Canyoneering Route Description List:
Death Valley National Park, California.

Gnome-Basic.

Weather Forecast - (Furnace Creek area)

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Sunrise / Moonrise

 SunriseSunsetMap.com   Almanac.com

Other Canyon Beta Sites

Chris Brennen's Site

Area Contact Info

Death Valley Visitor Center - (760) 786-3200.  Ranger Station. - (760) 786-3282.

Death Valley NPS

Rick Kent has spent a lot of time exploring the possible canyon routes in Death Valley and has recently (as of 2010) led many first descents down canyons.  I have been fortunate enough to have been invited on a few of those trips.  A huge thank you goes out to Rick for opening so many new routes in Death Valley for canyoneers to explore.  Next to some of the canyons listed here you will see an RK indicating Rick is largely if not completely responsible for the first descent of the canyon.

ATTENTION!!
Death Valley is considering a new permit system in response to the impact of the growing popularity of Canyoneering.
Lets continue to show the park just how respectful we can be to our environment.

Specific issues the park is concerned about:
1. Anchors: Bolting is Illegal in Death Valley National Park! Do Not Add Bolts. Natural anchor options are abundant.
Recent illegal bolts have popped up in Helios and Rainbow Canyons.
2. Poop: Dig a cathole at least 6 inches deep and 200 yards from any water source or campsite. Pack out all toilet paper.
3. Collecting fire wood is illegal, just don't do it!

Other basics:
Avoid walking in water when possible (Willow Canyon, etc). Hike on durable surfaces and previously worn paths (avoid trampling vegetation or fragile soil crusts). Pack out all trash including organic material (including seed shells, apple cores, orange peels, etc). More info can be found here: http://www.nps.gov/deva/planyourvisit/backcamp.htm

Lets keep this wonderful resource pristine so that we may continue to enjoy the canyons with limited regulations!

Panamint Springs Area

Darwin Falls Canyon - 3B II

Loop Route on foot from Lower Trailhead

Time Required - 4 to 6 hours
Distance - 3.3 miles Total, 0.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 2 Rappels, Longest Rappel 110 feet.
Elevation Range for loop option on foot - 3450 - 2500 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - None Permit Required - No

Top Down from China Garden using a Shuttle Vehicle.

Time Required - 3 to 4.5 hours
Distance - 2.1 miles Total, 0.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 2 Rappels, Longest Rappel 110 feet.
Elevation Range for shuttle option - 3120 - 2500 Feet
Shuttle Required - Yes 4.7 Miles Vehicle - High Clearance or 4WD depending on road conditions Permit Required - No

Rainbow Canyon - 3A I

Time Required - 3 to 4 hours
Distance - 2.2 miles Total, 0.7 miles Technical
Rappels - 3 Rappels, Longest Rappel 150 feet.
Elevation Range - 4600 - 3860 Feet
Shuttle Required - Optional 0.3 miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Stovepipe Wells Area

Grotto Canyon - Layer Fork - 4 A III

Time Required - 7 to 9 hours
Distance - 5.7 miles Total, 2.3 miles Technical
Rappels - 12 Rappels, Longest Rappel 115 feet.
Elevation Range - 680 - 3380 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD if bad road conditions Permit Required - No

Grotto Canyon - Not So Much Fork - 3 A III

Time Required - 6 to 8 hours
Distance - 5.5 miles Total, 2.1 miles Technical
Rappels - 2  to 4 Rappels, Longest Rappel 110 feet.
Elevation Range - 680 - 3380 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD if bad road conditions Permit Required - No

Cottonwood Mountain Area

Buttercup Canyon - 3 A III

Time Required - 7.5 to 9.5 hours
Distance - 6.1 miles Total, 0.3 miles Technical
Rappels - 6 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Elevation Range - 210 - 1790 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD Permit Required - No

Cliffs of Insanity Canyon - 4 A III

Time Required - 7.5 to 9.5 hours
Distance - 5.2 miles Total, 0.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 6 Rappels, Longest Rappel 250 feet.
Elevation Range - 255 - 1960 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD  Permit Required - No

Fire Swamp Canyon - 4A III

Time Required - 6 to 8 hours
Distance - 5.5 miles Total, 0.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 6 Rappels, Longest Rappel 185 feet.
Elevation Range - 255 - 1960 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD Permit Required - No

Humperdinck Canyon - 3 A III

Time Required - 5. 5 to 7.5 Hours
Distance - 5.6 miles Total, 0.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 7 Rappels, Longest Rappel 40 feet.
Elevation Range - 210 - 1440 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD Permit Required - No

