December 22, 2012 · 7:00 AM
Cottonwood Canyon to Marble Canyon loop is one of the very few multiday hike with available water in Death Valley. The trail is a mix of primitive dirt road, brushy washes, and rocky canyons. No trail signs or marks. Total distance is about 30 miles.
Saturday 22: drive down to DV
Sunday 23: meet at Stovepipe Wells and drive to the "trailhead". Hike about 10 miles to Cottonwood springs. Elevation gain about 2000 ft.
Monday 24: about 10 miles to Deadhorse Canyon and Springs.
Tuesday 25: about 10 miles to Marble Canyon and back to the car.
Wednesday 26: drive back home or stay for few more days.
The road from Stovepipe Wells to the mouth of the canyon is a primitive dirt road. The last 2-3 miles require a 4x4 high clearance vehicle.
The hike would be described as moderate/strenuous because of the harsh desert nature. Temperature could dip to the 30 or below at night. During the day it could be in the 60F. Highest elevation during the hike will be about 5000 ft. Water is available at the 2 springs only. Hikers will have to carry all water for the day use, with the possibility of needing to carry water for 2 days (will get more info at the ranger office).
" The wilderness desert environment can be unforgiving. It is your responsibility to be fully prepared. Be sure to consult a Ranger if you need more information." From the NPS information bulletin.
A group size of 2-6 people would be good for this trip. Experienced backpackers, self-sufficient, dependable, and well prepared for this trip.
Pre and post trip logistics (departure, carpooling, meeting, etc..) will be worked out later. A $20 deposit will be required. It will be fully refunded at the trailhead.
From the Bay Area, it takes an entire day driving to get to Death Valley.
National Park Service, Death Valley
PS: This is not a guided trip or tour. By signing on this trip you assume all risks associated with wilderness travel. Such risks include: taking the wrong turn, not finding water source, injuries, illness, etc… You should be adequately equipped for this specific trip and itineraries (having the right gear for the trip), and willing to stay with the group. By not following those rules you could be putting yourself and fellow hikers at risk. If you decide to take off and do your own hike, you discharge the rest of the group from the responsibility of looking for you or assisting you.