Badlands Loop offers a great immersion into the terrain beneath Zabriskie Point in Death Valley National Park. This 2.5-mile hike is all badlands. Anyone who hiked the Golden Canyon – Gower Gulch Loop and enjoyed the middle section of the trek will love the Badlands Loop.
The trail starts down an obvious gully just north of the Zabriskie Point parking lot. The gully expands as it descends, gradually leading hikers into a major artery of Gower Gulch. About half a mile in, a sign marks the start of the circular part of the loop. To the right, the trail climbs out of the wash and up a badlands slope. To the left, the trail continues into Gower Gulch.
The loop is easiest to follow by turning to the right. March up the dried mudstone and the views of the badlands widen. Manly Beacon and Red Cathedral appear over waves of orange mudstone. The trail puts hikers right in the center of this arid terrain.
Borax, called white gold by miners, was mined extensively in this region in the 1880s and many mines shafts remain. The Badlands Loop descends a divide past several abandoned Borax mines. They are unstable and not for exploration.
The footpath continues down the badlands, eventually depositing onto a large wash at a marked junction with the Golden Canyon – Gower Gulch Trail.
To complete the second half of the Badlands Loop, turn left and follow the wash down to a merger with the wide gravelly mega-drainage known as Gower Gulch. Turn left again and follow Gower Gulch uphill toward Zabriskie Point.
Those who prefer to trek across a bit more of the badlands may cut the corner above the confluence.
Follow the main channel of Gower Gulch as it curves to the left, leading back to the sign marking the top of the loop. From here, follow the same gully back up the trailhead.
To get to Zabriskie Point: From Furnace Creek, drive southeast on Highway 109 for 4 miles. Turn right into the parking lot for Zabriskie Point.
Trailhead address: Zabriskie Point Road, Death Valley National Park, Death Valley, CA 92328
Trailhead coordinates: 36.420834, -116.809798 (36° 25′ 15.00″N 116° 48′ 35.27″W)
|Golden Canyon – Gower Gulch Loop|
This 4-mile loop visits stunning terrain in the badlands region near Furnace Creek.
Zabriskie Point offers a stunning panorama of the badlands near Furnace Creek.
|Twenty Mule Team Canyon|
This 2.8-mile one way road is just up the road from Zabriskie Point. The fine canyon that can be experienced right from the driver’s seat.
Explore more destinations in Death Valley National Park.
|Death Valley Campgrounds|
There are nine campgrounds spread throughout this large park to facilitate your visit.