Inconceivable Canyon - 4 A III

Time Required - 7 to 9 hours
Distance - 6.6 miles Total, 0.7 miles Technical
Rappels - 7 Rappels, Longest Rappel 285 feet.
Elevation Range - 210 - 1860 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD Permit Required - No

Miracle Max Canyon - 3A III

Time Required - 6 to 8 hours
Distance - 9.0 miles Total, 0.6 miles Technical
Rappels - 4 Rappels, Longest Rappel 150 feet.
Elevation Range - 210 - 2050 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD Permit Required - No

Pit of Despair Canyon - 4A (B) III

Time Required - 6 to 8 hours
Distance - 5.9 miles Total, 0.6 miles Technical
Rappels - 8 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Elevation Range - 255 - 1960 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - High Clearance, 4WD Permit Required - No

Black Mountain Area

Abysmal Canyon - 3A III or IV
RK

Bottom up starting from the Natural Bridge trailhead.

South Fork **Preferred Route
Time Required - 9 to 11.5 hours
Distance - 5.2 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 22 Rappels, Longest Rappel 250 feet.
Elevation Range - 100 - 3400 Feet
Shuttle Required - No  Vehicle - Passenger

North Fork
Time Required
- 8.5 to 11 hours
Distance - 4.3 miles Total, 1.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 19 Rappels, Longest Rappel 250 feet.
Elevation Range - 100 - 2870 Feet
Shuttle Required - No  Vehicle - Passenger

Top down starting from Dante's View.

South Fork
Time Required
- 10.5 to 13 hours
Distance - 8 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 22 Rappels, Longest Rappel 250 feet.
Elevation Range - 5700 to -255 below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 37.8 miles all pavement  Vehicle - Passenger

North Fork
Time Required
- 10 to 12 hours
Distance - 8.4 miles Total, 1.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 19 Rappels, Longest Rappel 250 feet.
Elevation Range - 5700 to -255 below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 37.8 miles all pavement  Vehicle - Passenger

Bad Canyon - 3A III

From Badwater road up.
Time Required
- 10 to 12 hours
Distance - 7.6 miles Total, 2.8 miles Technical
Rappels - 11 Rappels, Longest Rappel 180 feet.
Elevation Range - 3815 to -280 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required - No   Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

From Dante's View down.
Time Required
- 9 to 11 hours
Distance - 6.3 miles Total, 2.8 miles Technical
Rappels - 11 Rappels, Longest Rappel 180 feet.
Elevation Range - 5680 to -280 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes  40.6  Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Blacksmith Canyon - 3A III or IV

Time Required - 10 to 12 hours
Distance - 10.8 miles Total, 4 miles Technical
Rappels - 11 Rappels, Longest Rappel 115 feet.
Elevation Range - -120 feet below sea level to 3660 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Brimstone Canyon - North Fork 2 - 3A IV
RK

Time Required - 10 to 13 hours
Distance - 7.9 miles Total, 2.6 miles Technical
Rappels - 14 Rappels, Longest Rappel 100 feet.
Elevation Range - 4025 thru -200 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 20.9 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Brimstone Canyon - South Fork - 3A IV
RK

Time Required - 10.5 to 12.5 hours
Distance - 8.5 miles Total, 2.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 12 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Elevation Range - 4220 to -200 Feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 23.3 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Cerberus Canyon - North Fork - 4A IV
RK

Time Required - 10 to 12 hours
Distance - 3.8 miles Total, 3.1 miles Technical
Rappels - 27 Rappels, Longest Rappel 270 feet.
Elevation Range - 5280 through -260 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 26.8 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Cerberus Canyon - South Fork - 4A IV

Time Required - 10 to 13 hours
Distance - 4.3 miles Total, 2.7 miles Technical  1.6
Rappels - 29 Rappels, Longest Rappel 270 feet.
Elevation Range - 5280 through -260 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 26.8 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Charon Canyon - 3A IV

Time Required - 9 to 12 hours
Distance - 4.1 miles Total, 1.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 17 Rappels, Longest Rappel 145 feet.
Elevation Range - -265 feet below sea - 2920 Feet
Shuttle Required - No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Coffin Canyon - 3A II

Time Required - 5 to 7 hours
Distance - 3.7 miles Total, 1.2 miles Technical
Rappels - 5 Rappels, Longest Rappel 190 feet.
Elevation Range - -260 feet below sea level - 1675 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Deimos Canyon - 3A IV

