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Steve, Katherine, and Norah | profile | all galleries >> Death Valley National Park 2014 >> Mosaic Canyon tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Mosaic Canyon

With a hike through Gower Gulch and Golden Canyon and visits to Natural Bridge and Badwater, Monday was already a pretty terrific day. But we thought we could fit in one more thing. So we drove to Stovepipe Wells and up the short gravel road to the Mosaic Canyon trailhead for a hike in Mosaic Canyon. We hiked about three miles round trip; turning around at the dryfall at the end of the second narrows.

It was easy to see why this is a popular hike in Death Valley. Upon entering the canyon you are immediately in fantastic narrows carved through white marble. Also present is the colorful mosaic rock called breccia (small rocks and fragments in natural cement) that gives the canyon its name. The Hiking Death Valley book says a major flood occurs every other decade that fills the narrow channel with gravel and mud, which takes several years to be removed by minor storms. Prior to the major flood in 1970 the narrows were much deeper and a railing with metal steps was installed to aid hikers around a major fall in the narrows. This explains the metal chain we saw bolted in the narrows - we could not figure out why it was there.

It is about a mile of walking through the first narrows and an open wash to reach the second narrows. There are a few minor obstacles to negotiate as the narrows twist and turn through fascinating rock. The second narrows end at a 18 foot dryfall, which can be bypassed to continue up the canyon. As it was later in the day we turned around here and retraced our steps out of the canyon. Mosaic Canyon was a fantastic hike!
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