Pets allowed
Not Allowed
Elevation Gain
3,269.00 ft (996.39 m)
Trail type
26.00 mi (41.84 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.

The Gold Valley Loop is a 26-mile loop along dirt roads in Death Valley National Park. It begins in Greenwater Valley just off of Furnace Creek Road, and takes Gold Valley Road to Willow Spring before looping back around the other side of Gold Valley. Yes, this route can be driven (though only high clearance/4x4 vehicles would be recommended). However, the hiker knows that traveling by foot offers an exponentially more enriching experience. Also, despite this route’s drivability, it is not a popular one, and the desolation of this area remains intact. Let us keep it that way. 

The beginning of Gold Valley Road can be reached by driving from the north or south along Furnace Creek Road (suitable for passenger vehicles). Our route begins at the intersection, heading westward to cross Greenwater Valley toward the Black Mountains. Near mile 7.5, the road meets an unnamed pass, from which one can see both the Panamint Mountains to the west and the Spring Mountains to the east. From the pass, the road begins a long descent, 5 miles down to Willow Spring. Water should not be relied upon here, as it is seasonal and difficult to access (though water is more reliable in wet months further down Willow Canyon). For the history folks, the spring here was the scene of a very brief mining boom in the early years of the 1900s. 

After heading back to Gold Valley Road from Willow Spring, continue on the opposite way to make the full loop around Gold Valley before continuing on back into Greenwater Valley.  

Death Valley is a place of vastness, and it is imperative to take your safety seriously. Be prepared with more water than you think necessary, and have a plan in case of emergency. As always, practice the principles of leave no trace, and take action to defend threatened wilderness areas ( 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)




Parking Pass


Open Year-round





Scenic vistas. Desolation. Desert Backpacking.


Heat. Exposed.

Trailhead Elevation

3,103.00 ft (945.79 m)

Highest point

4,460.00 ft (1,359.41 m)


Backcountry camping
Historically significant
Big vistas
Bird watching

Typically multi-day


Suitable for

Motorized vehicles

Permit required



Nearby Lodging + Camping


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