What an awesome hike, and what an awesome peak. The trail to Telescope Peak, the highest point in Death Valley National Park, is a 14 mile round-trip hike, beginning and ending at the Mahogany Flat campground. It begins with a 4x4 road which steadily rises out of the valley at a gradual rate. A 4×4 truck slowly passed us, its occupants offering a friendly wave and words of encouragement. The rugged evaporated lake is worn smooth by thousands of visitors who walk out a thousand feet for that obligatory selfie. In fact, the tallest peak in the park, Telescope Peak, reaches over 11,000 feet in elevation and several others, including Bennet Peak, Rogers Peak, and Sentinel Peak, surpass 9,000 feet. A place of extreme terrain and extreme conditions. We toasted these trail angels with ice-cold Corona’s in the ninety-degree heat. It seems so simple, but I recall when researching this route how difficult it was to estimate how long it was going to take us. Our shelter was a Mesh House 3 paired with a 100 Wing Shelter. He responds with a quizzical look. This path continues around the mountain until you see Telescope Peak for the first time. Whitney from badwater) but that one is a bit beyond my resolve. Winters also bring snow to the higher elevations and coat Telescope Peak (Panamint Mountains) in white. Telescope Peak (11,049 ft / 3,368m) is the highest peak in Death Valley, with a well-established route to the summit from Mahogany Flat campground. Watching a rattlesnake drink from the waters was also pretty surreal. The vertical rise from Badwater (which is at -282 ft) to Telescope Peak is one of the greatest on the planet. Trail Notes: Don’t try this trail when thundershowers are in the forecast; the trail is very exposed and you’ll be the tallest thing around (save for a few bristlecone pines on the slopes of Telescope Peak). The morning light illuminates the target -- Telescope Peak, The trail follows a long 4x4 road which winds up into Hanaupah Canyon. The climb to reach the maintained trail which would lead to the peak was absolutely grueling. The canyon trail continues to gradually increase in elevation as is winds into the mountains, Springtime brings color and life to the desert. The topography now featured a lot of trees, and was a bit harder to navigate. We have three miles of this and sunrise has begun heating up the salt flats. Alex Stoy chimes in as the only member of this team who has done part of this route on a previous adventure to climb and ski Telescope Peak. Our three o’clock arrival time surprised all of us. And then we reached the snowline at about 7,000 feet further slowing us down. We saw a scorpion scurry across our tracks as the early morning light rose over the mountains. Tip : If you visit in the winter months, don't forget to check our hotel deals & tour tips below. The trail starts in the western part of Death Valley National Park at Mahogany Flat campground. Actually, we climbed it from “Shorty’s” Well, near badwater but 30 feet higher at merely 250 feet below sea level. “How did we get here so fast?” “I was sure it would have been later.” “I thought we’d be busting out the headlamps for sure.”. The ridge rolled up and down, and then we crossed a hillside through a forest on our way to the final and toughest climb. The Death Valley region consists of several different mountain ranges, including the Sierra Nevada, the Argus Range, the Panamint Range . About 90 minutes into the hike we were already well above the bottom of the valley. Badwater Basin from Mahogany Flat trail Hiking Telescope Peak by the normal route involves a 14 miles (23 km) round trip hike. Telescope Peak Main article: Telescope Peak Its summit rises 11,331 feet (3,454 m) above Badwater Basin, the lowest point in Death Valley at −282 feet (−86 m). A steady progression of scree, scrambling, and route finding challenged our progress. Near Hanaupah Spring Telescope Peak looms far in the distance, After taking a break to fill up nearly 6 liters of water each, we hit the first steep climb up a ridge, Taking the ridge involved climbing 1600 feet in about one mile, At the top of the ridge we got a great view of the canyon we'd just navigated, Looking towards Badwater Basin from atop the ridge, With Telescope Peak still another 6000 or so feet to go, we pressed on, Now hiking through trees and brush, Telescope Peak was getting closer. We hiked, actually backpacked to Telescope Peak a few days ago. For reference, Shorty's Well is on the western edge of the Badwater Basin ( 282 ft below sea level ). Telescope Peak presides over Death Valley’s vast salt flats, a rocky, snow-capped beacon for much of the year even while the desert below is scorching. The highest point in Death Valley National Park, Telescope peak stands over 11,300 feet above the valley floor just 7 miles east. Not just any flats. Sunrise colors on Telescope peak reflected in pond at Badwater Valley Low, Mountain