Full Route

Time Required - 9 to 12 hours
Distance - 3.4 miles Total, 1.2 miles Technical
Rappels - 17 Rappels, Longest Rappel 125 feet.
Elevation Range - -265 feet below sea level - 2570 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Sneak Route

Time Required - 3 to 5 hours
Distance - 3.4 miles Total, 1.2 miles Technical
Rappels - 6 Rappels, Longest Rappel 125 feet.
Elevation Range - -265 feet below sea level - 830 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Erebus Canyon - 3A III or IV
RK

Time Required - 10 to 12 hours
Distance - 7.0 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 20 Rappels, Longest Rappel 145 feet.
Shuttle Required -Yes 38 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No
Elevation Range - 5700 thru -235 Feet below Sea Level

Forge Canyon - 3A III (IV)
RK

Time Required - 9.5 to 11.5 hours
While the canyon itself is rate a III, a long shuttle is required making this a long day.
Distance - 7.9 miles Total, 3.8 miles Technical
Rappels - 13 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Elevation Range - 5500 - 180 Feet Below Sea Level
Shuttle Required -Yes 47 Miles Vehicle - Passenger - 4WD - High Clearance Permit Required - No
23 miles of the shuttle are dirt road. A high clearance vehicle may make the drive just fine.
There are a couple of spots where 4WD may be needed if the road conditions are bad.

Foundry Canyon South Fork - 3A III
RK

Time Required - 8 to 10 hours
While the canyon itself is rate a III, a long shuttle is required making this a long day.
Distance - 7.3 miles Total, 4.6 miles Technical
Rappels - 15 Rappels, Longest Rappel 280 feet.
Big raps can be bypassed and only 200 foot ropes used.  See route description.
Elevation Range - 4960 - 165 Feet Below Sea Level
Shuttle Required -Yes 48.6 Miles Vehicle - 4WD - High Clearance Permit Required - No
23 miles of the shuttle are dirt road. A high clearance vehicle may make the drive just fine.
There are a couple of spots where 4WD may be needed if the road conditions are bad.

Hades Canyon - 3A IV

From Badwater road up.
Time Required
- 11 to 13 hours
Distance - 6.9 miles Total, 2.3 miles Technical
Rappels - 14 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Longest vertical rap is 185 feet.  The 200 feet is for the rap with the longest rope travel as it drops over stages.
Elevation Range - 3815 to -255 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required - No   Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

From Dante's View down.
Time Required
- 10 to 12 hours
Distance - 6.1 miles Total, 2.3 miles Technical
Rappels - 14 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Longest vertical rap is 185 feet.  The 200 feet is for the rap with the longest rope travel as it drops over stages.
Elevation Range - 5680 to -255 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes  41  Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Hades Canyon Dante's Variation route - 4A IV
RK

Time Required - 12 to 14 hours
Distance - 3.6 miles Total, 2.8 miles Technical
1.0 miles technical for the Dante’s Variation and 1.8 miles of technical to finish the remainder of Hades Proper.
Rappels - 27 Rappels, Longest Rappel 200 feet.
Longest vertical rap is 185 feet.  The 200 feet is for the rap with the longest rope travel as it drops over stages.
Elevation Range - 5680 - -255 feet below sea level.
Shuttle Required -Yes 41 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

14 rappels are in the alternate entry route from Dante’s Variation route down into Hades Canyon. 
13 more rappels are down canyon in Hades from where the alternate route joins Hades proper. 
This gives a total of 27 rappels for the entire route.

Helios Canyon - 3A I
RK

Time Required - 5 to 6 hours
Distance - 2.0 miles Total, 0.7 miles Technical
Rappels - 9 Rappels, Longest Rappel 170 feet.
Elevation Range -
-250 feet below sea level thru 1695 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No
SHORT ROUTE OPTION...... See General Comments for a shorter more bang for the buck version
Route would be about 4 hours, 6 raps to 160 feet and cover the best part of the canyon.

