Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
7,973.00 ft (2,430.17 m)
Trail type
47.50 mi (76.44 km)
Please respect the outdoors by practicing Leave No Trace. Learn more about how to apply the principles of Leave No Trace on your next outdoor adventure here.

Cottonwood Canyon to Hunter Mountain Road is a 47.5- mile out-and-back route in the southern Cottonwood Mountains of the Panamint Range in Death Valley National Park. Starting from Cottonwood Canyon Road, the route ascends Cottonwood Canyon, and continues west past Cottonwood Springs and Dead Horse Canyon to reach Hunter Mountain Road. The route traverses rugged, rocky terrain. It passes through a vast desert landscape dotted with creosote and mesquite. There are scenic views of distant mountain ranges surrounding the area, including more of the Panamint Mountains to the southwest and the Amargosa Range to the northeast. This route winds through mountains, crosses canyons, and explores one of Death Valley's most remote regions.

The route begins with a challenging climb that rises from around 750 feet to almost 7,000 feet in elevation. A total elevation gain of 7,973 feet occurs in the first 23 miles, followed by an equal descent back to the starting point. 


The Cottonwood Mountains are best visited in the spring and fall. This route is subject to extreme heat at lower elevations, especially during the hotter months. The higher sections of this route can receive significant snowfall in the colder months, making some areas impassable without winter gear. Be sure to check the current conditions at one of the visitor centers before heading out.  


To shorten the distance and turn this into a point-to-point route you will need to arrange a shuttle and have someone with a high clearance, 4-wheel drive vehicle to pick you up halfway through the route on Hunter Mountain Road. 


Visitors who plan to stay overnight in the backcountry are asked to fill out  a free backcountry camping permit. Permits are available at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center and the Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station.

  • Furnace Creek Visitor Center is open 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m, daily. 

  • The Stovepipe Wells Ranger Station does not have regular operating hours. The hours and days they are open depend on the temperature and staffing. Call 1-760-786-3200 for current information and status.


The following is a list of Wilderness specific regulations that are critical for the protection of this fragile environment. Please visit, for a more comprehensive list. 

  • Vehicles are not allowed to travel off-road.

  • Bicycles and other motorized vehicles are not permitted in designated Wilderness. 

  • Pets are not allowed in the wilderness or on trails. 

  • Hunting and trapping is prohibited. 

  • The use of drones is prohibited.

  • Theft and vandalism are prohibited. Visitors are not allowed to collect or disturb any natural materials such as rocks, plants, or animals. 

Backcountry and Wilderness Map
Death Valley National Park Visitor Guide

Backcountry Camping General Information

NPS - Backcountry Camping Areas


Logistics + Planning



Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Open Year-round





Solitude. Unique desert landscapes.


Unreliable water. Minimal shade.

Trailhead Elevation

768.00 ft (234.09 m)

Highest point

6,773.00 ft (2,064.41 m)


Backcountry camping
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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