Added by Evan Thomas
Hike a remote desert peak with plenty of solitude and sublime views. There is some class 2/3 climbing for the 6440' peak. Tack on one of the best drive-to view points around, Dante's View. The best time of year to visit is late fall to early spring.
From the Furnace Creek Inn in Death Valley, drive two miles east on the 190 to the Echo Canyon dirt road. This can be easy to miss, so use your odometer and keep your eyes peeled. Here's where the fun begins! You'll want a 4x4 with high clearance for the rest of the drive, though 4x4 may not be necessary for most of the road. Now, follow the Echo Canyon road towards the mountains, and you'll eventually enter and wind your way through Echo Canyon. Keep an eye out for the Eye of The Needle, a really neat rock formation you'll see along the way. You'll come to a for in the road roughly seven miles from the 190; stay right heading towards the Inyo Mine. Drive one or two more miles up Echo Canyon to a dead-end loop. This is where the hike starts for Schwaub Peak. You may want to check road conditions for Echo Canyon by calling Death Valley National Park or checking out Death Valley Road Conditions their Facebook page. Conditions can vary wildly from year-to-year.
The Trail for Schwaub Peak
From the parking area, continue to head up Echo Canyon on foot, which will eventually open up into a small valley. As the canyon opens, Schwaub Peak will come into view to the southeast. You'll eventually want to cut right and follow another main wash system that heads towards the peak—it's easy to miss on the way up, but very obvious on the way down. If you miss it, don't worry, just take what appears to be the flattest path towards the peak and you'll probably eventually run into the wash. As you progress along this part, keep an eye on the ridge lines ascending towards the summit. There are two or three you can choose from that look doable. These ridges eventually curve around and intersect the main summit ridge. Near the top, a really cool rock window marks the beginning of a knife-like limestone ridge. This is a really fun scramble – enjoy, you're almost there! To return, retrace your steps.
Keep your eyes peeled—coming and going— for the petroglyph site and you'll probably find it. (Some sites have gotten vandalized when they became well-known, so it's usual custom to let people have to hunt for these lesser-known, unpublished sites). If you find it, don't tell anyone where!
The Trail for Dante's View
Several more miles up the 190 is a turn off for Dante's View—it's paved all the way up to this spectacular viewpoint, which towers over 5000' of Bad Water—the lowest point in the western hemisphere. If you have a couple hours to spare, this place is really worth checking out—the views of the Milky Way at night are spectacular.
What To Eat
You're sure to be hungry after this hike and believe it, or not, Death Valley has some decent places to eat. A favorite spot is the Saloon at Stove Pipe Wells. They have a great selection of beers on tap, like some from Mammoth Brewery, and a delicious burger and fries on the menu.
- Hiking boots
- Trekking poles
- Lots of water—enough for the hike and a few spare gallons in the car.
- Some warm layers and a wind layer
- 10 Essentials
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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Added by Evan Thomas
Avid explorer of the Eastern Sierra and Mojave Desert, with the occasional road trip to more distant locales. Love to hike, climb, cycle, dirt bike and have recently gotten very much into photography, especially the night sky. Staying active and living a healthy lifestyle is basically what my wife and I are all about. Cheers, Evan. http://facebook.com/evanthomasphoto http://instagram.com/exploreabitmoreFollow
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