Hellfire Canyon (Main Fork) - 3A V
RK

Time Required - 11 to 13.5 hours
Distance - 9.6 miles Total, 4.3 miles Technical
Rappels - 18 Rappels, Longest Rappel 160 feet.
Elevation Range - -190 Below Sea Level - 4980 Feet
Shuttle Required -Yes 25.1 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Kakos Canyon - 3A II
RK

Time Required - 4 to 6 hours
Distance - 2.0 miles Total, 0.6 miles Technical
Rappels - 6 Rappels, Longest Rappel 150 feet.
Elevation Range - 1320 to -250 feet below sea level.
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Lower Natural Bridge Canyon - 3A III
RK

Time Required - 9 to 12 hours
Distance - 3.8 miles Total, 1.3 miles Technical
Rappels - 11 Rappels, Longest Rappel 105 feet.
Elevation Range - 390 - 2870 Feet
Shuttle Required - No  Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Upper Natural Bridge Canyon - 3A IV (length depends on exit)

Time Required - 10 to 14 hours
Distance - (using Lower Natural Bridge as the exit) - 7.3 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
0.6 tech miles in Upper Natural Bridge
1.3 tech miles in Lower Natural Bridge
Rappels - 21 Rappels, Longest Rappel 105 feet.
Elevation Range - 390 - 5480 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Purgatory Canyon North Fork - 3A III or IV
RK

Time Required - 10 to 13 hours
Distance - 7.1 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 17 Rappels, Longest Rappel 120 feet.
Elevation Range - 5700 - 255 feet below sea level Feet
Shuttle Required -Yes 37.8 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Scorpion Canyon - 3A II

Time Required - 3 to 6 hours
Distance - 4.6 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 7 Rappels, Longest Rappel 150 feet.
Elevation Range - 1845 - 50 Feet below sea level
Shuttle Required - Yes 10.9 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Sidewinder Canyon - 3A III
RK

Time Required - 7 to 10 hours
Distance - 6.0 miles Total, 1.0 miles Technical
Rappels - 9 Rappels, Longest Rappel 140 feet.   - Anchor for longest rap set back about 25 feet so 165 feet of rope will be needed.
Elevation Range - -210 feet below sea level thru 2860 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Shoestring Canyon - 3A III
RK

Time Required - 9 to 10 hours
Distance - 7 miles Total, 3.8 miles Technical
Rappels - 11Rappels, Longest Rappel 140 feet.
Elevation Range - 5300 - -220 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 51.8 Miles (half paved half dirt)  Vehicle - High Clearance (4WD if roads are bad) Permit Required - No

Styx Canyon - 3A III
RK for the North Fork

North Fork
Time Required
- 9 to 11 hours
Distance - 6.4 miles Total, 4.4 miles Technical
Rappels - 16 Rappels, Longest Rappel 105 feet.
Elevation Range - 5280 - -170 below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 44.1 miles all pavement  Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required- No

South Fork
Time Required
- 9 to 10 hours
Distance - 7.5 miles Total, 4.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 14 Rappels, Longest Rappel 100 feet.  One of these raps is in the upper Coffin Canyon as part of the approach.
Elevation Range - 5170 - -170 below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 44.1 miles all pavement  Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required- No

Typhon Canyon - South Fork - 3A III or IV
RK

Time Required - 9 to 11 hours
Distance - 6.6 miles Total, 2.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 18 Rappels, Longest Rappel 185 feet.
Longest vertical rap is 100 feet.  The 185 feet is for the rap with the longest rope travel as it drops over stages.
Elevation Range - 5700 - -200 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 38.2 miles  Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Typhon Canyon - Middle South Fork - 3A IV
RK

Time Required - 10 to 13 hours
Distance - 6.4 miles Total, 2.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 18 Rappels, Longest Rappel 185 feet.
Longest vertical rap is 100 feet.  The 185 feet is for the rap with the longest rope travel as it drops over stages.
Elevation Range - 5700 - -200 feet below sea level
Shuttle Required -Yes 38.2 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Vinegaroon Canyon - 3A II

Time Required - 4 to 7 hours
Distance - 5.4 miles Total, 1.9 miles Technical
Rappels - 5 Rappels, Longest Rappel 85 feet.
Elevation Range - 1870 - 50 feet below sea level Feet
Shuttle Required - Yes 10.9 Miles Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No

Willow Canyon - 3B III

Time Required - 6 to 8 hours
Distance - 4.6 miles Total, 1.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 11 Rappels, Longest Rappel 90 feet.
Elevation Range - 2640 - 220 feet Below sea level Feet
Shuttle Required -Yes 56.5 Miles Vehicle - 4WD - High Clearance Permit Required - No
23 miles of the shuttle are dirt road.  A high clearance vehicle may make the drive just fine. 
There are a couple of spots where 4WD may be needed if the road conditions are bad.

Wretched Canyon - 3A III
RK

Time Required - 7 to 8 hours
Distance - 2.5 miles Total, 0.5 miles Technical
Rappels - 8 Rappels, Longest Rappel 50 feet.
Elevation Range - -235 feet below sea level - 1320 Feet
Shuttle Required -No Vehicle - Passenger Permit Required - No