Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
6,547.00 ft (1,995.53 m)
Trail type
33.50 mi (53.91 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.

Deadhorse Canyon Loop is a 33.5-mile route through a remote part of Death Valley National Park. It starts from Hunter Mountain Road and ascends into the southwest slopes of the Cottonwood Canyons making a loop around Deadhorse Canyon. This route features scenic vistas, narrow canyons, unique geology, historic mining sites, and access to some of Death Valley National Park's most remote areas. 

There are steep ups and downs, little shade, and an overall elevation gain of 6,547 feet. It is a rugged and remote trek that makes for an exciting and fun backpacking trip for experienced hikers who are comfortable traveling in backcountry desert areas.


The route begins by ascending Hunter Mountain Road from South Pass and Saline Valley Road to Hunter Spring. The road climbs steeply up a canyon, and eventually reaches a plateau, at which point it leaves the road and descends through a canyon heading east. Keep left at the junction with Cottonwood Canyon and follow the Cottonwood-Marble Canyon Loop Trail north. At the junction with Deadhorse Canyon and Marble Canyon, turn left again and follow the Upper Marble Canyon Trail west. Turn left at the dirt road junction and head back to Hunter Mountain Road. Then descend Hunter Mountain Road, retracing your steps. 


Seasonal springs may be found in Upper Cottonwood Canyon and Deadhorse Canyon. For the most up-to-date information on trail conditions and water availability, contact the park rangers or the visitor centers within the park.


Late spring and fall are ideal times to visit this area. The road can become impassable in winter and early spring due to mud, ice, and snow. The summer can bring extreme heat in the lower elevations where there is little shade and water. No matter when you visit, be sure to check the current conditions at one of the visitor centers before heading out.  


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.


This route enters the Death Valley Wilderness Area and the following is a list of Wilderness specific regulations that are critical for the protection of this fragile environment. 

  • 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. 

Please visit, for a more comprehensive list. 


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. Vast desert landscape. Scenic vistas.


Extreme conditions and temperatures. Unreliable water. Lack of shade.

Trailhead Elevation

6,109.00 ft (1,862.02 m)

Highest point

7,154.00 ft (2,180.54 m)


Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Big vistas
Geologically significant

Typically multi-day


Permit required


Permit self-issue on site




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