The Mosaic Canyon trail is a popular hike up a narrow, polished marble-walled canyon that requires some scrambling of rock walls. The trail narrows and widens numerous times and there are enough obstacles to keep you interested until you reach the end.
Mosaic Canyon is a geological art gallery filled with irregularly shaped fragments of tan-colored Noonday dolomite, sandy matrix and lime cement that creates complex murals in the canyon walls. In some places the dolomite has transformed into marble by heat and pressure.
Distance: 4 miles
Time: 2 hours
Elevation: 750 feet
Best Time To Hike: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Hiking Mosaic Canyon
This out and back hike starts by walking through a narrow, smooth, marble slot canyon. As you can see below in the photo's, this section of the trail is very impressive.
After 0.5 miles the canyon opens up to a wide gravel wash. The mountains on either side are painted in brilliant shades of bright orange, burgandy and green. This is where many hiker's will turn around, especially if the weather is very warm.
If you only have one day in Death Valley then you should turn around here and try to see some other area's of the park, but if you have time in your schedule then keep hiking to the end of the trail. It’s about to get more fun!
From the open gravel wash you can continue for around another 1.5 miles to the end of the trail. This is where the hike gets a little more fun and requires some scrambling up polished marble walls (which can be a little slippery) and getting around and through obstacles such as large boulders and even narrower canyon walls.
You will eventually come to a steep wall which is the end of the hike. For those of you who are curious cats, you can actually scale the wall and go a little bit further but not a lot further.
Getting to Mosaic Canyon
Mosaic Canyon is about two miles from the Stovepipe Wells Village. There is a decent sized parking area but the road out is not paved and the drive is bumpy. However a regular vehicle can easily make the drive. From the parking lot it is a quarter mile to the trail head. At the trail head you can see a map of Mosaic Canyon on the sign post.