by Johnathan Behr
has an embarrassing amount of spectacular scenery and hiking.
From Yosemite to the Redwoods, this state has been blessed with
unbelievable natural beauty. Far too often though, hikers neglect
California's desert in favor of it's mountains and forests.
For mind-blowing, out of this world scenery try the hike up
Golden Canyon to Zabriske Point in Death Valley National Park.
This excursion easily ranks, as one of the state's most exotic
landscapes and best day-hikes to do. That's no surprise if you've
been to Death Valley. The park is chock full of amazing geological
features like the Racetrack, Devils Golfcourse and Artist's
Palette to name just a few, but a late afternoon hike up Golden
Canyon to the foot of Manly Beacon reveals the park's most arresting
scenery in this humble hiker's opinion. The mudstone badlands
and the hike's scenic highlight majestic Red Cathedral and Manly
Beacon, literally glow in the last light of the day. If you
plan your hike accordingly, the views you'll have along the
way will be awe-inspiring! Trust me; bring a camera for this
hike. The scenery is magical, almost like you're on Mars! You'll
be kicking yourself if you've left it behind. The sensuous curves
of the barren, vegetation-free badlands are ideal for cross-country
hiking and exploration. Numerous use trails lead off the main
path to interesting side canyons and up the mudstone badlands
where you'll be rewarded with outstanding views of Death Valley
proper and the lofty Panamint Mountains to the east. Towering
Manly Beacon and the richly colored Red Cathedral are viewed
magnificently from the trail, far better than just driving up
to Zabriske Point. This is one of California's most unusual
and scenic hikes. Don't miss it!
your hike at the Golden Cayon.
You'll start walking up a narrow slot canyon/dry wash that has
seen severe erosion from summer thunderstorms, which are quite
common in Death Valley. In fact, you will be walking over the
remnants of the old road that went up Golden Canyon to Manly
Beacon. Thankfully, Mother Nature reclaimed this canyon with
a torrential flash flood some years ago giving it back to the
hikers! There is an interpretive trail guide available at the
parking area for Golden Cyn. You can use it along the well-marked
path to Zabriske Point. You can refer back to the guide during
the hike for info on the canyon's unique geological features,
which the numbered display makers along the way highlight in
tandem with the guide. The narrow canyon will open up and you'll
get your first view of Manly Beacon. The trail will begin climbing
as you pass Red Cathedral and go right underneath Manly Beacon.
From there you will see your turnaround point, Zabriske Point,
in the distance. Just keep on the trail and you will gain more
outstanding views of Manly Beacon, The Panamint Mountains and
the badlands as you make your way to Zabriske Point. Once at
the Point, soak up the view and return the way you came.