High Although many tourists come to Death Valley to visit Badwater Basin, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level, most of them have no idea that the park also encompasses high-country areas that climb to more than 11,000 feet. These are the famed salt flats of Badwater in Death Valley National Park. Death Valley from the summit of Telescope Peak. “Yeah it doesn’t add up,” jokes Mike as he plunge steps past me through the mud. Mountain canyons are also notorious for winds, so a fitted, protected stove system would be several times more effective in a stiff breeze. We were so tired and hungry we didn't waste much time before settling in. To the left is the area known as Badwater, which is -252 feet below sea-level, and to the right is the hill that leads to the summit of Rodgers Peak. Hanaupah Spring is the only water source on the entire route, so we each filled up 5.5 liters and took a break for lunch before taking on the very steep climb to the ridge which leads to the peak. Wildflowers and canyon walls colored the landscape. We could have probably gotten by just camping cowboy style, throwing our sleeping bags and pads on the ground unprotected. Badwater is the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level, and has a spectacular view of snowy Telescope Peak (11,043 ft). The sky burst into colors in all directions at sunset. The small, minimalist Mesh House keeps out the biting insects and weighs next to nothing for its size. Few hikes can match the relentless climb of connecting these ridgelines from Hanaupah Canyon to Telescope Peak. It’s a comfortable 60-degrees as we head out onto the salt before sunrise. For about 10 hours, our team worked hard for each thousand feet of gain. Glancing up at our snowy summit goal brought dismay in its continued distance, but looking back down through thousands of feet of sky to the Badwater salt flats was exhilarating. We would be arriving at our camp after a very long day, so getting hot water into our dehydrated camp meals ASAP was important. The last thousand feet to the top had drop-away views. The trail slowly winds itself up to the summit 7 … We quickly took care of camp chores and an evening meal to facilitate getting everyone to sleep early. First views of Telescope The seven mile, 3000 foot descent to Mahogany Flat the next day was a piece of cake after that feat. Add in some false summits and a roller-coaster ridgeline, and we’ll climb about 14,500 ft when it’s all done. about 80 meters The summit of Telescope Peak is at 3,367 meters of elevation. A natural spring gushes forth from the canyon’s South Fork creating a good sized creek up canyon. Climbing Telescope Peak from Badwater in Death Valley. Finally the snow was continuous enough for us to don traction and we kicked steps in the spring snowpack all the way to the ridgeline leading to Telescope’s summit. I'll sleep there again for sure. The morning went smoothly and we were starting our slow grind up the ridgelines just as dusk gave the sky a bit of light. His account of getting off course and spending an extra night out doesn’t inspire confidence. At about four o'clock in the morning we hit the trail. Overview Shuttle hike from Shorty's Well ( 253 ft below sea level ) to Telescope Peak 11,048 then down to Mahogany Campground. Therefore the hike involves an elevation gain of about 3450 meters. But we’re making short work of the Badwater segment, completing half of the six-mile crossing in about an hour. Telescope Peak viewed from Shorty's Well Fragrant desert blooms also helped relieve the sting of the hours spent walking up the featureless gravel. Death Valley Annual Pass and National Parks & Federal Recreational Lands Passes are also accepted. At 11000 feet telescope peak gives a great view of death valley. The lush valley surrounding Hanaupah Spring is the obvious place to make camp as there is not much flat ground on the route above us to Telescope Peak. First light at sunrise looking back at Badwater Basin. Telescope Peak Trail General Description A hike to the magnificent Telescope Peak is a challenging thrill ride that is sure to get your heart pumping. To the east, you’ll see Badwater Basin below you along with 11,916 foot Charleston Peak which rises above Las Vegas. Fees: $25 per vehicle to enter Death Valley National Park, valid 7 days. Few places in the country have the relief of the Panamint Range: Over 11,000 vertical feet separate the crown of Telescope Peak and Badwater Basin. But at a meager elevation of 3,700-feet, our decision to bivouac in the proximity of fresh water meant saving about 9,000-feet of climbing for tomorrow. Badwater to Telescope easily beats out the much more famous single-day grinder "Cactus to Clouds" near Palm Springs which racks up 10,400 feet in 17 miles. There are few things more demoralizing than hiking empty stretches of gravel road in the desert. “The stats. It’s the next best