Death Valley National Park is considered a photographer's paradise because of the amazing assortment of different desert landscapes. One of the most sought-after photo locations is the Golden Canyons near Furnace Creek. As the sun rises over the Panamint Mountains, the canyons catch the sunlight and the golden-hued earth starts to vibrantly glow. This is the prime time if you are looking for photographic opportunities. This is also the best time to hike because the canyon walls provide shade until later in the day when the sun is overhead.
The hike to Zabriskie Point is roughly 3 miles from the Golden Canyon Trailhead. Along the way, there is a half-mile there-and-back detour to see the Red Cathedral. The trail begins by following the flood washouts of the canyons and eventually leads over the rolling Golden Canyons until it reaches Zabriskie Point. This is essentially a free hike through canyons, though there are trail markers and signs that let you know where you can and can't go.
The Golden Canyon Trail is a there-and-back hike, though you can take Gower Gulch that loops back to the parking lot if you wish to extend your trip. This is an additional 2.3 miles through more canyons and washouts with a few spots that have a short technical climb down. The trailhead to Gower Gulch is 1 mile from Zabriskie Point. Golden Canyon, Red Cathedral, Zabriskie Point, and Gower Gulch together add up to a worthwhile 6-mile round-trip hike.