Mosaic Canyon

Mosaic of stone

Mosaic Canyon is located 2 miles from Stovepipe Wells along a dirt road. There is a large parking lot at the head of the trail.

Mosaic Canyon can be a four mile round trip hike, or you may shorten it by wandering in as far as you wish. We chose to hike in as far as we felt like, then returned along the same path.

There are sections where you have to scramble up slickrock, which may be considered more difficult than some of the flat hiking trails in the park. Overall it is still rated as an easy hike. We found the different types of rock in the walls of the canyon to be very interesting for a short while, but because of the setting sun, we were unable to hike all of the way in.

Golden Canyon

Golden rocks on either side

We are pretty sure Golden Canyon is where R2D2 was kidnapped by the Jawas. It may not be the exact location of where they shot scenes from Star Wars, but it looks a lot like that distant planet.

We found Golden Canyon to be a really neat place to hike. We wandered off to the sides of the canyon where you can scramble up the sides. Be careful, because the down climb is not as easy! We spent so much time exploring the side notches, that we did not have enough time to hike to the end of the trail.

fins of gold rock

Unfortunately, this is a rather busy place, so we were closely followed by tourists wherever we went to explore. We could not shake them!

Unfortunately, a lot of nooks and notches were also used as a place to dispose of used toilet paper even though there is a rest room at the parking lot. Please remember to use a zip lock baggie to pack your garbage out. There is not a lot of rain to dissolve paper products in the desert. Garbage is there for a long time.

Sand Dunes

Large sand dunes

We parked about two miles east of the Village of Stovepipe Wells late in the afternoon and began an improvisational hike on the sand dunes. There is no official trail, so we were free to wander where we wished.

It is important to remember where you left the car because it is easy to wander far and not see the road from where you are. Early in the morning or late in the afternoon make great times to take photos because of the shadows on the sand.

Abandoned Mine

Machinery at mine

The hike up to the abandoned mine was the longest up hill mile I ever hiked in my life. I can't imagine hiking up the trail every day only to work in the mines in the heat of the desert all day long!

Today, this trail leads up to some open mine shafts and remaining machinery. This hike has more of a historical interest than one for beautiful scenery. It is easy to spend a few hours at this area.

Panamint Springs

Darwin Falls at Panamint Springs red dragonfly blue dragonfly

Tucked away at the end of a short hiking trail (about 2 miles?) is a series of waterfalls. The hike to the first waterfall follows a canyon along a trail to the foot of the waterfall.

To hike to the upper falls takes some rock scrambing and improvisation and can be dangerous for inexperienced backcountry hikers.

There are many dragonflies along the way. The latter part of the hike follows the stream from the waterfall during the fall months. The stream supports wildlife like birds and dragonflies as well as cattails. I took a roll of film trying to capture the dragonflies and was able to capture a few decent photos.

The overall hike was not very streanuous and only takes a couple hours if you like to be modertately leisurely. The drawback to this walk is that it is very far from other places in Death Valley. We camped at panamint Springs the night before, hiked this trail in the morning, and had left Death Valley before lunch time. An interesting place to hike after this place is Fossil Falls which is only a few hours away