Death Valley: Mosaic Canyon

HikeSnobs rate this: 1.5thumb


Visited: April 13, 2014 & September 5, 2015

Description: A quick hike to a beautiful marbled canyon

Length: 4 miles round trip

Duration: 1.5 hours

Elevation: 750 feet

Terrain: Dirt, gravel terrain

Wildlife: Snakes, scorpions & apparently bighorn sheep (we didn’t see any though)

Pets: Not allowed

Difficulty: Easy to moderate

Parking: Lot (36.571915, -117.144429)

Best time to go: Anytime but avoid going when it’s really hot

Bring: Water, camera, sunscreen

If you are more of a geology snob than a #hikesnob, Mosaic Canyon is a perfect place to visit. Historically claimed as an “outdoor museum,” Mosaic Canyon provides an accessible trail with beautiful geological displays. The trailhead is 1/4 mile west of the Stovepipe Wells area. Look out for the sign and take the 2 mile dirt gravel road to the parking lot.

The beginning of the trail is completely uncovered and pretty rocky. If you plan on going on a hot day like we did, make sure you bring some water. As the sun began to beat down on us, we were beginning to lose interest in the trail.


To keep ourselves entertained, we did a little climbing up the side of the canyon to make things more interesting. When in doubt, get a different perspective… literally. 1/4 mile into the our hike, we reached the beginning of the narrow canyons.


This is definitely the most exciting part of the hike. The white marbleized canyon completely surrounds you. The expansive rock walls felt smooth to the touch. We couldn’t help but run our hands along the trail as we continued forward.


These canyons formed millions of years ago, when a system of cracks, better known as faults, developed within the area. Water running through these faults have shaped the canyon to what you see today.


After hiking a little over a mile, the canyon opens up. This is the top of the lower canyon where most people end their trip.


This is also a good spot to relax in the shade and also make a slide out of the marble flooring (That’s what Alice did!).


There is a little bit of rock scrambling in this section to climb up towards the next section of the hike but it is fairly easy.


We hiked up a bit further. The next part of the trail is uncovered and the heat creeps up on you. It was getting even hotter, the surroundings were less interesting for us non-geology snobs, so we opted to turn back. To the next adventure we go!

@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • Please refrain from rock collecting, all geological features are protected by the law.

Comments? Questions? Suggestions? Leave us a message below!

2 thoughts on “Death Valley: Mosaic Canyon

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