The Golden Canyon trail to Red Rock Cathedral is a heavily trafficked out and back hike in Death Valley National Park. This trail features stunning colorful rock formations and many smaller slot canyons that beg to be explored. You can extend your hike and take the junction for Gower Gulch if you prefer to continue exploring.
Distance: 3 miles (return)
Time: 1.5 hours
Elevation: 577 feet
Best Time To Hike: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Hiking Golden Canyon to Red Rock Cathedral
The Golden Canyon trail is a fairly flat and easy one mile hike up to Red Rock Cathedral. On the way you will see some colorful painted hills and golden sandstone rock walls. As you get closer to Red Rock Cathedral you will go up a white rocky path that will lead the way to the towering red rocks. This is where many hiker's choose to turn around although there is a trail which continues to Zabriskie Point that will add another 2.7 miles to your trip.
It was extremely hot the day we hiked and not very enjoyable. However we did not start the trail until somewhere around noon. I would advise starting the trail early in the morning if you will be visiting Death Valley in late spring or summer.
Remember, there is no shade! Make sure you bring plenty of water with you. It is a short hike but we saw many people who couldn't handle the heat… and it was only April.
Getting to Golden Canyon
The Golden Canyon trail head can be found on Badwater Road which is about 2 miles south of CA-190. There is a paved parking lot with big enough spaces to accommodate buses and RV's. If you are coming from Furnace Creek it is about 10 minutes south.