The viewpoint at Zabriskie Point is one of the most popular stops for visitors to Death Valley National Park, and it is an iconic sunrise spot. The vast majority of visitors here never get beyond the marvelous view of the badlands and the valley below, but there is an easy and moderate-length hike that ventures deep into the badlands for those who have an hour or so to spare.
The trailhead at Zabriskie Point is the starting point for several hikes. This trail system is essentially a figure eight with the larger loop being the loop from the Golden Canyon Trailhead up to the intersection with Gower Gulch and back to Badwater Road. The smaller loop is this hike from Zabriskie Point down to the the intersection of the Gower Gulch and Golden Canyon trails and back again.
Starting at the trailhead to the right of the parking lot, the first leg is a hike down into the badlands. At about 0.3 miles the trail turns left and approaches a large wash, Gower Gulch. The recommended route for the Badlands loop is to turn right at the wash and climb the trail up the hill. In this direction, the directional markers will be clearer. The first half of the loop winds up and down, over and through the rounded hills of the badlands. The views are marvelous along here. At the intersection with the Golden Canyon Trail, stay left for 0.2 miles to another left at the intersection with the Gower Gulch Trail, which can be followed uphill through the wash back to the loop intersection.
This hike is a marvelous one to do right after watching the sunrise at Zabriskie Point. The early light on the badlands is beautiful, and as the weather gets warmer the hike up the open wash is mostly in the shade. Even though this hike is short, be sure to wear good shoes and bring water.