Badlands Loop Hike

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley, California

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Badlands Loop Hike


  • Zabriskie Point Trailhead.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • The trail almost immediately heads down into the badlands.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Gower Gulch wash at the loop intersection.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Heading up the (barely-marked) loop trail counter-clockwise.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Looking out over the badlands.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Early morning on the badlands loop.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Nothing grows on these stark hills.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Gower Gulch. The loop turns left here.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Heading up Gower Gulch.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • The Zabriskie Point overlook is way up ahead.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • Death Valley and the Panamint Mountains.- Badlands Loop Hike
  • - Badlands Loop Hike
Overview + Weather
Unique rock formations. Great views.
Very exposed. Can get very hot.
Death Valley, CA
Pets allowed: 
Net Elevation Gain: 
400.00 ft (121.92 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
2.60 mi (4.18 km)
Trail type: 
Trailhead Elevation: 
581.00 ft (177.09 m)
Current Local Weather:
Hike Description

Hike Description

Pro Contributor

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.

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(6 within a 30 mile radius)

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(23 within a 30 mile radius)

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