Death Valley: Titus Canyon

HikeSnobs rate this: 2.5thumb

Location: 

Visited: September 5, 2015

Description: Narrow one way dirt road, last 2 miles on the west end of the canyon is a two-way road.

Length: 27 mile road

Duration: 2-3 hours

Elevation: 5,250 feet

Terrain: Gravel road

Difficulty: Easy, if you have the right car

Best time to go: When weather permits, summer is not recommended.

Bring: 2WD high clearance recommended. 4WD may be needed after adverse weather conditions and if you are attempting the one way road.


The last time we were in Death Valley, we didn’t have enough time to explore Titus Canyon. We made sure we weren’t going to make the same mistake on our second trip!

Titus Canyon has just about everything —colorful rock formations, beautiful jagged mountains, petroglyphs even a ghost town! To top it off, this 27 mile scenic road ends with impressive canyon narrows! Visitors often include a stop at Rhyolite ghost town before starting the one-way drive onto Titus Canyon. This canyon can get pretty busy. It is considered one of the most popular back-country road in the entire park. Luckily for us, we were the only ones there the whole time.

Right after leaving Rhyolite, we took a right onto Nevada Highway 374 (Daylight Pass Road) and drove 2.3 miles until we spotted the dirt turn off on the right that would lead us to Titus Canyon Road. We head west across Amargosa Valley and climb into the Grapevine Mountains.

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As you continue into the canyon, you’ll see colorful rock deposits which contain fossil beds 30-35 million years old. The drive isn’t too bad. We let Linda’s newly licensed sister, Megan, drive and she did great! A car with power definitely helps with the hills and the gravelly road.

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Along the drive, you’ll enter the ghost town of Leadfield. There’s not much here… This town thrived for less than a year in 1926-1927. All that remains today are some crumbling shacks and old mines. Many of the mines are open and you can technically go inside but be very careful. The mines contain loose rocks, unexpected vertical shafts and animals.

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Not far from Leadfield, you’ll hit the beginning of Titus Canyon. HikeSnobs figured it was the perfect time to get out and on top of Dora (our car, of course) for a ride. We just wanted to get a better look at the limestone cliffs and hopefully spot some bighorn sheep.

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Into the canyon, we go!

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Be careful of narrow paths because you might hurt your car, or your head if you’re riding on the roof 😀

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Tired of riding on the roof of the car, the HikeSnobs took a seat on the edge of Dora. The canyon is so much better OUTSIDE of the car, with a little danger on the side.

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As you drive further in, the canyon walls narrow to less than 20 feet apart in some areas.

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And then you’re out and done!

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Titus Canyon is a fun drive and adventure for everyone. It’s not for those who wish to do some extreme off-roading but it’s worth exploring and seeing the scenery. Get out there!


@HikeSnobs Tips:

  • If you explore the mines, bring a canary ;P
  • The canyon is not patrolled frequently so make sure you and your car are ready for the drive. Or just take the two-way drive on the west side of Titus Canyon.

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

3 thoughts on “Death Valley: Titus Canyon

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