You’ll find some of the best badlands in Death Valley National Park on a short detour through Twenty Mule Team Canyon. This short drive runs alongside the paved Route 190, but it’s a world away, as it twists through some beautifully sculpted and eroded landscapes.
Twenty Mule Team Canyon is located on California Highway 190, southeast of the junction with Badwater Road, just beyond Zabriskie Point. The road through the canyon is one-way, eastbound.
As you head up the hill and out of the park from Zabriskie Point, the landscape is already beautiful. But, a scenic detour offers something even better. Take the one-way dirt road into Twenty Mule Team Canyon…
… and in moments, you’ll be on a narrow path, twisting between desolate, seemingly lifeless hillsides…
… sculpted over millennia by rare rainstorms.
The drive gives you the chance to take a few of those pictures where a serpentine road disappears into a mountainous landscape. Everyone back home will think you’ve really gotten off the beaten path. But in less than three miles, you’re back on the pavement again.
The Bottom Line
It only takes a few minutes to drive through Twenty Mule Team Canyon, and it’s located near Zabriskie Point (one of the most popular viewpoints in the park), so why wouldn’t you check it out?
Here’s a look at the time-lapse video of the drive through Twenty Mule Team Canyon (both ways!):