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Willow Creek Canyon - Death Valley National Park

Summary: A short hike to a very scenic canyon that takes some climbing ability to explore sufficiently. The canyon is located in the southern half of the park off of Badwater Road.
Directions: Willow Creek is located on Badwater Road, south of the salt flats. The parking area for the hike is at the end of a short spur road located 1.5 miles north of the signpost for blah.
Road Conditions: Passenger Car
Navigation: Moderate
Length: 2 miles
Date Hiked: November 2004
Weather Conditions: Pleasant and sunny
Required Skills: None
Hike Description: From the parking area, walk to the northeast, skirting a dirt escarpment towards GPS point UTM 522724mE, 3991454mN. Bend right (east) and begin walking up the prominent wide, rocky wash towards the mountain in the distance. Its an easy, if uninspiring, trudge towards the entry to the canyon at UTM 523608mE, 3991726mN. The canyon soon forms scenic narrows before reaching a 2 stage dry fall. The first (and tallest) part of the fall can be easily climbed just to the right (facing up canyon) of the main watercourse. The second stage can be climbed, with somewhat more difficulty, just to the left of the watercourse. There are some very nice narrows above the falls, followed soon thereafter by a gurgling stream. The next challenge is a 12 foot chute (climb straight up), followed by a 25 foot, 2-stage falls (bypass on the left facing up canyon). Just beyond is a waterfall that can not be climbed. When ready, return the way you came.
Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife hiked up Willow Creek as far as they were able and back in 2.5 hours.
Maps: Trails Illustrated - Death Valley National Park
Photos: Click picture for larger view, click your browser's 'Back' button to return to this page.

Willow Creek narrows. The first dry fall.
Looking down canyon from
the top of the first drop.
Upper scenic narrows
and stream.