Zabriskie Point Trail
One of the iconic spots in Death Valley National Park is Zanbriskie Point. From the viewpoint, you can see the mounds that remind me of strawberry and vanilla ice cream swirls. It’s an amazing view of a very unique landscape. You don’t have to settle on just this wonderful view, you can also hike this unique landscape. The trail is six miles up and back and I would rate it as a moderate hike because of the uphill portion on upon the return.
The trailhead is to the right of the parking lot, look for the sign post. The first half mile is a downhill portion through a small canyon. This will take you down to a dry creek bed that has turned black from the heat of the sun. Here, look to your right and you’ll see a directional sign that will direct you up the hill. This is the start of the amazing mounds you saw from the viewpoint. The trail mostly consist of this amazing landscape.
You can see a portion of Badwater Basin from here and Manly Beacon to your right. It’s a pointy peak you can’t miss and will be a point of reference throughout the hike. The trail will take you toward this beacon as it raps around it as you make your way to Golden Canyon. At this point, you’ll notice the hills to the right have taken on a darker hue.
It’s the start of the Golden Canyon and the strawberry swirl transforms to more of a chocolate appearance. The trail connects to the Golden Canyon Trail and you can take this down to the parking lot of the canyon and the trailhead. This would considerably lengthen your hike. Some use two cars leaving one at the Golden Canyon trailhead. I chose to just do the Zanbriskie Point trail and made way back to the trailhead. This is where it gets a little challenging. You have to go back up the trail that you so easily traversed as it was downhill.
The path winds up the trail along side Manly Beacon and up the mounds you so happily hiked earlier. As you advance, you’ll see the viewpoint high up on the hill and you can get a gage of how much further you have to hike and what kind of elevation you’ll have to endure. At this point, it’s a gradual climb so I wouldn’t worry to much about it.
It’s a lightly trafficked trail and I was worried about the trail condition and getting lost. It’s actually well worn and there are trail markers along the route.
On my first visit, I didn’t have the opportunity to hike this trail as we visited during the beautiful sunset period. It was my priority for this trip and I’m so glad I had the opportunity to do the trail. It was like roaming around a different planet, a movie set for a Mars film. I would love to hike the trail again and I look forward to my next visit to Death Valley.