• Activities:

    Chillin, Photography, Snowshoeing, Hiking

  • Skill Level:

    Intermediate

  • Season:

    Spring, Summer, Autumn

  • Trail Type:

    Out-and-Back

  • RT Distance:

    14 Miles

  • Elevation Gain:

    3000 Feet

Forest
Romantic
Scenic
Wildflowers

Telescope Peak is the highest point in Death Valley National Park standing at 11,049 ft. The peak offers an unforgettable view of the lowest point in the Continental United States, 11,000ft below! 

The trail starts at Mahogany Flat campground which can be hiked to from the Charcoal Kilns to the north or more immediately accessible via 4WD on a dirt access road - use caution when driving this road in icy conditions.

Once at the Mahogany Flat Campground, the trailhead is towards the south and is marked by a sign and trail post. Continue south through a densely forested eastface (warm in morning, shady and cold on a return evening hike). The trail eventually begins to gradually switchback, though the majority of the trek follows long stretches of panoramic vistas along a sparsley covered ridgeline. 

Hiking along the east of the ridgeline, you pass by (but not over) Rodgers and Bennett Peaks within the first couple of hours at a moderate pace. The forest thins and for the remainder of the trek you are exposed to potentially high winds and the raw elements. If not already required, this open landscape in the winter often requires a readily accessible ice axe and crampons or snow shoes. If trail is covered in snow, recommend hiking as close to ridgeline to avoid walking on a slant of a mountain face (speaking from experience). 

The final mile is dotted with twisted, gnarled, and otherworldly bristlecone pines that provide an amazing prelude to the vast horizon in the background. You now are face to face with a prominently steeper ridgeline that stands between you and the summit. It looks more harrowing from a distance. The only concern once on the final approach is of course unstable footing in less than ideal weather conditions.

The paramount view is well worth it! An 11,000 foot view of the lowest point on the continental United States below. This hike can range in difficulty depending on weather conditions. Hiking in the snow adjusts the required mountaineering skills from Be to Advanced. In winter conditions, particularly along the steep mountain faces and final ridge ascent, mountaineering can be tricky, therefore consider the use of ice axes and crampons. 

Pack List

  • Backpacking Kit (adjusted to the season)
  • Cold Weather Clothes (Telescope Peak can be cold)
  • Crampons (Winter only)
  • Ice Axe (Winter Only)
  • Snowshoes (winter only)
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Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph. Learn More

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Mike Quine Storyteller

...a year long journey through the American landscape of our National Parks. Disengaged from societal pursuits to set out alone and face the uncertainty guaranteed by the Wilderness. Hardening both hands and mind through tempered resolve.

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