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Telescope Peak Trail

Difficult
 4.8 (9) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A long trail to the highest point in Death Valley National Park.


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Map Key

11.7

Miles

18.9

KM

75%

Runnable

10,994' 3,351 m

High

8,136' 2,480 m

Low

3,101' 945 m

Up

3,097' 944 m

Down

10%

Avg Grade (6°)

40%

Max Grade (22°)

Dogs No Dogs

Features Views · Wildflowers

May encounter snow in the winter.

Overview

Though strenuous, this desert route is quite rewarding. Along the way, you'll have great viewpoints of the surrounding mountains and valleys. Once you reach the top, it won't be difficult to understand where the name "Telescope Peak" came from, as you'll be able to see for miles in all directions.

Need to Know

Drink plenty of water: Drink at least one gallon (4 liters) of water per day to replace loss from sweat, more if you are active. Fluid and electrolyte levels must be balanced, so have salty foods or "sports drinks" too.

Avoid running in the heat: Do not run in the low elevations when temperatures are hot. The mountains are cooler in summer, but can have snow and ice in winter.

Travel prepared to survive: Stay on paved roads in summer. If your car breaks down, stay with it until help comes. Carry extra drinking water in your car in case of emergency.

Watch for signs of trouble: If you feel dizzy, nauseous, or a headache, get out of the sun immediately and drink water or sports drinks. Dampen clothing to lower body temperature. Be alert for symptoms in others.

Runner Notes

Strenuous in parts, this trail is quite runnable.

Description

The trail to Telescope Peak, the highest point in Death Valley National Park, is a 14 mile round-trip run, beginning and ending at the Mahogany Flat campground. The standard route has an average gradient of 8% that slowly leads to the summit overseeing the park. While this is a difficult trail, there is no requirement for a permit, though it is always suggested to contact the Ranger Station for trail conditions. The standard route is maintained by these same rangers.

The trail begins at the Mahogany Flat Campground and winds its way to Arcane Meadows in about two miles. Between Arcane Meadows and the summit of Telescope Peak are five winding miles, consisting of trail that mainly follows the ridgeline. Nearby Bennett Peak and Rogers Peak are both accessible by this trail, while adding insignificant amounts of extra effort or mileage.

Flora & Fauna

Along your journey, you'll pass first through forests of juniper, piñon pine, and mountain mahogany. Bristlecone pines will dot the landscape during the final miles.

Contacts

Shared By:

Jorden Stanley with improvements by Daniel Pettit

Trail Ratings

  4.8 from 9 votes

#853

Overall
  4.8 from 9 votes
5 Star
78%
4 Star
22%
3 Star
0%
2 Star
0%
1 Star
0%
Recommended Route Rankings

#140

in California

#853

Overall
62 Views Last Month
4,140 Since Nov 9, 2015
Difficult

0%
0%
11%
0%
89%
0%

Photos

Badwater, California from Telescope Peak Trail.
Nov 21, 2016 near Badwater, CA
Telescope Peak
Nov 11, 2015 near Badwater, CA
Trail To Telescope Peak.
Nov 11, 2015 near Badwater, CA
Telescope Peak
Nov 12, 2015 near Badwater, CA
Telescope Peak.
Apr 7, 2016 near Badwater, CA

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Check-Ins

Dec 28, 2020
Jason Santos
Ran from the Charcoal Kilns to the Telescope- snow the entire way. I had to break trail through fresh powder from Mahogany Flats to the summit. 16mi — 5h 12m