The Telescope Peak Trail lies in the Panamint Mountains west of Death Valley. It leads to the highest peak in the park, Telescope Peak, which reaches a height of 11,049 feet. The route begins at Mahogany Flat Campground and leads southward 6.2 miles to the peak. The views along the trail are spectacular and varied. Mt. Whitney and the High Sierra, the White Mountains and the Panamint Valley are visible to the west. Death Valley and Mount Charleston can be seen to the east.
The trail passes through pinyon and limber pine forests, with ancient bristlecone pines predominating near the summit. There is no water available at the campground or along the main trail, so please be sure to come prepared. Backpacking is a popular pursuit on this trail, please fill out a voluntary Backcountry Camping Permit at the visitor center or any ranger station before beginning your adventure.
The route up Telescope Peak is usually snow-free from early May until mid-November. During this time it may be hiked by anyone in reasonably good condition. Hiking boots are recommended attire. Snow and ice usually make this trail too hazardous for all but experienced mountaineers during the winter months, from mid-November until mid-April. For safety it may be necessary to avoid the beginning of the trail and stay along the ridges. Climbers should be experienced and equipped with ice axes, crampons, winter clothing, boots, ropes and be prepared for subfreezing weather. Winter climbers are asked for their own safety to check in at the Wildrose Ranger Station before and after climbing. During winter the road above the Charcoal Kilns is often closed by snow, adding three miles to the round-trip distance of the hike.
Directions: From Stovepipe Wells, Follow Highway 190 westward to Emigrant Canyon Road. Turn left on to Emigrant Canyon Road and follow it up the canyon to the Charcoal Kilns. If you don't have a high-clearance vehicle park at the kilns. I you have a high-clearance vehicle continue to Mahogany Flats Campground and the trailhead.
Elevation: 8,133 feet
Elevation Gain: 3,000 feet
Distance: 7 miles
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Death Valley National Park, California
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