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Titus Canyon

Titus Canyon

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Titus Canyon

Page Type: Trail

Location: California/Nevada, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 36.85909°N / 116.84578°W

Trail Type: Downhill, Mountain

County: Inyo/Nye

Technical Difficulty: Hard

Aerobic Difficulty: Very difficult

Layout: Point to Point

Elevation Gain: 1800 ft / 549 m

Length: 26.1 Mi / 42.0 Km

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Cedar

Created/Edited: Nov 15, 2008 / Dec 20, 2008

Object ID: 268822

Hits: 5836 

Page Score: 77.29%  - 8 Votes 

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Titus Canyon is argueably the most well-known vehicle-accessible canyon in Death Valley...yet rarely sees any traffic. It's location as well as difficulty of access is responsible for this as the road's beginning is in Nevada. Out-and-back is not recommended due to distance and the "one-way requirement" of it for 4WD vehicles.

Trail Description

Leadfield is located below Red Pass.

The canyon is a 1-way, 25 mile, mostly downhill trip. Mostly, as in everything but an area of 5-10% grade (estimated) immediately before Red Pass (5220'). The initial climb is also part of the exception though it's sometimes possible to do it without noticing any elevation gain.

In Nevada, the route begins off of Highway 374 just northeast of Daylight Pass. The road continues for 10 or so miles as a more or less straight dirt road passing through the "1-way" gate in about a mile or two. It reaches a 5100' pass in about 10 miles then steeply descents into a rugged valley below.

The road then begins the tedious climb up nearly a thousand feet at which point the true Red Pass is reached. The area around the pass is covered in red rock from which the pass's name was lifted off. Expect this to take about half an hour for the very speedy and tough.

It's all downhill from the pass. After a few miles of descent, the ruins of Leadfield is reached. Although it's considered to once have been a booming mine town (created by someone who made fake ads), the entire "town" is only 3 structures as well as a pile of rubble.

The actual Titus Canyon begins a few more miles down the road with a marked entrace sign. The canyon walls begin off at about 100' apart but narrow as it heads downhill, to only 15-20'. The canyon continues down to sea level descending over a thousand feet in a series of bends.

The road from the mouth is open to 2 way traffic so expect to see some vehicle traffic from there on to the Scotty's Castle Road.


Red Pass
Red Pass is the highest point on the road.

Coming from Death Valley (to the west), take Daylight Pass Road towards Beatty northeast through Hell's Gate over over Daylight Pass. Look for a sign to Titus Canyon on the left as the road crosses into Nevada and straightens out (and gets bumpy).

From Beatty, take Highway 374 southwest towards Death Valley. The sign should be on the left alongside a clearly visible dirt track.

The lower end of the road may be reached from Death Valley by heading north on Scotty's Castle Road. Look for a sign to Titus Canyon's mouth and an unpaved road on the right.


Summer is usually in the 100+ degrees down in the canyon. Carry plenty of water and be wary of thunderclouds ahead. Flash floods may occur at any time. Winter may see snow on the area around Red Pass making for difficult biking. Few vehicles venture into the canyon during this time though.

Spring brings mud onto the road making it impassable so it is not a good time to go. Autumn would likely be the best time for biking while the sun is cooling down and the snows have yet to arrive.

First snow for Red Pass can be expected around December with the first Pacific storms entering around November.


NPS - Death Valley: National Park Service's site for Death Valley National Park.

Leadfield Ghost Town: An article on the history of Leadfield.


Autumn RainbowTitus Canyon RoadRed PassLeadfield