THING TO DO

Running in Death Valley

A woman running along a dirt road in a diverse desert setting.

Death Valley can be a very interesting and extreme place to take a run! Limited in maintained trails, the park has endless cross country opportunities for rocky runs. With other 1,000 miles of paved and dirt roads, you can stick to the roads for a variety of options. Or, if you are comfortable with your orientation skills and safety preparation, take off out into the landscape. Be aware that most routes will be rocky! Uneven footing is common, which makes Death Valley a great place to work on techinical trail running. Just remember, this is the hottest place on earth, so knowing your heat limitations and preparing is very important! We do NOT recommend running in the lower elevations in the hotter months.
Details
Pets are ONLY permitted in developed areas and along roads. Pets are NOT allowed in the Wilderness or along trails. If you would like to run with your dog, run on one of the 1,000 miles of roads.
Entrance fees apply; no additional fee for this activity.
Summer is extreme in Death Valley, the hottest place on earth, and we do not recommend running in the summer.
Accessibility Information
This activity is about running on various gravel roadways and trails.

Recommended Runs

Easy Runs

  • Furnace Creek Airport Road - (2 mi) 1 mile one way along a paved road out to the airport and back.
  • Furnace Creek to Harmony Borax Works - (2 mi) 1 mile one way to Harmony Borax Works along a paved pathway.

Moderate Runs

  • Twenty Mule Team Canyon Road - (5 mi) 2.5 miles one way, undulates, mostly dirt with some gravel.
  • Gower Gulch to Golden Canyon Loop - (4 mi) 4 miles round trip, first half you run up the canyon and the second half you run down a separate canyon, mostly dirt trail.
  • Furnace Creek to Harmony Borax and Mustard Canyon - (5 mi) 2.5 miles one way, mix of paved path and a dirt/gravel road, mostly flat.
  • Salt Creek Boardwalk Trail and beyond - (1 mi to 4 or more mi) start on .5 mile of wooden boardwalk, leave the boardwalk at the top of the loop and run one way along the trail for as long as you like (up to three miles, though the trail does fade after 1.5 miles) undulates, mostly dirt with some deeper sand.

Difficult Runs

  • Indian Pass - (12 - 16 mi) 6 - 8 miles one way, requires orienteering as the trail is not easily discernable, approximately 3 - 4 miles up an alluvial fan, then 3 - 4 miles in a steep-walled canyon, footing can be difficult but its one of the easier alluvial fans to pick a route on. Mostly alluvium drainages and then some hard rock/gravel in the canyon.
  • Beatty Cutoff Road - ( 20 mi) 10 miles one way, along a paved road, gaining approxiamately 1,000 ft in elevation, great views of Death Valley, completely up for the first half and then down down down once you decide to turn around. Pavement or along the dirt-packed shoulder.
  • Titus Canyon - (26 mi ONE WAY) though you can run from the top down for a full marathon, we'd recommend that most runners start at the bottom (exit of Titus Canyon on North Highway) and enjoy a shorter run as far up the canyon as they prefer. Mostly packed dirt with some gravel.

Last updated: October 25, 2020