Death Valley has hundreds of miles of backcountry dirt roads and 4x4 trails to explore and enjoy. Here you'll find descriptions, maps and trail reports to consult in planning your trip.
(17.5 miles to old monument boundary)
From Teakettle Junction the road becomes rougher and high clearance is required. At the junction 3.2 miles in, the left fork (NE) continues 10 miles to White Top Mountain. The right fork leads one mile up to the Lost Burro Mine. The main road continues through Hidden Valley passing several abandoned mining areas on the way to Hunter Mountain. From here it is another 23 miles to Hwy. 190. (4x4 required to drive over Hunter Mountain). Note that during winter months, the route over Hunter Mountain is frequently impassable due to snow and ice.
This road is considered to be one of the wildest ride in the Park. It decends from the southern Racetrack Valley to the Saline Valley Road, nine miles from the South Pass via Grapevine Canyon. Often impassable to most vehicles, the Lippencott Road is ominously well-signed TRAVEL AT YOUR OWN RISK! Since last graded around '97 storm waters have been up to their old tricks, causing deep washouts and gullies. This steep, windy, cliff-crawler is easiest travelled downhill and best travelled with other vehicles. If not already obvious, a high clearance 4x4 is required.
(Approx. 9 miles from Death Valley/Big Pine Road; 25 miles for loop via The Narrows; 65 miles from Big Pine to Independence via Badger Flats & Mazourka Canyon)
From Death Valley/Big Pine Road trail immediately splits into 9S15 to Papoose Flats and 9S14 to The Narrows. Take 9S15 up and over west side of Andrews Mountain. Low range is required up the long, steep ascent, and street tires are not recommended. Descend south into Papoose Flats marked by several granite outcroppings scattered across the large flat plateau.
(28 miles, or more with side trips)
The ghost town of Ballerat serves as the anchor point for this loop trail, the upper elevations of which are within Death Valley National Park. Trail conditions change periodically, worsening with bad weather, and improving with regular use. Traveling the entire loop is an all day activity; allow a minimum of six hours for this trip.
If ascending Pleasant Canyon, expect the fun to begin about five miles up the road, which heads east straight behind Ballerat. Here the trail joins the riparian streambed made of wet soccer-ball sized rocks and occasional granite steps. At times the vegetation is quite thick in one's windshield, limiting visibility to only a few feet. This stretch is nearly a half mile long, concluding with a stair step that for some requires the help of a strap. High clearance is most helpful here.