I had it in my mind that a trip to marble canyon in Death Valley would be very worthwhile after reading a trip report by Jim Boone on his excellent website (thanks Jim!). The trailhead is about 14 miles from Stovepipe Wells on a sandy, corrugated and very rough dirt road. Riding there on my bicycle and doing a day hike was my first idea. After 2 hours of riding/walking/struggling on my folding bike, I realized it would take 8 hours of time to get to and from the trailhead on the bike, so I turned back.
|A lot was rideable, but it was not easy.|
The next day, we rented a 4wd. After the first rough 8 miles, we pretty much just followed a bouldery stream bed. Stacks of rocks helped keep us going in the right direction. We met a couple who had bravely driven their 2wd passenger car the first 8 miles, and gave them a ride the rest of the way.
|Rough going the last 5 miles. The 4wd rental cost about $200 for the day.|
|near canyon entrance|
|The wash was dry and easy walking. One area was blocked by a giant rock, but there was an easily found trail around the obstruction on the right.|
|the author, for perspective|
|petroglyphs vs graffiti|
|Tim in the a narrows|
|We took a side canyon to the right after a couple of miles or so and followed it|
|some sort to inclusions in the metamorphic rock..|
|a four foot scramble-up|
|The rocks told an ancient story we did not understand; maybe there are fossils here.|
|Barrel cactus on the cliff above.|
|the side canyon was narrower. It had surprises and nice views every step of the way|
|Petroglyphs on the canyon wall|
Our walk was 4 miles in and 4 miles back.