Two very colorful spots along Death Valley’s Eastern border.

For Artists Ony

For Artists Only.

Artist's Drive rises up to the top of an alluvial fan fed by a deep canyon cut into the Black Mountains.

Artist’s Drive is a seven mile one-way road heading south to north that rises up to the top of an alluvial fan fed by a deep canyon cut into the Black Mountains.

Artist's Palette is on the face of the Black Mountains and is noted for having various colors of rock. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (red, pink and yellow is from iron salts, green is from decomposing tuff-derived mica, and manganese produces the purple).

Artist’s Palette is noted for having various colors of rock. These colors are caused by the oxidation of different metals (red, pink and yellow is from iron salts, green is from decomposing tuff-derived mica, and manganese produces the purple).

One of the main hikes for anyone who is thinking about visiting Death Valley needs to be the Golden Canyon Hike.

One of the main hikes for anyone who is thinking about visiting Death Valley needs to be the Golden Canyon Hike.

At a little over 2 miles, depending on where you stop, this hike gives you a great view of the unique beauty Death Valley has to offer.

The hike begins with a one-mile trek up Golden Canyon.

It has gaping canyons, huge boulders, waves of plantless rock and even a large red rock called the Red Cathedral at the end.

The canyon winds its way through huge boulders and layers of geologic history.

It is also the site where different parts of the original Star Wars movies from George Lucas were filmed.

It is also the site where different parts of the original Star Wars movies from George Lucas were filmed.

The sides of the canyon are made up of red mudstone and colorful mosaic conglomerates.

The sides of the canyon are made up of red mudstone and colorful mosaic conglomerates.

there used to be a paved road through this canyon. Almost all of the road was washed away in a flash flood in 1976, but in until a rainstorm washed it out in 1976.

There used to be a paved road that ran through it but a rainstorm washed it out in 1976.

s you make your way into the canyon, pay close attention to the rock walls surrounding you – you can see them change as you hike, from water-polished volcanic rock to the twisted and folded sedimentary rocks left over from the ancient bed of Lake Manly.

Pay close attention to the rock walls surrounding you, there’s a different view with each step you take.

Slanty

Slanty

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At about the 0.3 mile mark, you’ll start to notice some short but steep slot canyons cutting through the side walls of Golden Canyon. None of these will take you particularly far off the beaten path, but they are great little add-ons if you want to get your hands dirty or just do some basic scrambling.

There are numerous short but steep slot canyons along the hike that don’t necessarily take you anywhere but are fun to explore if you have the time.

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Since it was 108 degrees out and I had a full list of other spots I needed to hit before making it to Mammoth, I made the decision to cut my hike short. If I had the time to continue the hike, I would of been able to see Red Cathedral, Zabriskie Point, Manly Beacon, Gower Gulch, the badlands and several old mining areas that are begging to be explored. Looks like I’ll be coming back.

To get to the trailhead: From Furnace Creek, drive 2 miles south on Badwater Road and turn east (left) into the Golden Canyon parking area.

From Furnace Creek, drive 2 miles south on Badwater Road and turn east (left) into the Golden Canyon parking area where the trailhead is located.