Golden Canyon Hike – Death Valley National Park

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Earlier this week, I shared a quick hike report for Natural Bridge in Death Valley National Park. I’m back today with another hike report, this time for the Golden Canyon Hike, also located in Death Valley National Park.

Alex and I did very little planning for our trip, so we consulted the free newsletter at the Ranger Station for some quick hikes we could do on our way out of the park. Golden Canyon seemed like a good option and a great way for us to stretch our legs a bit before confining ourselves to the truck for 4.5-5 hours.

Golden Canyon Trail Death Valley National Park

Golden Canyon Interpretive Trail

  • Length: 1 mile, one-way.
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Start: Golden Canyon parking area, 2 miles south of Hwy 190 on Badwater Road.
  • Description: Easy trail through colorful canyon. Red Cathedral located ¼ mile up canyon from last numbered marker. An interpretive trail guide is available.

Before I continue, if you’re a Star Wars fan, you probably want to pay attention. Remember that part in A New Hope when R2-D2 is cruising around a canyon to find ObiWan and then gets attacked by some Jawas? That scene was filmed in this canyon. Check out this site for more Star Wars filming locations in the park.

Mud in Golden Canyon in Death Valley National Park

There was a ton of rain the day before our drive home, so there were plenty of muddy patches in the canyon…and the mud is this gloriously smooth substance. In the photo above, Alex is investigating a small patch of mud. To answer your questions: yes, we did attach one another with the mud…yes, we made jokes about being at a spa…yes, we had plenty of baby wipes in the car to clean up after.

If you’re on your way from Furnace Creek down to Badwater and are looking to see some more of the geology of the area, be sure to stop at Golden Canyon. There is a pit toilet at the trailhead near the area where you can pick up the interpretive trail map for 25 cents.

Do you like interpretive trails?

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{ 5 comments… add one }
  • amy t schubert March 21, 2013, 8:51 am

    What makes it “interpretive”? I’m not a hiker (at all) so when I saw that on a map in Big Bear I immediately pictured ‘interpretive dancers’ up and down the trail :)

    • Kam March 21, 2013, 10:25 am

      Darn, I should’ve been more clear. Thanks for asking.

      An interpretive trail is (generally speaking) a mile or less in distance, it is usually a very well-maintianed trail with little to no elevation change, and it is like walking through a museum or zoo…there are sections that have either a sign or number that is associated with a number on a guide/brochure and tells you more about the area. These are the types of trails people take with small children or if somebody in the group needs assistance on a trail (like wheelchair or crutches). Interpretive trails are made for slow walks and provide highlights of the flora and fauna of the area.

      They are the opposite of the kinds of trails that don’t tell you anything about the environment and are rather long.

  • Kristin - My Life as a Teacup March 21, 2013, 7:34 pm

    ARE YOU SERIOUS. THE JAWA SCENE WAS FILMED HERE? Guess who needs to get my butt out to the west coast, y’know, not to visit old friends or anything.

    • Kam March 23, 2013, 11:12 pm

      I’m writing another post now that mentions another scene…I may or may not mention you ;)


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