thing to bringing nothing. “You know it doesn’t add up,” I say to my friend Mike Barcom as we cruise the tourist-buffed flats. Add in some false summits and a roller-coaster ridgeline, and we’ll climb about 14,500 ft when it’s all done. But after escaping the breakable crust mud bog of Badwater, there isn’t too much grumbling from our team. Also take a moment to pick out Telescope Peak in the Panamint Range to the west; at 11,049 ft (3, 368 m), this peak is over two miles (3.2 km) above you. The 4x4 road starts to deteriorate farther into the canyon. What a day. Turn right onto Westside Road (dirt) and follow it to the dirt intersection of Shorty's Well and the 4x4 road of Hanaupah Canyon Road. On the summit, you’ll learn firsthand why it’s called Telescope Peak. Continue onto Badwater Road till Westside Road is reached. Also we’ve experienced that the mosquitos can be fierce around perennial springs in the desert. Telescope peak is located in Death Valley and is the highest point in Death Valley National Park. Email Floris van Breugel | + … Yet we can see the entire route while trekking across the salt flats. With four in our party, we carried the 1.8 L pot and found this plenty of capacity for our needs. Both the highest, and lowest points within Death Valley National Park Tagged: death valley, death valley national park, badwater basin, telescope peak, shortys well, Hanaupah Canyon. In April 2016, two of us decided to do the hike from Badwater Basin - the lowest point in North America (-282 feet) - to nearby 11,043 foot Telescope Peak, and we wanted to do it in one day. In April 2016, two of us decided to do the hike from Badwater Basin - the lowest point in North America (-282 feet) - to nearby 11,043 foot Telescope Peak, and we wanted to do it in one day. Telescope Peak sits 11,049 foot (3,368m) above sea level. But Telescope from badwater sounded perfect! Telescope Peak The hike to Telescope Peak starts at Mahogany Flats Campground which is only accessible via a 4 wheel drive road that is pretty tough and should not be taken lightly. After driving from San Francisco and placing one car at Mahogany Flat Campground (~8200 ft.) for an easier exit, we relaxed at Shorty's Well in Badwater Basin where we'd camp for the night. Sunset over Badwater Basin and Telescope Peak. The trail has a couple of signs and information on the plant life you will be discovering on the trip before you start on the 14 miles round trip to the summit and back. Pass Furnace Creek and continue on till Badwater Road is reached, turn right onto Badwater Road. An ascent of Telescope Peak from Badwater Basin involves gaining 11,240 feet -- the second greatest gain possible on any peak in the United States, after Mount Rainier. Shoes are tightened, trekking poles extended and packs are hefted (heavier than I had expected) as we prepare to walk out onto the flats. Telescope Peak is the highpoint of the Panamint Range, rising over 11,000 feet from Death Valley to the east, and slightly less from the Panamint Valley to the west. It’s a surreal sight to behold once you reach it; gurgling water flowing freely in this desert. In terms of tourist crowds, January and most of February are quiet months. And after all that, we still had another 1000 feet to the top. After about 1.5 miles, there’s the first view of Telescope Peak in the It belongs to the Panamint Mountains and from it's summit (on a clear day) you can see both Badwater Basin (lowest elevation in the United States) and Mount Whitney (highest elevation in … We spent an hour on the summit, taking in the 360-degree views and passing around a flask. We’ll save our selfies for up there. The vertical rise from Badwater (which is at -282 ft) to Telescope Peak is one of the greatest on the planet. This is a great day hike to enjoy a rare view of the lowest (Badwater) and highest (Telescope peak) points in Death Valley. That’s as much relief as there is between the summit of the highest peak in the Lower 48, 14,505-foot Mount Whitney , and the tiny Eastern Sierra towns lying at its foot, and between the summit of Mount Everest and its primary base camp. Reaching the summit was awesome! Looking across to the ridge which we'd make our final ascent to intersect the maintained trail to the peak from Mahogany Flats, The climb was now steep and much of the footing loose, but the views looking back just kept getting better. “It just doesn’t add up,” added Mike in his best deadpan manner. Then the salt crust starts to give way under our weight, plunging each step ankle deep in a sticky mud. Your time for the 7mi hike from the trailhead to the summit will depend on many factors, including the extent of the snow. They don’t add up for us to pull this off in an overnight,” I add. A shiny silver cooler and large tank of water sat on the tailgate with a note for “the backpackers” to help themselves. 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