along this part of the hike…

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… will probably be this chuckwalla.  As I started the hike, I saw several people gathered around his hiding place.  One of them said that she had seen him a year earlier, in exactly the same spot.  So, I’m guessing there’s a good chance he’ll still be there when you arrive.

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After passing the chuckwalla’s lair, the trail is pretty boring.  There are some gradual ups and downs, until you reach the dry wash at the mouth of Fall Canyon.  Hike down to the wash…

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… and then make a right, and head into the canyon.  It’s wide at first…

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… but quickly narrows.  Just imagine the rush of water that must have been required to cut this canyon!

It took me about 25 minutes of hiking to reach the mouth of the canyon, and then I wandered up the canyon for another 30 to 40 minutes…

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… to a spot where the landscape was getting very interesting.

While I could have kept hiking up the main canyon for much, much further…

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… a side canyon caught my eye.  This short spur off the main trail led to something quite interesting…

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… a dry waterfall!  This is, of course, Fall Canyon, so it only makes sense.

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For the casual hiker, this is a dead-end.  But if you have some climbing skills, you could easily scale the falls and continue up this side canyon.

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I was happy enough with seeing the dry falls from below.  I made this my turnaround point.

On the way back, take time to appreciate the sunlight flowing into the sculpted and stained canyon walls.

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To get back to your car, you’ll head back the way you came.  Eventually you’ll have a view of the mouth of the canyon, with all of Death Valley beyond it.

The Bottom Line

Fall Canyon provides a nice hike into a beautiful dry canyon.  You should plan on spending at least two hours here, to allow enough time to get to the more interesting parts of the canyon.  You can, however, extend the hike for much longer, by continuing to hike up the canyon for as far as you wish.

Drivelapse Video

Here’s a look at the time-lapse video of the drive through Titus Canyon, ending at the trailhead for Fall Canyon:

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